Whenever one of our Rockford winters takes a turn for the super-cold, I get a call from a good friend who lives in Atlanta. He skips right over traditional greetings of any sort and gets right to what he calls one simple question.

"How do you people live like that?"

The you people part aside, it's far from a simple question. My standard answer is "It's the only life we know." And, for my family, it's absolutely true. It probably is in your house, too. Sure, I've been to Florida, Arizona, Texas, even Hawaii during the winter, and it was great to get out of the cold for a while--but shivering, shoveling, and slipping are really the only life I know.

Plus, as I've pointed out to him, he's originally from New England, and he lived in Rockford for almost a decade. He says that he's completely blocked that experience from his memory, and now routinely shakes uncontrollably when the temperature slides below 65 degrees. He says he worries that this ongoing polar vortex is going to cause me to lose my mind like Jack Nicholson in the Shining.

So, how do you deal with the Polar Vortex blues if you find yourself starting to get a little edgy when we're so firmly stuck in the deep freeze?

I went searching for some tips on how to keep your spirits up when the temperatures are so, so low. Here are some of the ideas floating around the internet:

Get yourself a full spectrum light that mimics outdoor natural light, and spend some time with it. Some experts recommend doing some reading or computer work while bathing in that light for about 30 minutes (CBS News).

Find yourself a "Light Cafe." Scandinavian countries already know about the benefits of hanging out in a white-colored room absorbing natural light. (1440 WROK)

Get moving around. As much as most of us would rather keep ourselves snuggled up and warm under a blanket, research has shown that even moderate exercise can help fight off the effects of the winter blues. (WellInsiders.com)

EverydayHealth.com suggests looking into your Vitamin D levels:

...it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. So many diseases are correlated with low vitamin D levels, especially depression. The National Institutes of Health's recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day.

If none of those suggestions do anything for you, I suggest moving to Atlanta so you can be warmer, and more importantly, you can question the sanity of those who continue to live here.


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