This past weekend, Denver had several inches of snow. A little early for October but not unheard of. I spent Sunday morning resisting the instinct to laze around and slow down before remembering that Colorado winter days are for those exact things.
These are some of the routines and patterns that I use to survive Colorado cabin fever.
1. I like to move it, move it.
Whether it’s dancing to up-tempo music, taking a walk (or a run) around the block, or finding a cardio video on YouTube, move around. The endorphins from the exercise help your brain feel happy and clear your head. Repeat as often as needed. On snowed-in days, short, frequent bursts of physical activity work better than a 30-45 minute workout with no other exercise during the day. Move early, move often.
2. Play musical chairs with your to-do list.
On days when cold and snow have you stuck inside, don’t exacerbate it by sticking to the same task for too long. Take your to-do list and set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, switch activities or tasks whether or not you’re finished with them. Frequently changing tasks makes the time go quickly and keeps you from having to use too much stamina.
3. Plan meals with the season.
If it’s winter, then it’s soup weather. Hot soup helps keep you warm and focused on those long cold days. This is the time of year when root vegetables, squash, and tubers are the freshest and cheapest produce. Chicken stock as a soup base will fortify your immune system during cold and flu season as well. Habitually drinking hot tea or coffee will also warm you up throughout the day and give you little rituals to look forward to.
4. Invest in winter gear.
During the winter, you can’t always stay inside under mounds of blankets. Invest in the appropriate winter gear to keep you warm and dry outside. This means you need at minimum a warm coat, snow pants, snow boots, gloves, and a hat that covers your ears. Being able to dress warmly will give you the freedom to spend time outdoors no matter the weather. And having the ability to spend time outside in winter is key to not feeling like a prisoner of winter.
Three to four months of winter can be daunting, but with some planning and willingness to change your routines for the season, you will enjoy slowing down to enjoy a Colorado winter.