Snow Day Concessions

Why is it that I feel like snacking all day during snow days? No doubt it’s a survival mechanism to keep the body’s metabolism stoked and warm. However, possessed of a furnace and central heating, I have no need to consume extra calories. The opposite in fact since there is not a great deal of exercise to do right now. It is useless to begin shoveling the sidewalks until the snow stops. Hot Earl Grey tea with a little sugar and cream will keep me from crunching on carbohydrates all day. I cannot say the same for my pretzel-loving children.

From my dining room window, I can watch the slow progress of traffic running north and south through the snow. The plow trucks have made several passes this morning, and the snowfall hasn’t let up once. I have watched three police cruisers provide help when a semi was unable to make it up the hill and slipping backward every time it tried to move forward. With traffic stopped both directions, the semi finally turned around and went back the way it came. On the neighborhood side, neighbors help one sedan with tires stuck in the snowy ruts left by four-wheel-drive trucks. Snow is encrusting the screens on the windows, building up until its own mass knocks it down. 

I suffer from distraction and indecision on snow days. Should I read all day or watch a movie that I’ve been saving for a quiet afternoon? Housework projects catch my eye, and I end up spending more time than I would like talking myself out of assigning work for a snow day. I should get my kids to play games or bake with me. But they don’t want to and truthfully neither do I. We would only be playing or baking out of politeness to each other, an even more boring Gift of the Magi scenario.

Options flipbook through my mind. A nap, a hot bath, a blog post, researching a topic. I can’t make a decision. Whoops, a half hour disappears to Instagram. After I realize the danger of having my snow day absorbed by my phone, I turn it off for the morning and place it out of sight.

The snow day stretches horizon to horizon, a sandbox of possibilities. But snow days require their own discipline of intention. I have to settle on two or three things, shutting out all other possibilities or else I’ll be bogged down and buried by choice.

I choose a movie, a nap, and a novel to make my snow day worthwhile.

Colorado Cabin Fever Survival Guide – Part 1

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.