How to prepare yourself for the most frightening winter in decades

Cystic acne, seasonal depression and frostbitten fingers: winter is already painful. Throw in a pandemic to the mix and I’m not quite sure how we’re all going to make it through the merry season.

The chronic eczema is enough to send you into a fit of flaky, blistering rage. So, it’s important to prepare ourselves adequately for the frigid season ahead of us. 

We’ve been coping with our circumstances. Long walks through the forest or a day at the dog park are what have been keeping us afloat. But what happens when such things are no longer a reliable outlet?

We need ways to cope with our increasingly unreliable lifestyles, ways that don’t make the ducts in our eyes run like a faucet just walking to the bus.

Books, books, books. If you’re not a reader, now is the time to give it a try. Believe me, long hours staring at your television or computer screen will not only keep you up past an appropriate bedtime but can also result in temple-rattling headaches.

You can’t fill your day with classes; you’ll lose your mind. And the minutes or hours between those classes are just as important as the course content itself. Fill that time productively while still doing something you enjoy.

A fictitious narrative drives excitement. It’s something to look forward to right before bed and someone to fill that first uncomfortable hour of your day after waking. We as humans function through stories in an attempt to recognize meaning. Now more than ever, we need meaning.

For those of you frightened by a densely worded novel, feel free to avoid Haruki Murakami or Toni Morrison and go straight for a graphic novel. Series like Saga, Curse Words, The Boys and Scott Pilgrim vs The World are all masterful narratives with entertaining visuals to keep you engaged and attentive.

Learn something. Anything. Start painting model trains, for all I care,but find something that brings you relaxation and a sense of accomplishment. 

I recently picked up the guitar, and although I’m excruciatingly bad, it’s satisfying to know you’re—slowly—progressing with something that you’re putting effort into. 

It’s exhilarating to recognize that first, coherent tune, finally played fast enough to say “close enough.” It is a definite, reliable way of bettering yourself every single day and something to feel proud of, regardless of your skill level.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to progress, but remember, consistency is key. You can pick up just about anything with a little bit of practice every day. Find something you’ve always wanted to learn and have patience with yourself—we can’t all be Hendrix.

Dress accordingly. Stock up on cold-weather gear before you need to get your snow tires put on. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a blizzard in your spring bomber and cargo shorts. 

Remember to wear layers. You’re not built like an orca with a two-foot thick layer of insulating blubber. The human adipose tissue—an insulating layer of fat—averages a thickness of about 6.4mm. So for the love of  God, wear a long sleeve.

Oh, and a peacoat provides zero warmth. You may feel like Don Draper but you’ll look like you’re ovulating. Put those nips away and buy a real jacket.

Go about these things now. Be prepared for our first frigid snowfall. ‘Sweater-weather’ never sticks around for long and before we know it we’ll be right in the middle of our most frightening winter in decades.

Begin to develop the healthy habits that will make your winter tolerable. Develop a system of support and recognize the things throughout your day that tend to make it difficult. 

Although it’s true that this may very well be the most nightmarish season we’ve ever seen as Laurier students, by no means does that imply it’s impossible. 

Just be cautious of the difficulties and work around them. Know your limitations and remember the practices you put in place to ease the tension of a predictably frustrating winter. 

We’re adaptable creatures, we’ll figure this shit out.

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