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Sabadosa: Readers offer ideas on how to beat the winter blues

Brewing tecold winter's night is one many ways bewinter blues.  |  Reggie Sabados~ For Sun-Times Media

Brewing tea on a cold winter's night is one of many ways to beat the winter blues. | Reggie Sabadosa ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 19, 2014 9:18AM



It’s not exactly a news flash that this has been a miserable winter, the coldest in 30 years in the Chicago area.

For many, it’s hard to stay upbeat when you’re stuck inside the house too often and Vitamin D deprived, a common occurrence when the sun doesn’t shine much.

However, this season’s heavy snowfall coupled with subzero temperatures can put even the most positive-minded folks into an emotional tailspin.

I asked my readers to share their secrets for beating the winter blues and “blahs.” As usual, they came through with some very inspired, “tried and true” suggestions.

For some, being homebound seems to have its advantages. Pru Yontez feels that these winter days come in handy because she has more time to email/write/call old friends whom she has not talked to in a long time.

“I also love to read, so I catch up on that too,” Yontez said.

Don White agrees that reading books is a great way to spend these cold winter days and nights, saying that “books have been said to take one on adventures — traveling the world, space and time — all the while building one’s imagination.”

Julie Harding said her young son, Billy, loves getting new books from the library.

“We have been going to the library often and then reading the books while snuggled under blankets to keep warm,” she said.

Some suggestions came in the form of comfort food and beverages.

Char Lesner confessed that this deep freeze finally “undid” her, and she broke down and enjoyed large cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream for several nights in a row. “It did the trick and took me out of my funk,” she said.

Pat Shepard came up with a checklist of things that she does to beat the blues around this time of year. Her creative list includes a haircut and color to brighten her look and outlook, running three or four days per week, healthy kale smoothies each morning, seed shopping for her summer garden, planning a summer party, making new patio cushions and repotting some of her houseplants.

Rocio Lopez also focuses on outdoor plans for the summer. During the cold winter months, she does her best to get inspired for her summer garden and fountains — often consulting new ideas posted online on Pinterest.

It’s all about setting the right mood for Beata Gaudry. Some of her tips include trying new recipes and lighting fragrant candles.

“When the house smells wonderful, it takes your mind off winter,” she said.

Some folks don’t seem to mind the winter months and just go with the flow. Kathy Mazurek looks forward to the chance to do some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. When it’s too cold to be active outdoors, she enjoys “mall walking.” Many malls open prior to store hours to allow walking enthusiasts to get exercise while window shopping.

Others look to escape to warmer destinations. Ron Miller thinks the perfect plan is to “take a couple of weeks off and go to watch the Cubs and Sox play in Arizona.” Being a swimmer, he also says enjoying a weekend at an indoor water park is a great idea.

Sherry Collura got inspired a few weeks ago after attending a “travel and adventure” show with her husband. They brought back many brochures to look over, and “it’s a great way to remember there is an end to all this cold and snow,” Collura said.

When forced indoors, many readers rediscover family time. Diana Duer suggests family game nights during the winter months. When it gets too cold to play outside, her grandkids love to pick out board games, make popcorn, get out juice boxes and just be goofy and silly together.

“It’s an inexpensive way to help winter drag along,” Duer said.

Our family enjoys the ancient custom of brewing tea, which is especially soothing on cold winter nights just before bedtime. We’ve acquired several unusual teapots and a variety of colorful teacups.

There are many types of teas to choose from — loose teas and bagged teas, some herbal and others flavor “infused.” We often add fresh lemon and honey to the tea. Ahhhhh!

Here’s hoping that you now feel inspired and try a few of these suggestions to help get you through the winter. Spring will be here before we know it. Keep warm and stay hopeful!

News from our neighbors

Congratulations to Destiny Miller, daughter of Marie and Ron Miller, who bowled her first 300 game at Arena Lanes on Jan. 28 during her regular league play. Her series for the night was a whopping 848 (300-269-279).



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