Brrrrrrrrr! It's so cold here in Philadelphia, temperatures have dropped below 0 degrees and today it is snowing…a lot! It is the most snow I have seen all winter and I’m just happy that it’s a Saturday and I get to enjoy the scene from my bedroom with the shades up. It definitely does look like a winter wonderland out there and at this moment, I feel safe, cozy and warm. These are rare instances that I enjoy during winters in Philadelphia.
This was a little bit of a fun week for me, and by fun, I mean challenging; it was a putting my patience to the test kind of fun and challenging.
We got hit with about three inches of snow on the day I return to work which was the day after President’s day. That evening I lost power in my dining and kitchen area. How did that happen? Well, it has been so cold this winter, that I had to buy a second space heater for my living room. Next thing I knew, it was lights out! I had to empty my freezer and refrigerator and stock up my cooler which I placed outside. I thought that the food would preserve itself fine in these temperatures.
My kitchen power was not restored until the following evening. I was excited about my new safe fuse box and wiring which was a long awaited upgrade needed for my fifty year old building. I went about emptying my cooler and placing my groceries back into their respective beds to be ready to chop and sizzle later only to find that my vegetables did not just stay cold—they froze! It was not the freeze and save for a rainy day frozen, but hypothermic and inedible! Rather than putting them back in the vegetable crisper to keep fresh and eventually end up in my tummy, they were put to their final rest in my trash can (insert frownie face here).
Because of the snow, freezing temperatures and power outage after an unsuccessful attempt to making my living room feel like Hawai, I was a no show to certain events and could not accomplish much of anything. I waited for crazy Zoe to come out of hiding these past couple of weeks. She’s lurking around somewhere, but has not made her appearance yet and I’m trying my hardest to keep it that way.
You see, crazy Zoe (lets call her Crazoey), always materializes when it’s very cold. She feeds off the bone chilling freezing temperatures and waits for the right time to come out and attack! She waits until cool, calm and collected Zoe (let’s just call her Zoe), is weak, frustrated and vulnerable and just makes Zoe very unpleasant to be around.
Just to make a point of clarification, Crazoey, is Zoe's alternate ego when Zoe suffers from what some people may refer to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). I (Zoe), have been suffering from S.A.D. for many years. Though I have not been officially diagnosed by a doctor, the symptoms are all too familiar and I cannot think of what else it may be. I could just be someone who is miserable in the cold. I have noticed though that over the years, I seem to be more miserable than others around me.
For those of us who live in the northern climates where winters are long, dark, and challenging, I know that there’s a Crazoey in each of us. It’s just some are us are better at taming her than others. In winters past, Crazoey was out of control. She cried whenever it snowed and plans needed to be cancelled, she would lash out at her family when temperatures were too cold to handle and blame them for always convincing her that there’s no reason to move to California, but worst of all, she would become a recluse and an anti-social beast. Crazoey is scary and I’m just going to say it-she is absolutely ugly and repulsive! But worst of all, she is ill and unhappy.
I never liked Crazoey, but she’s a part of me. It took a long time, but I have finally accepted that she’s going to be there no matter what. I cannot resist her, and instead, I embrace her and try to alleviate things for her as best as I can. I do this for Zoe to be happy, healthy and alluring as much as possible.
I get through the winter months by keeping busy. It’s a great time to catch up on my reading and movies I have been meaning to watch for a long time, but after some time Crazoey will get bored and will needs to be let out.
At least once or twice a month, I plan a gathering with my girlfriends or plan a date night with my boyfriend. We will go to the movies or pick a restaurant, and even though I don’t drink alcohol anymore, we will hang out a bar. Sometimes we will go out dancing and just move freely to oldies or the latest beats. We catch-up and laugh, laugh laugh! And this puts Crazoey at bay and too tired to come out.
Every year, I take on a hobby or re-acquiaint myself with one during the winter to focus on something other than my job or the cold. Five years ago, it was guitar, two years ago, it was salsa dancing and this year it is billiards. I discovered a warehouse near my home that makes pool tables and pool supplies. I told the owner that I wanted to learn the technique of playing pool. He told me to call Charlie, a man that runs a pool school. Charlie got me to buy my first cue stick and on a Sunday where I would have typically spent it in front of my tv or getting ready for the week, he taught me pool tips and tricks. During the minimal down time I have, I go to warehouse where I learned about Charlie and the owner lets me practice on one of his tables. Crazoey can be subdued a little longer while I focus on making the shots.
Twice a week, I practice yoga which has an outstanding effect on Crazoey. The body warms up and relaxes at the same time while concentrating on my dancers pose or downward dog.
Once a week, I will either go to church or Bible study. It’s almost impossible for Crazoey to come out when the priest talks about nothing else but love, forgiveness and eternal life. That is where she is on her best behavior.
Zoe though is not perfect, she sometimes gets fed up and lets Crazoey get out of her cage, but she uses her tools to try to calm her down as fast as she can, or sometimes, she just has to let Crazoey just let it out, as long as she is not hurting or disturbing anyone.
But at this moment while I’m writing to you Zoe Angels, Crazoey is dormant again while Zoe herself is settling down for a night in with gluten –free Italian food from Pasta Pomodoro, Chicken Escarole Soup, Gone Girl (my pic), and Good Fellas (the bf’s pic). Crazoey is not going anywhere.
Stay healthy and alluring this winter by following these tips:
Get plenty of rest. You don't necessarily want to hibernate like the bears but getting your eight hours of beauty sleep will give you the rest you need after the hustle and bustle and the stress your body goes through during the day when dealing with the temperatures and the icy roads.
Make sure to get sufficient Vitamin D. You may not get the sunlight that warms your skin, but you can take a sunshine pill. Vitamin D is needed in all your tissues for your body to function properly and may even boost your mood.
Stay away from unhealthy comfort food. Don't end your winter with a new kind of depression--the "i ate my blues away this winter and gained ten pounds" depression. Choose healthy foods and I have plenty of recipes here for you to choose from.
Make sure to get exercise. When the weather is bad, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym or run around the track at your local high school. The good news these days is we have the internet where there's a plethora of exercise videos that go from 20 to 4o minutes. I recommend Denise Austin because she is always positive and upbeat and her smile is contagious!
Buy an OTT lamp. I have one for my cubicle and notice my change in mood when I light it. Eventually, i plan to invest in a sun lamp which i believe may make a bigger difference.
To your health!