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4 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues in Chicago

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Winter can be a wonderland, full of beautiful snow, holiday get-togethers, and cozy sweaters. For some, winter is their favorite time of year, and they look forward to breaking out the puffy jackets and boots with the same enthusiasm that others look forward to flip-flops and long days on the beach.

However you feel about winter, one thing is for certain: In a city like Chicago, the bleakness of the season can bring the blues. For many of us, preparing for winter can help stave off the lethargy and dreariness we’re expecting to feel.

Here are some tips to beat the winter blues this season.

Improve Your Commute

For many of us who commute to and from work, our day begins in the dark, as getting up early to get to work on time means rising well before the sun does. Add in a 9-hour workday, and we’re getting in our cars after 5 p.m. when the sun has already set, and the headlights are on. The dreariness of driving in the dark in the morning and at night can mean added drowsiness at the wheel, which is never a good thing.

Improve your commute by adding safe options for entertainment to your drive, like a fun playlist full of high-energy music or a really great audiobook. Consider investing in stimulating essential oil aromas that can keep you more alert during your trip. Citrusy scents like lemon or orange can provide you with an invigorating mood boost, while mint can improve your overall mood. Think of it as on-the-go aromatherapy.

Make your drive home more enjoyable, and you’ll get through the dark winter commutes with ease.

Treat Yourself

If improving your commute seems like a far-away dream, why not splurge on a car service to take you to and from work, at least one day a week? Having a chauffeur handle the morning and afternoon commute and congested traffic while you relax in the backseat is an excellent way to relieve the bleakness of your winter commute and ensure that drowsiness after a long day doesn’t endanger you.

Do the research and find a great Chicago transportation company that you feel comfortable entrusting with your commutes. You’ll notice the difference it makes to have someone else do the driving for once.

Conserve Energy

Everyone knows that electricity rates skyrocket during the winter. Some report paying up to three times as much for electricity during the colder months. This spike in the cost of electricity can add yet another layer of winter-influenced blues to the average person’s plate.

Soften the spike in your electricity bill by making a plan to conserve energy through the colder months. Hang up reminders to turn off and unplug appliances that aren’t in use. Set your thermostat a few degrees lower before you leave for work. Small changes to the way you consume energy can drastically improve the numbers on your energy bill. Other ways to conserve energy this winter include:

+ Seal doors and windows
+ Keep bedroom and closet doors closed
+ Rearrange furniture to ensure that air vents aren’t blocked
+ Turn ceiling fans in reverse to push warm air down

Get Outside

OK, it’s cold outside, but hear us out: The reason why many of us get the winter blues is because we spend nearly all of our time indoors. The shortage of sunlight exposure causes our vitamin D levels to plummet.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include decreased bone density, increased risk of cardiovascular issues, and even cancer. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day in the sun, even if it’s just a quick stroll around the parking lot on your lunch break. Do what you can to keep your vitamin D levels up, even when it’s dreadfully cold.

*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2015. However, it has since been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

image: Yaro via Big Stock Photo

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.