5 ways to fight the winter blues

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Ah, February. Does the thought of the year’s second month make you think of pink decorations and chocolate hearts? In reality, it can be endless stretches of somber gray skies, brown slushy snow, and fighting off the flu. Whether you call it the winter blues, cabin fever, or seasonal depression, the February blahs seem inevitable. The only way to get over it is to get out and make the most of the dreary dregs of winter. Try out five ways to have fun in February, and stay safe doing so:

iStock_000002601032Small copy 1. Ice Skating:

Unlock your inner Michelle Kwan and strap on some ice skates. It may be tricky to balance on the ice at first, but laughing with your friends at awkward attempts to stand up and glide along is what makes ice skating so much fun.  However, if you decide to skate outside as opposed to a rink, you run the risk of encountering thin ice. Bundle up, let someone ashore know that you’re going to skate, and bring a buddy with you when you decide to skate on a pond. A life jacket, ice awls (picks that that you can plunge into ice to hoist yourself up and crawl back on), and a cell phone or radio are all essential items to have handy in case of any falls. Save lives and demarcate dangerous ice patches with thin ice safety signs. These are good ideas for snowmobilers and ice fishers also.

2. Skiing

Even the most un-athletic person can have a blast skiing! Skiing is a great way to feel like you’re flying as you zoom down increasingly bigger hills, burn off thousands of calories, and then replace them as you trek to the lodge for hot chocolate. Just like skiers and snowboarders feel like they’re different, different types of skiers have different needs. Skiing signs are excellent items to manage ski slopes, and it’s important to differentiate the different types of skiing. Alert snow bunnies of downhill skiers, make sure cross country skiers find their way through the woods, or show which areas are ideal for ski jumping.

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3. Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling allows you to storm the snow from the comfort of sitting down on a machine. However, fluctuations in the weather cause some trails to be really icy and perilous to navigate. Always wear a helmet, travel only on designated trails open to snowmobilers, and keep an eye out for open water around docks and shorelines. Similar to driving a car, drinking while snowmobiling, driving above posted speed limits, and traveling on unfamiliar machines are all life-threatening behaviors. 9 out of 10 fatalities occur after dark, so slow down at night and wear outer clothing with reflective bands to make sure you are easy to spot.

4. Indoor Swimming

Swimming in the snow? Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise as well as the most fun, so there’s no reason to restrict dips in the pool to the summer seasons. Finding a local YMCA, fitness center, or even hotel with an indoor pool are small investments with big returns, and winter swimming means less competition from others who favor summer swims. However, swimming pools are areas rife with potential for mishaps. Be sure to post messages if there is no lifeguard on duty or certain areas are not meant for diving. It’s imperative to strive for as perfect a pool area as possible. Indicate the areas where you can slip, trip, and fall, or where there are emergency 911 phones with visible slogans.

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5. Enough sports. Let’s talk love.

Yes, you may be programmed to automatically say, “I hate Valentine’s Day,” but someone you know or like must be fond of February 14th. Think giving instead of receiving, and maybe next year you’ll be singing a different tune about the Hallmark Holiday. With the average American spending about $126 dollars for the holiday, try directing those funds to novel items and get creative with your cash. Earn brownie points with your Valentine’s-Day obsessed boss with a Love Sign for her to give to her fiancé, or show your younger cousins that Cupid stuck around to give Valentines with a Cupid Crossing Sign.

Which sounds more appealing, spending yet another weekend shut-in or gaining winter weight, or making the most of bad weather? Face February head-on!

 

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