The Waltonian Guide to Hibernation: Preparing for the long winter months

The weather lately has been bizarre! One day, you’re bundling in your winter coat with a rosey red nose from the cold, and the next you’re shedding the coat for a lightweight jacket. Could the weather just make up its mind already? Regardless of the constant shifts in temperature, colder weather is right around the corner. We’re talking snow, sleet and all the good stuff that comes with it; hot chocolate, cute boots, canceled class, and snowball fights. So here are a couple of ways that you can prepare for the winter season.

1. Stock up on food. Food is always a necessity, no matter the season. But, it is particularly important to have the right food for those snowy days. I highly recommend some cans of quality soup. Sure, have your regular stache of Ramen, but invest in some chunky Campbell’s soup. Everything from Pot Roast to Chicken Noodle, pull out all the stops to have these soups on hand. Make sure you also have a fair share of snacks. Who knows when you may get stuck in your room for an entire weekend, so have some packs of crackers (very useful when paired with the soup), bags of chips, and, of course, some cookies. Nothing is better than microwaving a chocolate chip cookie and enjoying it while wrapped in a warm blanket. Make sure you also have some milk to help you enjoy the cookie. Don’t like milk? Have your favorite fruit juice on hand. And don’t forget, hot chocolate is a must!

2. Bust out your sweaters. Yes, even the “ugly” ones. No one’s going to judge you in your oversized, bright colored sweater. Chances are, you’ll be warmer than them! Sweaters are great for enjoying the weather outside, but also for sitting at your desk studying. There’s nothing cozier than curling up to watching a movie wrapped in the baggy sweater you bought from the local Salvation Army. Not to mention that sweaters are the style right now, so go ahead, rock that sweater!

3. Prepare for alternative activities. There’s nothing better than looking out your window to see mountains of snow, running to your laptop to check your email, and seeing that classes are canceled for the day. What are you going to do with your free day? Of course, the obvious answer is to sleep. And the studious answer would be catch up on homework, maybe even work ahead. But in reality, is that really what you’re going to do? To prevent boredom during your time free from study, have alternate activities in your room that can entertain you and your friends. Board games, for example, are a great way to spend quality time with your friends. Or think about going outside! Snowball fights and sledding down the Kea/Guffin or Doane hills is always an exciting, snowy-day adventure.

4. Put time in at the gym…or not. We tend to do nothing but snuggle up in warmth during the winter months. The weather isn’t as nice, so instead of going for a walk or jog outside, we decide to just scrap it altogether. Although I would not recommend going for a run in a snowstorm, I do recommend thinking about how you’re going to stay healthy between a Thanksgiving meal, a Christmas meal, and countless cookies with snowmen on them. Perhaps there’s a workout video you could spend time doing. Or maybe going to the gym to work off some of those hibernating calories. When animals hibernate, they purposefully put on weight to stay warm. For humans, this is not ideal. So make a plan and stick it out! Spring will be right around the corner; the weather will be beautiful for plenty of outside exercise.

5. Invest in a good pillow. The essence of hibernation is sleeping. So of course, you’re going to need the right tools to sleep right. Consider buying a supportive pillow to ensure better sleep and a healthier neck and back. Also think of other essentials such as a warm, soft blanket. They’re perfect for curling up in on those cold winter nights. And what about a mattress pad? If you don’t already have one, I would highly recommend it. This cushions can be cheaply purchased at Walmart for five to ten dollars. They are a great, soft pad to lift you off the springs of your mattress both at school and at home.

6. Don’t lose touch! Its easy to hoard up in your room during the winter and have no contact with the outside world. Try to avoid this! Plan time to spend with friends, perhaps doing some fun winter activities. Looking forward to break, there will be a month when you’re not living in close proximity to all your closest friends. So take time to text, call, or Skype each other so the winter is not so lonely. It is this time during the cold months that people can develop SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Take time to prevent this by visiting with other people and taking care of yourself. Make sure you also don’t loose touch with your class work. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of pumpkin spice lattes and never come out. While it is great to spend more time relaxing and sleeping, make sure to put in the time before finals sneak up on you.

Enjoy your hibernation!


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