My Winter Survival Kit

Has anyone ever told you that Chicago is freezing? Oh, millions of times? Got it. Yes, Chicago can get really cold. -40 degrees, prying open the train doors, kind of cold. So, I know winter very well.

In both 2018 and 2019 I had my first serious cases of seasonal depression. I always thought it was a myth to be honest. I was a weirdo like that. I didn’t realize how much sunshine/vitamin D played a role in our mental health. It creeps up slowly too, it didn’t hit me out of nowhere. I slowly got more and more depressed. In 2018, I didn’t realize I had it until it was over, because once the sunshine came out in May (yes sometimes it takes until May) I was like “Oh shit….I’m in SUCH a good mood! This is foreign to me!”

This year, 2020, if you didn’t know that and are still stuck writing 2019 in your journals…I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to get me through a cold, miserable winter.

Some of these tips might sound silly, but they won’t sound silly when you’re dealing with frozen nose hairs okurrrrr?

1. Invest in fluffy slippers
Okay this sounds simple but let me tell you. Cold feet is the enemy. When I wake up in the morning to feed my cats at 5am, I sure as hell am looking for my slippers first. If I don’t have slippers readily available, I’m going to take it out on my cats. Because they’e meowing at me, and I’m mad and look just buy slippers okay? Promise? When I say “invest” I don’t mean go off and buy the most expensive ugg slippers you can find. I mean go find fuzzy slippers at any price and put them next to your bed. What’s even better? Get a pair for each room. I maybe have that…..

2. Who’s got the tea? You do.
Look I have a strange relationship with tea. As in, I’m very picky. I love coffee more than anything in the world. I may love coffee more than my family….However, tea has an incredible amount of antioxidants and while black tea has some caffeine it doesn’t have nearly as much as coffee, so you can drink it all day long. Tea keeps me so warm. Also when I drink tea I feel super zen. Could it be a placebo effect, but hey I’ll take it. My favorite tea is Oolong. I have fond memories of chugging Oolong tea as a child every time we went out for Chinese. Find your favorite tea and soak in that warm goodness.

3. Vitamin D Supplements
We all know the sun gives us Vitamin D. If you didn’t know, now you do. It helps us maintain strong, healthy bones and has even shown to ward off depression. When I pop a Vitamin D supplement before I head off in the morning, I just feel good knowing I did something good for myself that day. Seriously, 42% of people in the United States are Vitamin D deficient. When we’re not getting that sunshine every day, it can really hurt us. So get your ass to CVS and pick yourself up a bottle of good ol Vitamin D.

4. Lotion
In Chicago, it’ not only cold but it’s windy as well. AKA the windy city. Mainly that term is in regards to our Politics, but having Lake Michigan take up the entire east side of our city, creates a pretty powerful wind. Needless to say, our skin gets as dry as Nick Offerman’s sense of humor. I have a blog post on my favorite skin care products that you can find under the self care tab!

But for winter, I switch it up a bit when it comes to body lotion. I use Cetophil. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s one of the only lotions that has done the trick for my entire body. Dryness is no joke. If I don’t do it every day, I’m itchy and miserable. Which is really awkward if you’re in a meeting, itching your lower back, legs and hips, trying to not look loco. So if you’re like me, get yourself a good lotion that works for your skin. Experiment!

5. Books on books on books.
You know how much I love books right? If you need some suggestions on what to read, you can find a whole YouTube about it here:

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a true home body. I love hanging at home, with a blanket and my cats, reading a book from cover to cover. Literally, that is my ideal Saturday night okay?

I suggest finding a good romance or murder mystery book or anything that grabs your attention for a long time. The best book is the kind you can’t wait to get home to at the end of the day and it has definitely helped me through some long winters. Books have helped me escape any stress that is going on in my life. The romantic nature of flipping a page brings a smile to my face that will make you think “Ha, look at that chick. She must be surviving winter.” You can be that chick too.

Well folks, you know how much I love to leave it at 5. We all know the obvious necessities like boots, hats, gloves and alcohol.

So I hope these little extras help.

Stay warm chikidees.

Self care, self flare.



Published by Kelly Tietjen

Chicago gal offering my own take on self development, creativity, mental health and more.

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