A few weeks ago, we went through our first wave of El Niño, and it was horrendous! Not only did the rain come down in torrential sheets, but because we live in Southern California, things get a little post-apocalyptic. Our infrastructure isn't really set up for that kind of weather, so besides traffic being nuts, and people panicking at little balls of hail and large crackles of thunder, we had to deal with flooded streets, power outages, and sand shutting off sections of Coast Highway.
One infrastructure fail I experienced was a three and a half hour train ride home. The ride from downtown is normally 40 minutes, but because of the deluge, the train tracks a few stops north of the downtown station were submerged and were unsafe to travel on until the water receded. Plus, the power had gone out on sections of the track causing the lights and switches to black out. You can't really move trains if the oncoming trains don't know when to stop for each other.
Right now, snow is blanketing the east coast. Even though snow is nothing new to the east coast, it's coming down in crazy amounts.Neighborhoods are snowed in. Public transportation has been suspended, schools are closed, and a lot of my friends are freaking out on Facebook. Typically, I get smug about our SoCal weather and post pictures of a sunny day at the beach. But after the week of rains that we had and more expected to come, I'm more sympathetic.
Winter is tough enough on your sanity without extreme weather making things worse. There are some ways we can all get through this without killing anyone or drinking ourselves into oblivion. In fact, we might actually come out of this better people. Hahaha.... just kidding... How about we just come out of this alive. Here are a few ways to make sure none of us ends up in orange jump suits.
Even if they're not snowed in or rained in, people tend to hide out at home during winter weather. That can mean more time sitting on the couch not burning off calories or staying in shape. And lack of activity can also lead to depression. If you're not a fan of the gym and prefer exercising outdoors, winter can be hard on your routine. To stay fit and sane, keep an eye on the weather and be ready to get your run or bike ride in while you can. Have your gear ready to go at all times to take advantage of any break in the weather.
If you look in the back of my Land Cruiser right now, you'll find my bike helmet, clip in shoes, and gloves all ready to go should a few hours of sunshine coincide with a day outside of the office. If you're a crazy person... I mean... a runner, keep your shoes and running gear in a bag in your car or at work to get a few miles in when the sky clears. Snow isn't as easy to get around as rain, so one way to stay active without joining a gym you'll never get to is to sign up for an online exercise portal, like Grokker.
It may be an old wives tale that cold weather causes colds, but it's not hard to see why we believe it, since cold season is usually in full swing during the winter months. Whatever you believe, you know the chances of getting sick are high right now, so do yourself (and your co-workers) a favor and try to avoid illness. You don't have to walk around wrapped in a bubble until Spring. You just need to take a little extra care. Follow these tips and you're sure to come out healthy on the other side:
- Wash your hands often.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Fill up on water, if you buy by the bottle.
- Get enough sleep. 8-10 hours, if possible.
- Eat more Vitamin C and D laden foods, such as kale, broccoli, sardines, yogurt, berries, and citrus fruits.
- Fill the cupboard with your favorite cold remedies and winter health essentials.
- Make sure there's plenty of Vick's in the medicine cabinets. Rub that stuff EVERYWHERE.
- Gargle often. Salt water works wonders if you don't like the medicinal taste of Listerine.
If you do end up getting a cold, pray someone who loves you brings you some chicken soup.
Mandate Quiet Time
If you're a parent who would normally be in the office but rain or snow or a sick kid has you stuck at home, don't panic! It's going to be okay, I promise. Being home with kids bouncing off the wall can cause the toughest executive to reach for a bottle of wine before lunch, but that's probably not the best idea if you want to get some work done and avoid passing out in front of your children. Instead, think back to when your stinky, eye-rolling offspring were precious babies and toddlers who loved you. Remember how nice it was to get to the awesome hour called Nap Time? Well, just because your kids are a bit older doesn't mean they can't have a nap, or at least a nap-ish hour or two. Give them a set amount of afternoon quiet time to read or relax in their bedrooms. If you're lucky, they'll fall asleep. Take advantage of this time to catch up on work, or better yet, indulge in a nap yourself. You're going to need those extra zzzzz's.
Eventually, the rains will stop and the snow will melt and we can all get back to thinking about better things in life... like where you're going to spend the warm months this summer. Until then, stay safe and healthy, my friends!