5 tips for surviving the winter

Article published on Feb. 4, 2014
Article published on Feb. 4, 2014

Five handy tips to help you through the winter.

“Step­ping out in to the bleak, frozen dark­ness, a pierc­ing Siber­ian wind chills the depths of my soul as my feet strug­gle timidly for­ward through the mounds of crisp, white, snow. A deep fear en­velops me as I re­al­ize that I may not make it, the cold is too much, as my face loses all sen­sa­tion. Please take me now God, make it stop.”

The re­cently dis­cov­ered ‘real’ last words of doomed Arc­tic ex­plorer cap­tain Lawrence Oates. No, not re­ally. Just me talk­ing to my­self dur­ing a two minute trip to my local cor­ner shop to buy crisps last night. Let’s be hon­est win­ters over here in East­ern Eu­rope are tough, se­ri­ously tough. Some­times just going out­side is a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But don’t give in be­cause there’s a way to get through it. Here are my top 5 tips.

1.  Drink al­co­hol

But what if I don’t drink? Well you must start. Im­me­di­ately. You won’t make it out alive if you don’t. Over here in Poland the na­tives are known for their en­thu­si­as­tic con­sump­tion of vodka and that cer­tainly does have its med­i­c­i­nal ben­e­fits. But due to the in­her­ent strength of your av­er­age shot, it’s a dan­ger­ous tip­ple that should only be han­dled with ex­treme care. Which is why for me the best bet is wina grzana or mulled wine as it’s more com­monly known. Like a giant, warm­ing cup of fruity al­co­holic tea, it not only thaws you out but will also con­vince you that you’re bet­ter look­ing than you re­ally are and that the girl in the cor­ner is a lot nicer than she looked half an hour ago. Which brings us to the next point...

2. Lower your stan­dards

Don’t fight with a power higher than you. Just ac­cept that some­times it’s bet­ter not to get out from under the duvet, es­pe­cially if there are two peo­ple there. There’s no point, it’s still cold, and you won’t like it any­more than you did yes­ter­day. But of course find­ing that spe­cial per­son to steal the cov­ers from is eas­ier said than done. That’s why in these dark times stan­dards must be low­ered. That geeky guy with the bad teeth who’s been pes­ter­ing you for a date for the last three months. He’ll do. The girl from work who keeps wink­ing at you with her one good eye. Yes, fine, in­vite her round to yours. As long as she’s human what do you care? For one you’ll be warmer, and sec­ondly you’ll have some­thing to do.

3. Ski

Ad­mit­tedly I’m not a pro­po­nent of this noble art my­self, but when in a snow cov­ered land, needs must. We’ve all seen those happy faces of friends on Face­book feeds show­ing off about how great a time they are hav­ing with Hugo and Ralph in the Alps. And no doubt they are. But even if you haven’t got the time or money to rent out a chalet in France, fear not, all you need is a pair of old skis and a bit of flat snow-cov­ered land. Cross-coun­try ski­ing is all the rage over here in Poland’s cap­i­tal and not only does it keep you warm while you’re out in the snow, it’s also jolly good fun. So I’ve heard any­way.

4. Write that book

Every­one has a book in them. Stop putting yours off.  Come on no ex­cuses, bat­ten down the hatches, turn off the wire­less, make your­self a strong cof­fee and get writ­ing. It’ll be ther­a­peu­tic, and you’ll learn lots of new words. Be­sides, some truly great books have come out of gloomy frozen sit­u­a­tions. Stephen King wrote The Shin­ing and Mis­ery dur­ing cold Col­orado win­ters, while Game of Thrones is built around one cen­tral theme (apart from drag­ons, nu­dity and swords) that “win­ter is com­ing”. So chan­nel that anger, use the dark­ness and cre­ate some­thing that will last for­ever. Be­fore you know it sum­mer will be here and you’ll be fa­mous.

5. Be­come ad­dicted

I’m not think­ing the hard stuff, al­though in the short term it would prob­a­bly help. No this par­tic­u­lar drug comes in a box and usu­ally says HBO on it. A cou­ple of years ago I sur­vived a very grue­some win­ter thanks to the late Tony So­prano and friends. But there are oth­ers suit­able op­tions to make stay­ing in this win­ter the best op­tion. There’s the sharp suited Don Draper over in Man­hat­tan, our for­mer hero Robb Stark (why did it have to be Robb) in Win­ter­fell, or good old Wal­ter and his work mate Jesse in New Mex­ico. It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter who you choose just kick back, close the cur­tains and chill out, work is to­mor­row, and now it’s time to es­cape in to an­other world.