MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS)— Darker days, frigid temperatures and snowfall can have a negative impact on some people, especially with winter starting so early in the Badger state this year, but there is a way to turn winter blues into opportunities.
Embracing winters has long been a part of life for Norwegians.
Kari Leibowitz, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Stanford University, spent almost a year in Tromso, Norway researching exactly how people in the place with the longest, darkest and coldest winters have the lowest rates of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
"People there don't look at winter as a limiting time of year, a time that they can't do the things they like to do, they really see the opportunities in winter," said Leibowitz.
Leibowitz is bringing back that knowledge in hopes of helping people in the states cope better with the winter blues.
"You can think about all the ways winter is an opportunity to do indoor art projects or bake and cook, or to not feel guilty when you're binging Netflix because the weather is just perfect for it and things like that. So you can look for those opportunities and sort of try to consciously shift your attention to the things that you like," Leibowitz suggests.
Along with taking advantage of activities exclusive to winters, such as skiing, ice fishing and snow tubing opportunities, Wisconsinite outdoor enthusiasts are already on board with.
"Pond's frozen already so ice fishing, if I get a buck during deer hunting then I can go ice fishing right away, so absolutely there's good to it," shared Judd Hodgen, from Appleton.
The Norway attitude is about embracing winter and shifting your mindset to focus on the things you enjoy about winter.
One way to begin is by creating winter rituals to get your day started on a positive note, or setting up your home or office to be cozy and well-lit during this time of the year.
While this may not be a quick fix, these adjustments can improve your mood and help you begin to enjoy the season more and make it feel less of a burden over time.
According to Leibowitz, changing your speech or the way you converse with others about the weather during this season is also key.
"You can reflect that in your speech, so when you're talking to other people when you get to the office instead of being like ‘I'm so cold,’ you can be like ‘I can't wait to get this steaming mug of coffee,’ like‘ it's such a pleasurable experience to come in from the cold and be somewhere warm,” advises Leibowitz.
Keeping in mind that moods are contagious; next time if cozy blankets, candles, ornaments or outdoor snow fun just won't do, perhaps trying to see winter through the eyes of a child will do the trick.
"I love the snow because I get to play in it," said Miriam Stallings, a student at Catholic East School in Milwaukee.