Specs in the City: No Need to Flake Out: Five Essentials That Will Make Winter Better

Let’s face it. It’s getting really cold out there. The sporadic, confusing sunny spurts we have had are coming to a close. The dismal, wet rain is slowly seeping its way into our boots and our hearts, making us finally forced to face the fact of a rapidly-approaching winter.

It’s times like these that I envy bears—my first instinct being to curl up with blankets and hot chocolate and sleep until May; awakening only occasionally to reheat a hot water bottle to warm up my feet, or find a new episode of Psych on Netflix.

But life is happening. And school. So we are forced to dig out our largest and warmest and puffiest coats and wrap our wool scarves six times around our heads so that we can make the frozen trek from bed to class without catching some weird flu virus.

But winter isn’t all that bad; you just have to be ready for it. So here are what I consider to be the five essentials for a tolerable winter.


1. Downton Abbey

Where Gossip Girl meets Pride and Prejudice, the result is this gem. Not only is this the perfect mindless drama to keep you spaced out and entertained during the long months of winter, but most of the characters have British accents. Who doesn’t love a good British accent?

Spend your winter at a Yorkshire country estate with the aristocratic Crawley family and their staff. Relive the sinking of the Titanic and the beginning of World War 1 all from the comfort of your warm state of hibernation. History and romance? What more do we need?


2. All things peppermint

Peppermint has become a symbol of Christmas, but I feel it is rather more indicative of pure happiness. Add peppermint to all your favorite things and you have instantaneous success.

Not only is it a cool and refreshing scent and taste, but peppermint has been reported to help fight flu and colds. Perhaps this is the reason it makes such an appearance in the winter. In the 90s, researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that peppermint also helps with concentration and focus.

We should use all the help we can get to stay focused in the weeks leading up to Christmas break. And if it doesn’t work, well, at least you have good breath.


3. Limited holiday music

This winter essential has to be closely monitored. It is very easy to get this one wrong. The intention behind this is to give you that consistent reminder that Christmas is coming.

One of the few bright moments we get during the bleak, eerie, boo-fest of winter cold is the light of Christmas. Good timing, I’d say. Hallmark wants to get you in the buying mood from the minute the calendar strikes November, but you need to take it easy on the holiday music.

Expose yourself to excessive Mariah Carey and Bing Crosby too early and you’re bound to wear yourself out by Thanksgiving. Find the music you like and listen to it in moderation—at least until you hit December. Then go crazy.


4. A kitten (or puppy)

I don’t really think I need to explain this one.


5. Warm socks

This one I do need to explain. Warm socks aren’t just beneficial winter wardrobe additions for the purpose of warmth. Socks are the primary component of a fun, in-door winter past time: sliding. It is far too cold to exercise outside during winter. You can barely get your legs to move enough to get you to the grocery store to buy peppermint ice cream, let alone go for a jog. Therefore, sliding around the house in your warm socks is a perfect way to be active, perfect your balance and do a little floor cleaning.


As the cold months draw closer, and the darkness sets in, we can’t spend winter like a bear. However, with these essentials, I believe we can at least have a bearable winter.

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