By Jessica Young
Though we don’t get nearly as much snow as some of the more northern states, the months of January and February are still probably my least favorite times of the year in Illinois. The holiday season is over, the school break is over, and it is still cold and dark outside. I strongly dislike scraping ice off my car in the morning and being able to see my breath while I wait for the bus. Not to mention the wind. I hate those cold bursts. Unlike fall, the Spring semester really doesn’t do much to welcome you. To counteract these frigid images I decided to take an ISSS poll. I asked the office staff to provide me with one tip for beating the “winter blues” and have compiled them below. As you will see, winter doesn’t have to be dull and boring!
- Hold true to your resolutions. Did you make a New Year's Resolution in January? These months are the most important months if you are going to stick with it!
- Exercise at UIUC! There is a lot of research to back this up. Exercising not only helps you stay physically healthy but can improve your mood too. Go to the ARC and CRCE and participate in fitness classes or intramurals. Or, exercise in the local community by joining an indoor soccer league at the Champaign Park District or Yoga at Amara. Go for a run outside at one of the many parks if you have the clothes for it!
- Embrace the season—go ice skating or skiing! Have a snowball fight, or go sledding if we get snow! The Ice Arena is right in the middle of campus and, while no Austrian Alps, there are ski resorts within a couple hours’ drive.
- Stay stylish! Go shopping for fun winter wear like hats, scarves and gloves. Make sure you have a good winter coat too!
- Take naps! Catch up on zzz’s J
- Make winter food and drinks like Chili and hot chocolate. Google has plenty of these yummy American recipes to share.
- Curl up with a good movie and good friends.
- Take a Hike! As long as it is not a blizzard outside, winter in Illinois is a great time to see the bald eagle (The national bird of the USA) There are nature trails nearby or take a day trip to somewhere like Starved Rock State Park
- Get creative! Make some crafts or decorate the inside of your home for the season. If you must spend a lot of time there, at least it will look festive! This is especially exciting to do if you have younger children.
- See what the local community has to offer. Check out the Urbana Middle Market or http://www.visitchampaigncounty.org/ to see everything that is going on.
- Organize! Will you have to move out at the end of the year? Take this time to organize your closet, or donate items you don’t need anymore!
- Throw outlandish February holiday parties! Most people know about Valentine’s Day, a day traditionally spent with your significant other. If you’re single, why not throw a party for all of your single friends? Or, how many of you know about Groundhog Day? Celebrated every year on February 2nd, this superstitious day is supposed to predict whether or not Spring is just around the corner, or if there are still several more weeks of winter.
I haven’t done all of these things on the list and I have lived in Illinois most of my life. I bet you haven’t either! Regardless if you are like me and can’t wait for spring or if you like winter all year round, hopefully these tips give you an idea of all the different ways to entertain yourself this winter.
Welcome to Spring semester!