Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is a mood disorder in which mentally healthy people experience episodes of depression at the same time every year, especially during the winter months. Those of whom are not afflicted by such a condition have plenty of reasons to feel blue about winter. For instance, the days are short, cold, and miserable, road conditions are hazardous due to the excessive ice and snow that accumulate on the ground, and you need to carry around a lot of extra clothing that you could otherwise stow away in your closet. And I cannot emphasize the hazardous road conditions enough—you’re practically risking your life every time you want to make a routine trip to school or the workplace! If only we could just hibernate like the bears.
And yet, by complaining about and agonizing over wintertime, we are not doing any justice to our sanity. Research demonstrates that entertaining a negative emotion actually intensifies it, and thus if you were a little miserable before the weather took a dump, you’ll be even more miserable upon reminding yourself of how much you wish summer never ended. Surely, there has to something redeemable about winter that could help us shift our perspectives on it and by extension, change our attitudes toward it so that we are less miserable and more upbeat. As such, the purpose of this article is to list the reasons why winter isn’t as bad as your depressed brain has convinced you to believe. Let’s begin.
Reason #1: You don’t have to feel guilty about not leaving the house.
“Summer is awful! There’s so much pressure to enjoy yourself. It’s like New Year’s Eve for kids.”
– Gene, Bob’s Burgers
As Gene from Bob’s Burgers would attest to, you’re almost shamed by society into playing outside during summer. But what if there is nothing to do outside other than catch Pokémon with your smart phone? You could always play football with your friends, but if you’re neither inclined to engaging in physical activity nor a fan of playing sports, it doesn’t matter how pleasant the weather is—you’re going to stay inside no matter what. At least when there are three feet of snow blocking the driveway, you don’t have to conjure up any more convincing excuses for binge-watching your favorite television shows on Netflix.
Reason #2: The cold days help you appreciate the warm days.
In the same way that you cannot have light without dark or life without death, you cannot have warm days without cold days, for you would never know what warmth felt like if you had never felt cold first. It would certainly be nice to live in a warm climate year round, but imagine how tiresome this would become if for 365 days a year, the sun always shined and the temperature never dropped below 70 degrees. To that end, the cold weather counterbalances the warm weather (and vice versa), with particularly harsh winters making for particularly pleasurable summers. The cold is what defines the warmth.
Reason #3: No sunburn!
I understand that you can still get sunburnt in the winter, but when you barely see the sun for as long as four months, I doubt you’ll put yourself at risk of incurring serious damage to your skin cells. Summertime is a different story—let your guard down and fail to protect your skin accordingly, and you’ll arrive home from an extended day at the waterpark only to discover that the entire upper half of your body is redder than an apple. The worst feeling in this scenario is not even the sunburn itself, but rather the regret of not being a little smarter in retrospect, and applying some sunscreen when you had the chance.
Reason #4: The mosquitos are gone (for now).
How serene it is to sit on the patio, and watch the sunset with your significant other while enjoying a nice glass of wine. Mosquitos, however, can ruin moments like this. You can cover your arms, legs, and neck in bug spray all you want, but those pesky abominations will suck the life out of you the first opportunity they get. The next morning, you’ll be covered in painful and itchy bumps that you didn’t know you had. For this reason, one might look forward to winter by virtue of the clearance to spend time outside without the fear of getting eaten alive.
Reason #5: You catch a break from mowing the lawn.
Mowing the lawn has to be one of the biggest inconveniences that I associate with the summertime. Laboriously pushing a lawnmower in 90 degree heat is exhausting and mind-numbing. What’s worse is that on days when the humidity is high, I’ll be rendered lethargic, so warn out that I won’t want to get up from the couch. Thankfully, the grass doesn’t grow in the winter, and thus I can catch a break from this tedious domestic responsibility for some time. I’m still not exempt from shoveling the driveway when the snow becomes thick enough, but this is much less of a drag than cutting the grass for 75 minutes per week.
And there you have it—5 reasons to be happy about winter. Obviously the negatives are always going to outnumber the positives, but the positives that are there must count for something.