Editorial: Winter, you win

When talking about the weather these days, our vocabulary is limited: snow, sleet, freezing rain, cold, wind chill. More often than not there’s a minus sign before the temperature. It’s that minus sign, usually signifying wind chill, that’s really tough to take.

Wind chill is commonly described as how cold it feels — due to air flow on our bodies — as opposed to how cold the thermometer says it is. The National Weather Service offers a helpful windchill chart, color-coded so you can see how quickly you will get frostbite. If the temperature is 15 degrees, you need only a 20 mph wind to bring you down to minus 2. The chart goes all the way to -98 (-45 with a 60 mph wind) but really, no one wants to go there.

Sometimes we don’t want to go anywhere, stuck inside with “cabin fever.” In a recent article in TIME, a clinical psychologist described symptoms of cabin fever as feeling cooped up, having difficulty concentrating on what’s in front of you, feeling lethargic or unmotivated, and feeling irritated for no apparent reason.

Cabin fever is not the same as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The disorder affects only about 4% to 6% of the population. For some people, the reduction of light affects how their body chemistry functions. However, if you’ve been depressed in the winter months and feel better when spring comes around for two years in a row, it is a good idea to talk to your physician about SAD.

For those of us experiencing cabin fever, it’s a good idea to try to get some sun, even if that means reading a book by the window. Letting light into the house is important and special light bulbs that mimic natural light can also help.

Engaging your mind is important. This could mean playing a quiz game on your phone or computer.

Others may opt to take a run or walk around the block. If you are able to get out, be sure to bundle up and go in the daylight, as snow piles are high and it can be hard for cars to see pedestrians.

Check out local events to try to get out of the house. On page 11A and at WiltonBulletin.com, we have a listing of library, town and other events that can provide some social time and fun for the entire family.

Or, you could take the advice of the tourism arm of the city of Ithaca, N.Y., which usually describes itself as “gorge-ous.” The agency’s website made the news this week when it posted a banner saying, “That’s it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?” That was accompanied by a sunny beach scene, and a reminder, “Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now.”

No one can accuse upstate New Yorkers, like New Englanders, of being weather wimps. But even the tough reach their breaking point. If you make it out, send us a postcard.