Jason’s Top 5 Ways to Pass the Time in the Bitter Cold

With single-digit highs in the forecast for next week, I thought it would be a good time to throw together a quick, in-no-particular-order top five to give you a few ideas on how to get through the cold spell.

-Take the dog to the park

If you have a bigger and/or active dog, chances are they have zero reservations about going outside when it’s, well, zero. My standard poodle’s coat is nice and long for the winter and he’s all about romping around in the snow even when the wind chills are in the negative double digits. Most people aren’t outside a whole bunch with their pups in the winter months, so if you can suck it up and get out for a run or a trip to the park, your pup will probably love you more than they already do. If you don’t have a dog, borrow a friend’s pooch. They’ll be into it.

-Stouts and porters

If you’re a beer drinker, then warming your belly and spirits with a fine dark brew is something you’re already planning on doing. Even better than drinking a couple at home is enjoying some at one of Chicago’s many fine watering holes that are known for having a ridiculous amount of excellent beers on hand. GMan Tavern, Fountainhead, Hopleaf, and Map Room are just a few that pop into my head right away.

-Watch football

Oh, yeah. Taking care of chores, projects and errands in the morning so that you’ll be nice and free in the afternoon to plop down on the couch in your cozy living room to enjoy some action on the gridiron is super sweet. Who doesn’t love a good steam-breath and/or snow game? Yeah, the Bears suck, but surely you have a fantasy football team that you can still follow. Oh, and the RedZone channel is always an amazing experience. Yay, sports.

-Comfort food

Finding the best mac and cheese in the city is a fun project to tackle when the weather gets frigid. Hey, the human body burns more calories in the cold, so packing on a few extras ain’t so bad, is it? Oh, and if you’ve never had the Slayer at Kuma’s, then you might want to look into it. The “anger” really adds a nice touch. Their mac and cheese is pretty solid too.

-Exercise

Remember what I said about the body burning more calories in the cold? It’s true. Well, you burn slightly more in the cold, but the mega-benefit of getting the blood flowing in the cold and dark months is that it keeps the boogeyman away. It fights off cabin fever. While your friends are sitting around bitching about the weather and hating on life, the serotonin and norepinephrine that your run has released have your head in a good place. You’re feeling mighty fine after your cold-weather run, but you don’t have to necessarily be outdoors for extended periods of time to feel the benefits of a good workout. A nice session with the weights at the gym will do you just fine.

More from Jason Thomas
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