THE WIND-UP

A Case of the Winter Blues

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A Case of the Winter Blues

Two women bundle up and take a walk to the icy lighthouse. Even decked out in long coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, the ladies were eager to get back to the warm car and defrost.

Two women bundle up and take a walk to the icy lighthouse. Even decked out in long coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, the ladies were eager to get back to the warm car and defrost.

Lilly Conybeare

Two women bundle up and take a walk to the icy lighthouse. Even decked out in long coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, the ladies were eager to get back to the warm car and defrost.

Lilly Conybeare

Lilly Conybeare

Two women bundle up and take a walk to the icy lighthouse. Even decked out in long coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, the ladies were eager to get back to the warm car and defrost.

Lilly Conybeare, Staff Writer

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St. Joseph is the place to be in the summer.  With a charming downtown area, beautiful weather, and, of course, the beach, our city is a perfect spot during the nice warm months of summer.  However, once December (or even November) hits, there is no escape from the cold until April. The small town may be misleading; yes, there are restaurants to eat at and hockey games to attend, but if you can’t drive to these places because of the harsh cold, there’s nothing to do in St. Joe in the winter.

Winter itself is not a miserable season. The cold brings the holidays, winter break, and usually some snow days. However, living in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area comes with more than just that. Temperatures reaching 50 below and ice so bad it calls for a state of emergency seem to be an ordinary thing here. Jinyoung Jung (11) from sunny Arizona had quite the shock coming to St. Joe this year. “I was surprised that it still snows in March!” Jin said. While grateful for being able to experience the four seasons, she misses being able to go on daily runs outside and not needing more than just a one thin jacket.

 

Due to St. Joseph’s location right on Lake Michigan, the wind blows water into the air where it condenses, causing for heavy cloud formation. In fact, 68% of days in January in St. Joseph are overcast, according to weatherspark.com. Prolonged periods of dark skies and freezing temperatures can lead to the development of symptoms found among those suffering from Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD). These include changes in eating and sleeping, lack of motivation for everyday activities, and loss of energy. Mr. Lyle Haydon teaches about SAD in his psychology class. “A cloudy, grey, gloomy sky all day effects your psyche,” said Mr. Haydon.

 

Not only does the cold weather affect long term conditions like mental health, but it even penetrates the little aspects of everyday life. Changing clothes because the -20° wind chill and cancelling plans because of icy roads is not uncommon among St. Joe students.  

 

To get an idea of what St. Joe students do during the winter, I walked around the lunchroom and asked some students at b-lunch what activities they do to keep themselves occupied in the winter.  Some said “nothing,” while others had to think for a good minute until they realized they don’t do much. However, I did manage to compile a list of some cold-resistant “things to do in St. Joe”: take a trip to the ice rink and go skating (watch out for the hockey boys!); bake some desserts with friends and embrace the fact that it’s not swimsuit season yet; visit the Chocolate Café a couple more times; try sledding and make sure to bring a scarf; bowl without bumpers and laugh really hard when you get three zeros in a row.

 

Take these into consideration next time you think “I have nothing to do.” Unfortunately, they won’t change the fact that no matter how good your outfit looks, it will inevitably be hidden by a puffy coat. I think we all can agree spring break cannot come quick enough.

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A Case of the Winter Blues