Cold Weather Got You Down? Warming Your Heart When it’s -30˚

Let’s be honest: ten days of -30˚ has been a tad excessive, even for the experienced northerner. By now we’re all used to frost on the windows, starting your car over the lunch break, kids and pets getting cabin fever, and wearing numerous layers of clothing. Getting over this slump of cold weather is not an easy feat but here are some ways to warm your heart during this cold snap.

Watch this pep talk from Kid President for some inspiration. “It’s time to do something!” he says. What can you do today from the comforts of your home or office and make a difference?

Pick up a book to engage your mind and your soul. Let it take you away on a journey and let your imagination run wild. If you have kids, read a book to or with them. It’s important to encourage your youngsters to read! Did you know that 47% of 3rd graders are not proficient readers and are less likely to graduate on time? United Way partners with Project Read, a non-profit in our area that collects books, distributes books to families, and provides education on the value of reading every day. You may have seen some of their projects around town, such as the Bright Red Bookshelf and the Traveling Bookshelf Project. They also host FRED events (Fathers Reading Every Day) in the community.

• Call a family member or friend. According to Psychology Today, when we have feel-good conversations, our brains “trigger higher levels of dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and other biochemicals that give us a sense of well-being.” No wonder we feel so good after having a nice heart-to-heart or a quick check-in chat! United Way supports not only mental health but also individual connections through partnerships with organizations like Kiesler Wellness Center, ElderCircle, and the Active Living Center at the Itasca County YMCA.

Make a nice meal. The sense of accomplishment, as well as the enjoyment of the meal, will lift your spirits. Maybe have a tropical-themed meal and your family can dress up in their best vacation wear (Jamaican jerk chicken, anyone?) or recreate an old family favorite. Many of our favorite memories can be triggered by the taste and smell of a dish. Unfortunately, some of our community members don’t have the resources to make their ideal dishes, so United Way partners with a handful of food shelves in the Itasca area to fight food insecurity.

In the spirit of Kid President, you can do something to help not only yourself and your family, but also your community, by taking part in the activities recommended above and also by supporting organizations like United Way with a gift. Whether you give your time or make a donation, your contribution will help others in our community be able to read a book to their kids, interact with a new friend, or make a nice meal. Helping someone else will warm your heart as well—and we can all use that on these frigid days! Stay warm out there—spring is only technically a month away!