How to Survive Boston’s Weird Weather

“How’s the weather today?”

This question has been on my lips every morning for the last three months. Growing up in Rhode Island, I have learned from a young age not to question 60 degree days in December, snow in April and everything in between. But what about Emersonians from warm places like LA, Miami and New Orleans who have never known this kind of debauchery? How are the people from even harsher places handling this–the ones who have always relied on cold staying cold? How are the international students who are just now experiencing life in this hemisphere? My advice to everyone baffled by these strange occurrences: look no further and have no fear. There is a way to cope with Boston’s madness and I suggest you take notes.

Check the Weather Reports

If you have a smartphone, you can access weather data instantaneously with the touch of a finger. Don’t make the mistake of relying on friends’ opinions of what it’s like outside. Each person’s experience of temperature is subjective and unique to their own perspective on the meaning of “cold.” I have one friend who wears nothing but converse and a blazer in a foot of snow. Do the smart thing and check the temperature on your phone–it even gives you an unbiased estimation of what it “feels like” based on wind chill. Just be aware that forecasts going later into the week are subject to error.

Listen to Your Mother

Even in the event of an unseasonably warm winter like this one, a cold snap is always lurking around the corner. Don’t get faked out by a week of t-shirt weather; the next day it can drop to below freezing. Try to dress accordingly to the weather app’s predictions, but also pay attention to how long you will be out. If you leave your dorm or apartment in the morning and come back at night, things will be quite different. This is why I say to listen to your mother and dress in layers. When I was just a tiny tot, my mom used to put me in the puffiest coat she could find. To further the marshmallow effect she added mittens, a hat much too large for my head and huge snow boots. Now that we’re all adults here, you can make these choices for yourself. That means that you can exclude certain dorky factors if you wish, but you still might want to wear a third item on top of your shirt and beneath your coat. Think of it like this: if it ends up being colder than you thought it would be, an extra layer will be appreciated. If it gets up to 50 or so, you’ll be glad to have some middle ground between your ski jacket and t-shirt that you can peel down to. Another tip from all the moms out there: bring a hat and gloves!

Plan Around the Temperature

If you’re like me, you had some cool stuff planned during the last snow day that unfortunately did not happen. If I had been smart like you are and read a blog post like this one, I would have known to look ahead and plan that stuff for a day when the wind wasn’t trying to rip my face off.

I personally am still getting used to the concept of not being able to hop in the car and drive somewhere. The T is arguably a problematic fave, to be favored only above walking. In nor’easter conditions and light flurries alike, you never know when some tracks will get shut down. Keep in mind that rush hour times will be particularly bad when the train you need is only running half as often as usual. Plan ahead and don’t get caught in the middle of a blizzard with no milk for your cereal!

Learn to Love It

When you’re feeling particularly resentful towards the weather, remember that not everyone gets to witness all four seasons in a year. Boston may be annoying from November to March, but hey, at least there’s never a dull moment. When it rains, put on your moody poet face and sit in a coffee shop–you can even glare at people broodingly as they walk by the window. When it snows, go outside and try to catch snowflakes on your tongue. And when it’s a bitter cold, take a walk down memory lane and remember all the good times you had when it was sunny!

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Home Remedies for the Change of Seasons

The change of seasons and the cooling weather can make you sick. Getting a cold in college is never fun. Medicine at the pharmacy is expensive. The cold breeze seems to want to keep you sick.

I want to share with you some of my natural remedies to get over a cold.

  1. Sleep

Sounds obvious, right? Well many a times we are so caught up in our lives that we don’t want to take a break. When you are starting to feel your energy levels are down, allow your body some rest. Take a break that night, go to bed early and use the excuse to catch up on some Netflix.

  1. Honey and Lime

This is your best bet if you have a cough, and can also help you to get over a cold. Lime is a natural expectorant, which helps loosen the mucus in your lungs and sinuses. Honey is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and will soothe a sore throat. You can also add ginger to the mix.

Just go ahead and mix the lime juice with the honey in a small bowl. You can take it with a spoonful. Do this at least twice per day.

Tip: try to get local honey. The darker the honey the more nutrients it has.

Read more here.

  1. Tea

When you’re sick, it’s important to drink liquids to help your body cleanse itself. Hot tea is a great option. It will soothe your throat and detox your system. My personal favorite is green tea, because it is so rich in antioxidants. I like to mix it with mint or ginger tea. Mint tea aids digestion, and ginger soothes the throat.

Try to drink as many cups of tea as you can. Add honey if possible.

Tea is a magical thing. Learn more about tea here. 

  1. Nasal Wash

It sounds gross. I know. I was terrified of nasal washes, but I had a terrible sinusitis a couple of months ago and the nasal wash was what cured me.

My favorite brand is Alkalol. It is made up of only natural ingredients and is not harsh in taste.

If your sinuses are clogged, don’t stuff yourself with medicines that will only block the mucus from being released. A nasal wash will cleanse your nasal passages and sinuses and will get rid of all the stuffiness. This will help you heal from the inside out, and will prevent you from having leftover mucus after you get over the cold.

  1. Yoga

You probably won’t want to go to yoga in the peak of a cold, and you shouldn’t. Even if you have never done yoga and are not interested in it, there are some yoga positions that can help you heal and release.

Yoga is much more than an exercise, it is an ancient practice aimed at helping us heal and relax the nervous system. I believe that yoga is an integral part of healing from any illness, and this is why I include it as such a large part of this article.

Do not be intimidated by the Lulu Lemon’s and the crazy Yoga Instagrams. Yoga can be extremely simple, and you can do it at home.

The following positions will help you relax and restore.

Try to stay in the positions for at least 30 seconds to one minute, repeating them 2 or 3 times. Your body is your best teacher, so hear what it has to say. Don’t overwork yourself. Most importantly, relax and breathe.

Bridge Pose

This position will open your chest in a subtle way and will allow blood to get to your head.

Supported Bridge Pose

If you like bridge pose, but simply want to relax in it, then this is the position you will want to take. Using a bolsters blankets (4) or blocks, slide them under your lower back.. Measure a height that works out for you. If you don’t have these props, pillows and towels also work.

Camel Pose

Camel pose will open up your back and chest. It will also clear your passageways.

This pose can be intense on your low back. Take it easy. Bend back slowly, with your hands on your lower back. If you feel like you can do more, then place your hands on your ankles. Come out of it slowly.

Plow Pose

This pose is considered to be the best to clear your sinuses. It will open your passages and bring blood to your head.

This is a position that can be hard if you are not flexible or have not stretched in a while. Take it easy and go for it slowly, don’t just swing yourself back. If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees and place them close to your ears. Stay in the position for at least 30 seconds, breathing deeply.

Standing Forward Bend

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward, trying to place your hands on the floor. If your hands don’t reach easily, bend your knees. This pose will bring energy to your head and respiratory area and help clear the sinuses.

Legs Up The Wall

Relaxes the groin and opens the chest area.

Lay on the floor and simply put your legs up on the wall. Relax and hold for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes.

Now, remember to take it easy and don’t push your body. When you are sick, the body is asking for rest. Listen to it and feel better!

Your Immune System vs. the Changing Season

Every year, as the leaves begin to slowly float their way to the ground like golden snowflakes. I find myself looking at them in awe while also reaching in my pocket for a tissue to blow my nose.

Yes, autumn is a beautiful season that brings a crisp vibe to the air as well as comfy sweaters and snuggly feels. However, the changing season always seems to wreak havoc on my poor, poor immune system. I always find myself in bed with tomato soup for at least a week every single fall. I know I’m not alone in this because so far all of my suite mates have been sick this fall and I have had two professors cancel class today due to sickness.

So, what gives? Are we simply doomed to the sniffles and scratchy throat each year? As common and unavoidable as it may seem, there are definite ways to avoid or deal with the common cold.

Everyone knows the typical “wash your hands” rule but it definitely is not a throwaway tip. Remembering to wash your hands just a little bit more during this extra germy season could save you a few groggy days in class.

A weird tip that I heard recently is that you should be extra cautious about putting your hands on your face during this season. Apparently, it is more common for cold and flu viruses to enter your body through your eyes, nose and mouth.

Personally, there are a few favorite things I do once I already have a cold and am kicking myself for letting my body become infected. I always keep Vitamin C pills in my desk that I can take in the morning when I’m not feeling great and their effect is unbelievable. These can simply be purchased at most convenience stores. (I get mine at CVS.) Just be careful to only take one a day!

This is going to sound strange, but I also really enjoy going on long runs when I have a cold. I run every day anyway but, if I’m not bed ridden, a long run can typically make my lungs and nose feel like they have opened up a lot and can help with congestion if you have a mild cold.

Finally, it is essential to get enough sleep. I hate being told to sleep more than anyone, but with a cold, it can make a world of difference. Sleep and relaxation will help your immune system heal and get back to normal quicker, so give in to your lazy side for a couple of days and take it easy. Sooner or later, that dreadful common cold will have nothing on you.