5 ways to kindle the warmth in the freezing season
“Highs around 44…”, a polished news speaker voice from the clock radio wakes me up. You have got to be kidding me. Highs! Around 44! I pull the blanket over my head and snuggle up closer to The Husband. As far as I am concerned, I am happy to stay right here until the voice returns with “Highs around 60.” At least.
Unfortunately, that is not an option, and I have to embrace this day like everyone else, a day whose sun hasn’t even risen yet. It’s cold outside and most of life is confined to indoors, for parents and kids alike. Interesting life forms join us, such as Influenza, and one or another loved one may fall ill. I can think of circumstances that I literally warm up to more. Economists, scientists, have they come up with something useful to turn the ice into ice cream so to speak, as a couple, as a family?
I wouldn’t be writing this, if they hadn’t, so you can keep reading and see if you agree. My allies in spirit Bruno Frey, Sally Bloomfield, Jeffrey Dew and the holder of a bottomless treasure trove on just this topic, Sheldon Cohen, have some robustly tested advice to share.
- Good friendships can repel the simple common cold. Good social integration is associated with a reduced risk of this type of infections. Also, social support provides a buffer from the pathogenic influences of stress. – And if not…
- Bless you, if you have a family. Marriage and family are a mini-insurance against life’s adverse events. Such as the cold season. You may all get sick at the same time, but it is not likely. So if one is terribly sick, the other can take over. – Not that this is always fun, but…
- Exercising generosity improves marital satisfaction. Small acts of kindness, regular displays of affection and respect, and a willingness to forgive failings, are all positively associated with marital satisfaction. Even if it is not at all times exciting to care for the sick and/or shoulder their burdens, the small effort pays off in terms of happiness. The emphasis is on ‘small’ and ‘regular’. Big sacrifices can tilt the balance too far.
- It’s fine to kiss. Just don’t shake hands. Professor Sally Bloomfield, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says: “People avoid kissing each other when they have a cold, but in fact they are more likely to pass on an infection by shaking someone’s hand.” Air- or cheek kisses are safest.
- Remember the obvious, which for sheer obviousness does not appear in empirical research: light the fireplace, bake waffles with the kids, make hot chocolate or apple cider and wear thick crazy patterned socks.
That should do for a couple of weeks. Enjoy until the clock changes….which will be a whole new challenge.