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Summer is over. Winter is coming. It’s going to be ok.

winter is coming
winter is coming

Summer is over. The days are shorter, the nights are colder and posts about Seasonal Affective Disorder are about to take over your Facebook feed. Other than quitting Facebook, here are a few ideas on getting ready for winter.

Summer has long been my favorite season. It starts with asparagus, moves on to tomatoes and finally to corn and chanterelles. It’s the season when people can sneak off to pools and swimming holes and it’s perfectly acceptable to drink copious amounts of rosé. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end – or at least a transition.

Winter brings a bit of fun too. The rosé becomes red wine and the damned patio finally goes away. The menu turns to braises and stews – and if you’re lucky maybe even a cassoulet. Some parts of the country get harder winters than others (the people of LA suffer through wearing long-sleeved shirts and buttoning up their jackets, while in Chicago if you miss your bus you may die.) But no matter where you live, it’s time to prepare for the colder months of year.

Five simple strategies for winter

Drink More
Probably a bad idea, but it’s a tried and true “fix” for winter time blues. After months of rain, sleet and snow, a hot toddy or two can work wonders. Personally, I validate my drinking by calling it research. (This is how I emerged from a wine-fog as a level 2 with the Court of Master Sommeliers.) Maybe this winter is a good one to explore the finer points of scotch…

Drink Less
Probably a better idea. Alcohol is a depressant, after all. Besides, there are hangovers, and then there are winter hangovers while missing a bus in Chicago. My advice: learn about red wines, with meals, and keep the drinking moderate to light.

Cook More
Even if you’re stuck behind a line 40+ hours a week, there’s nothing as satisfying as coming home to a slow cooker full of stew. Hearty soups with crusty bread can do wonders for your well-being. It may feel like a drag to cook at home, but the benefits are legion.

Socialize When You Can
Winter is hard for seeing friends. As we move into the (shudder) holidays (shake it off) everyone gets too busy to socialize. Do whatever you can do to see some friendly faces. If there’s an industry event with free booze – go. Go to the Halloween party. Plan on Thanksgiving (or even better a Friendsgiving as well). Prioritize seeing your people. They’re cold, alone and working too much just like you are – you’ll be helping them as much as it helps you.

Volunteer
Seriously. Check in on your local Meals on Wheels and see if they need any help. Check on the local animal shelter. Pick a political cause and work to support it. This’ll check a lot of boxes: You’ll meet people, you’ll get out of the house, you’ll be doing some good for your community, and you can casually mention it to that attractive person at the bar. (I’ve managed to work that one in to conversations myself with great results.)

Today is the end of Summer, so grab some sun while you can. Winter is coming, but with proper care it might even be fun.

Jack Hott

Jack Hott has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. Along the way he’s flipped burgers, tossed pizzas and spilled a lot of wine on white table cloths.

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