The Basement Files

Don’t be S.A.D.


Spring Break, yeah. Break out the bikinis, party cups and kegs.
Wait a second. It’s still January. Well, I’m at least going out and having a stogie. I can’t waste a good day, especially when you have nothing better to do. Which is kind of sad in and of itself if it wasn’t January, a month that, generally speaking, is a complete waste of time.
No, I’m not bitter. Or at least no more bitter than usual. But think about it. It’s January. What gets done in January? Nothing. Want proof? How’s that resolution going?
That’s what I thought. So just embrace the laziness, kick back, relax and try to spend as little amount of time as possible outside, because at this time of year, with the exception of this week, the weather is trying to kill you.
Over the years, the “winter hibernation season” as it generally is known around my cave, or basement, has been tweaked, fine-tuned and is pretty close to becoming a full on “tradition.” What does this entail, besides the copious naps of course, and why am I in a good mood every spring and my blood pressure is back to normal? Because relaxation, like anything worth doing, gets better with practice.
So, where do we start? Phase one is rear groove maintenance. The first thing you need for a truly relaxed state duringthe miserable and cold winter ahead is a comfy place to rest your tookus. If your butt isn’t happy, you won’t be either. It could be a chair, couch, sofa, davenport or whatever the heck you call them, but what you really need is a good firm cushion with your own personal butt groove. Once that chair fits you, quite literally like a glove, it’s time for phase two.
Phase Two is good eats and gasless treats. You’re going to need food, drink, and if you are stubborn, antacid. During winter, one shouldn’t have to go out and hunt for food. It’s too dang cold. Make other people deal with it. Keep the numbers for pizza, sandwhiches, Chinese and whomever else delivers. Nothing is more stressful than burning your dinner, choking it down and having an upset stomach the rest of the night.
Between meals you’ll also want some snacks. I suggest something that doesn’t cause gas. But if you must (and I break this rule from time to time, too) make sure you’ve got some anti-gas pills. If you don’t live alone, you’re going to annoy everyone else around you, and that’s stressful. Which is what we are trying to avoid.
Phase Three is television time. Here is the big one. What to watch on the television. New shows are starting, some are coming back for new seasons, and some never left. Check out something new, but if you are like me and hate commercials, catch up on old shows you missed. This can be by rental (if available,) ordering entire seasons on Blu-Ray or DVD, or streaming them off the Internet (legally folks). As a nerd with a good Internet connection I prefer the latter, but they are all good.
The point is, lose yourself in entertainment. You can try books, too, but if you pick one that’s above your comprehension, it might get frustrating. Video games work too, but again, it’s a gamble. You could put something in that frustrates you, and that’s not good.
But whatever you do, stay away from the 24-hour news networks. Nothing but frustration, anger, depression; basically everything that Star Wars called “The dark side” exists on those networks.
Of course, you don’t have to take my advice. Heck, I’m not qualified to deal with what is more popularly known as “seasonal affective disorder.” I’m just sharing what works for me in the hope that (this week’s musical reference) a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.