Columns / Discourse / January 31, 2019

Better Than Your Horoscope: ‘Why is it so cold outside?’

Welcome to “Better Than Your Horoscope,” where I answer your burning questions about your life, TKS and the world. This week we have a question that I am sure is on most of your minds:

“Why is it so cold outside?” – California Here I Come

Well, California, I have a few answers to your very timely question.

First of all, as I’m sure you’re aware, we’re in the middle of a polar vortex. Or, rather, we’re in the middle of the polar vortex. According to the National Weather Service, the polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both the Earth’s poles. Recently, however, warm air flowing from the south disrupted the polar vortex, and parts wandered south. So that’s why we’re all freezing.

Some people can’t seem to handle this answer, though, including President Donald Trump. He, and probably many disgruntled college students, asked on Twitter why it’s so cold if global warming is a thing. And the answer to that is there’s a difference between local weather and climate.

So, basically, just because it’s really cold in the Midwest right now doesn’t mean that the Earth as a whole isn’t getting warmer. Because, if you haven’t checked recently, it is.

But perhaps, California, you don’t care about the science (and let’s be frank, I don’t either). You’re just miserable and looking up Amtrak tickets to Los Angeles in your spare time. I get it.

To this, I have a few pieces of advice. First of all: warm up. Exercise. I know, I know, it sucks. But sometimes the only thing that keeps me from crying about the cold is going to my dance class in the mornings or getting a yoga flow going before I go to sleep. There’s a variety of free cardio videos online that you can do in the comfort of your home/dorm room (although your downstairs neighbors in Williston might hate you forever) if you don’t want to trek to the gym to use a machine. You’ll feel better after.

Secondly, distract yourself when you’re outside. I’ve chosen to listen to music every time I go outside this term, because otherwise I would probably just be crying into the wind. I would suggest something upbeat, that you can imagine yourself dancing to in a very very warm, sunshine-filled field. (For me, it’s “Heard it in a Past Life” by Maggie Rogers. Would recommend for warming your soul.)

Next, please get some inner layers. The Windchill Fashionista was not joking around when she said to get some long underwear. You can get some at Wal-Mart for five bucks, or order some off Amazon. You can always throw on some leggings underneath your jeans and double up on your socks. Either way, being cold isn’t a joke, and one layer is not going to suffice in negative temperatures.

Lastly, make sure to take care of yourself. It’s easy to isolate yourself in the winter, but please take the time to see the people you love and do the things you love. It’s a lot easier to get through these cold months if you don’t feel so alone.





If you want your question featured in next week’s issue, submit anonymously at (that’s case-sensitive!) or drop me a line at Valentine’s Day requests are always appreciated.


Erika Riley, Editor-in-Chief
Erika Riley is a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. During her sophomore year, she worked as a news editor, and during her freshman year, she worked as a layout editor. She is the winner of the 2017 Ida M. Tarbell Prize for Investigative Reporting and the recipient of First Place Front Page Layout from the Illinois Press Association in 2016. Twitter: @ej_riley

Tags:  better than your horoscope polar vortex

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