It’s Jan. 13 and the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and, by golly, it looks like some of the snow is melting. Enjoy it now, my little cave dwellers, because any good Minnesotan knows that this ain’t gonna last. Soon enough, you’ll be back under your comforter cuddling with your MacBook Pro and crying yourself to sleep like Joaquin Phoenix in that new Spike Jonze film I’m refusing to see.

 

Let’s be real –– winter sucks. But if you know how to work it, you’ll see a major reduction in overall suckiness. All you’ve gotta do is dive in!

 

Now let’s start with the basics. Are you taking your Vitamin D? Have you considered buying a sunlamp? Are you regularly exercising? If the answer is no, it’s time to put down the Pop-Tarts and get proactive, ‘cause we all know big pharma is dying for your pocket change.

 

Without further adieu, welcome to A&E’s unofficial Winter Warrior Bootcamp.

 

Step one: Strip off the footie pajamas, pull up your Carhartts and make a damn snow angel.

Yeah, you heard me. You’re gonna drop down and give me ten flutters of your angel wings. If you ruin it when you stand up, you’re gonna drop back down and do it again. You’d better be smiling. Here’s a video for the soulless.

 

Step two: Roll some snow into balls. Put them on top of each other. Give them a face.

Oh, you’re too cool for a snowman? Try telling that to the Minnesotan teens who made the snow shark in their front yard. You’re in for some cruel life lessons on humility, pal. Now, there’s no need to adhere to traditional accessories like carrots and coal. The snowman of every college kid’s dream is more likely to be decked out in PBR cans, used condoms, glow sticks and Victoria’s Secret paraphernalia. That’s fine. Just make the snowman.

 

Step three: Get on your hands and knees and plunge your face into the snow.

This should be a requirement for every Minnesotan before they’re allowed to vote or, uh, buy cigarettes and 40s for the anarchists out there. If you can’t handle the quick sting of a face full of snow, how are you going to handle childrearing or, worse, driving on those barely-plowed winter roads? Not only does plunging your face in the snow provide an oft-needed adrenaline rush, it also leaves you with a rad imprint of your face on the snowy surface of your choice. It’s like Hollywood for deluded midwesterners!

 

Step four: Make a hole in the ice. Jump in.

Okay, I don’t recommend doing this on your own or in the company of dumb, untrained friends, but Polar Bear Plunges are all the rage. Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Minnesota just so happens to be hosting a number of plunges in your own backyard, starting with a White Bear Lake jump on Jan. 25. Best of all, each jump raises money for Special Olympics Minnesota. It’s misery with benefits!

 

If you’re still feeling blue after boot camp, it’s time to take an ice bath and pop a few ghost peppers. Have fun!