Yesterday, Chicagoans received some rather unfavorable news, for the second year in a row Forbes Magazine has named Chicago the most stressful city in America. Why did we earn such a dubious distinction? According to Forbes, “Chicago’s rising unemployment rate, expensive gas, high population density and relatively poor air quality create a perfect storm of stress.” Can you say, depressing?
To make matters worse, Forbes failed to include arguably the number one reason why Chicago should be considered the most stressful city in America— the weather. Also, published yesterday was the Farmer’s Almanac winter prediction. You guessed it— it’s going to be a “bitterly cold and dry” winter here in Chicago.
I mean seriously?! Talk about two low blows in one day! I’m stressed out and shivering! And to think this whole time I’ve been waiting for summer to finally show up.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I HEART Chicago. I’ve lived here my whole life and I have no intentions of ever moving anywhere else. Five of my East Coast friends visited this summer and they all fell in love with the city too. They were shocked to see the vastness of Lake Michigan, the crowded North Ave. and Oak St. beaches and the beautiful Chicago skyline. My roommate and I gave these New Yorkers and Bostonians a whole list of reasons why this is the best city in the country: Second City, the Bean, summer festivals, laid back and low key people, Lou Malnati’s, Garrett’s and other great cuisine, the Art Institute, the beaches, Wicker Park and Bucktown boutiques, the Architectural boat tours, Wrigley and the Cubs, Michigan Ave., people-watching…
I know Chicago rocks and I know my fellow Oy!sters agree. But still, I can’t not be saddened and overwhelmed by this news. Plus, it doesn’t help that I’m also busy worrying about swine flu, the recession, the healthcare debate, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and always, the situation in Israel. Maybe, Chicagoans (including me) really are the most stressed out people in America?!
So, what do we do? How do we fight back? How do we combat the stress of living in a crowded, fast-paced, urban environment? What are your survival tactics for making it through Chicago winters? Please share, I’d appreciate any advice. For now, I plan to spend the next 6 months or so hiding in my bed under the covers trying to stay warm, avoiding swine flu and watching mind-numbing reality TV to avoid any stress.