Snow day psychology

UConn students explore campus after a fall snow. (Brandon Barzola/ The Daily Campus)

The moment the three or four different UConn schedule change alerts hit our phones Thursday, everyone’s mood instantly shifted. All anyone could talk about was the snow. People began claiming they could smell it in the air. Windows were watched with a sort of attention and excitement Netflix could only dream of garnering. But considering how dangerous and destructive snow can sometimes be, it should be a surprise that most of us are so happy about it. It turns out the answer to this mystery lies in psychology.

Psychologist Sandi Mann’s article “Why Do We Get So Excited About Snow?” said there are two main reasons. The first is snow days help break routine. When snow starts coming down and roads get too dicey to drive on, work, classes and plans all tend to get cancelled. With your day suddenly completely empty, there comes a sense of newness and fresh perspective. Without the daily grind to bring you down, you can pursue any interest you’d like for the day. Or you can sit back and relax for once. Mann also said snow brings out the inner child. When the first flakes begin gliding passed our windows, we suddenly recall the carefree snowball fights, snowmen and sledding adventures of our childhood. Since these memories are so closely related to snowy weather, they kick in as soon as it starts to snow and we feel happy.

Korin Miller’s article “Why We Get So Excited About Big Snowstorms: The Psychology Behind the Anticipation” said this reminder of childhood acts as an instant gratification. This sense of gratification can last even through the usual snow day maintenance, like shoveling the driveway. The only downside to this persisting emotion is the sense of loss when the roads are cleared and work or classes resume the next day. But the anticipation of this gratification for the next storm can keep you from instantly slipping back into the drudgery of everyday life.

Unfortunately, many people have trouble letting go of all their responsibilities and can’t embrace the carefree snow day feeling. Linda Wasmer Andrews’ article “Healthy, Relaxing Things to Do on a Snow Day” helps to show there are positive benefits to taking your snow day easy that might just make it worthwhile. Andrews said curling up with a novel helps to keep your mind sharp and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. She also said taking afternoon naps helps to restore alertness and enhance mood. Surprisingly enough, she even said watching a funny movie helps “relieve stress, ease pain and help blood vessels function better.”

Considering Thursday was only a half day and it still made everyone feel that snow day excitement, we can only imagine how amazing the first full day will be. Just don’t forget the snow storm dangers next time around and embrace the extra time to relax and bask in the snow day glow.


Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu.