How to prepare for a snowstorm without freaking out

Before you run to the grocery store, take a deep breath.

Christmas Day brought an early snowstorm
Christmas Day brought an early snowstorm. –Dina Rudick / The Boston Globe

To help Bostonians with all of their winter weather needs, we asked meteorologist and Boston.com contributor Dave Epstein to give us advice on everything you need to know to prepare for both the snow and the cold.

Question: What is one thing that people forget when it comes to storm preparedness? Everyone runs to the store for their milk and eggs, but is there something that people undervalue or overlook?

Answer: “I think people undervalue their own memory. Remembering, ‘Oh yeah, we did have a foot of snow, and yeah, I was able to get out of my house six hours later, and that wasn’t that bad.’

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“One thing is not getting sucked into the hype about every single storm and revving yourself up with worry. We’ve been through storms for decades. That’s an important key that I write about a lot, the psychology of calming down and going about your life. Just thinking about, ‘OK, if I’m going to be in the house for a day or so, and I’m gonna get bored, what do I want to do?’

“Charge your cellphone and any other electronic devices, and download some games or a movie. Maybe plan a special winter storm treat. Give your kid a special hot chocolate or breakfast to make it fun. Looking at the positive side of snowstorms instead of always worrying is the best thing to do.

“If you live on the coast and you’re going to be exposed to the full fury of the storm, that’s where extremes like generators and making sure your windows are secure, and knowing your evacuation plan if the roads flood. But for most people, even during the worst storm, there’s only so many people who live on the coast like that. The majority of people aren’t exposed to what they see in the media because the media is showing the most extreme images because that’s what’s going to garner the most eyeballs. For most of us, snowstorms are just shoveling, taking breaks, clearing your house, and going about your business 24 hours later.’’

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For more up-to-date weather news, check out Dave’s Weather Wisdom blog or follow him on Twitter @growingwisdom.

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