Nobody wants to succumb to psychotropic drug abuse, season-long hibernations or unrestrained weather-related hostility.

But such are the options for folks who don’t prepare a proper arsenal against the personality-altering effects of a New England winter.

The impending season can ice our spirits and bury our good natures under a half-ton of ash-colored slush. Or we can grab winter by the snow, pack it in our mitts and chuck it around a little — maybe build a sweet snow fort while we’re at it.

The key is strategy — a wintry plan of attack. For, like the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of February shock therapy.” Here are a few options for staving off winter psychosis:

If you can’t beat it, build a bar out of it. Nonantum’s inaugural Fire and Ice Bar aims to put frozen water to good use, offering up cold cocktails from the outdoor ice bar. Fireside seating will also be available inside when your body temperature drops to a near-fatal level.

Fire & Ice Bar, Nonantum Resort, 95 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport. Friday and Saturday. $20.

The annual Ice Bar at Portland Harbor Hotel is a regular wonder of ice carving — and a stellar way to appreciate the winter even if “ski,” “sport” and “yurt” aren’t in your seasonal vocabulary. Sip a martini or a Shipyard in the courtyard surrounded by a bundled-up crowd and ice carvings galore.

Ice Bar, Portland Harbor Hotel, 468 Fore St. Jan. 27-29. $15 ($21 including a drink ticket).

Some folks take their athletics inside in the winter. But not you. You scoff at the frigid breeze and the icy streets. Revel in your winter running mastery during the Brewer’s Holiday Dash 5K this Sunday. The post-race party at Ri Ra makes for swell bear-the-weather motivation.

Brewer’s Holiday Dash, Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant, 72 Commercial St., Portland. 11 a.m. Sunday. $20.

The cold-weather running continues in February with Tri-Maine’s annual Polar Bear 5K. The winter air only makes you stronger. You can warm yourself with the knowledge that you are a true athlete, able to conquer competitors and the New England elements. Or wear fleece pants.

Polar Bear 5K, Loring Memorial Circle, Eastern Prom Road, Portland. Feb. 12. $10.

For some folks, winter sanity is maintained by doing something that appears rather crazy: stripping down to swimsuits and plunging headlong into the freezing Atlantic. It’s an act that tells winter, “You’re not going to control me!” The plunges also raise money for excellent causes, which warms the heart and deters hypothermia.

Polar Bear Plunge, East End Beach, Portland. Dec. 31. Raise $50 minimum to participate.

Lobster Dip, Brunswick Hotel, 39 W. Grand Ave., Old Orchard Beach. Jan. 1. Raise $100 minimum to participate.

Portland Polar Dip, East End Beach, Portland. Feb. 12. Raise $100 minimum to participate.

Your shih tzu won’t even go out in the snow, let alone pull you around the backyard for a joyride. But the able canines at Bridgton’s Mushers Bowl are happy to haul you across a frozen Highland Lake. In addition to dogsled rides there are snowmobile rides, sleigh rides, an ice fishing derby, dogsled races, a polar dip and a ping-pong tournament. But it’s mostly about the dogsled rides.

Bridgton Mushers Bowl, various locations, Bridgton. Jan. 22-23. Cost varies.

A chute-centric event, the Toboggan Championships feature about 400 teams competing in two-person, three-person or four-person races down the long chute at Camden Snow Bowl. Costumes abound, with a lean toward wearing underpants as outerwear. Registration also fills up quickly, so big-dreaming sledders need to rally a team now.

U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Camden Snow Bowl, Camden. Feb. 11-13. $60 to $120.

Sledding: It’s not just for children in inhibiting snow apparel anymore. This two-man relay race on Portland’s East End includes a bike ride around Back Bay and a run along East End streets. But the joy is in the inspired costumes and the sled to the finish down the East End hill. The post-race happy hour at Ri Ra ain’t bad, either.

Snowman Adventure Race, East End hill, Portland. Feb. 19. $40.

So go forth and embrace winter. Because no one wants an “unfulfilling fling with a frigid ice scraper” to be your only winter accomplishment.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

[email protected]