Brrr! When the winter temperatures dip low, living and working in a sub-zero climate can really take its toll. By employing a few tricks, however, you can stay warm despite the cold weather.
EditStaying Warm Outside
- Wear an under-layer. This is an easy way to stay warmer without having to do much. An under-layer is a layer of clothing which goes under your normal clothing. This under-layer can take many forms, but each can help you stay warm without adding a lot of bulk or extra steps.
- Common under-layer items include stockings, leggings, thermal shirts, and long underwear.
- It’s important to keep in mind that having this under-layer can become uncomfortable if you are in a warm room if you have outer layers on. For example, if you bundle up to drive to work in a warm office, you may find the additional base layer too much.
- After skiing, you may have to strip down to your thermals when sitting in front of the fireplace in your alpine cabin. If opaque, this is generally considered appropriate apres-ski wear.
- Wear a waterproof outer layer. When you know there will be chances to get wet, it’s important to have a waterproof layer to stay warm. If the water penetrates through your clothing, your clothing will only make you colder. Examples of watery conditions you might encounter include rain, snow, and spray (such as if you will be out on a boat or if there are lots of puddles on the ground).
- You can throw a rain jacket on under a warm but less waterproof coat, for example. When you buy coats, look for materials that are very waterproof and warm, such as neoprene.
- Wear a heat-retaining layer. Aside from just keeping dry, you want to look for clothing made out of materials that are very insulating. You’ve probably heard about fleece but this fabric is not for everyone. Find out what other options are available to you and then go on a shopping trip.
- Wear wool, if you can. This is one of the best insulating materials, even though it can be expensive. You can also use wool clothes, instead of just wool coats, to cut down on how much you need to wear total. Many inexpensive wool items can be found at vintage stores.
- Other warm materials include down, lined leather, fur, and neoprene.
- Wool will continue to keep you warm, even if wet. This is not true of most materials such as leather or quilted cotton.
- Protect your extremities. It’s not completely true that you lose X percentage of heat from your head or your feet or whatever.However, it is true that leaving these areas uncovered can make it tough for you to stay warm. When you’re outside, try to keep your head, hands, and feet covered with a scarf, hat, gloves, and thick fuzzy socks and boots. You may also wear two layers of socks or leggings/thermals under your jeans. It may not make you look like the pinnacle of fashion, but you will be warm.
- It is very important for all of these items to be waterproof, since these are the areas where you are most likely to notice wetness and added cold. For example, use lined leather gloves if you can.
- Protect yourself from the elements. When you’re forced to go outside, stay as far away as you can from things like rain, snow, puddles, ice, and wind. These things getting too close is what makes you feel cold; your clothing and body can usually handle the air temperature okay. Move quickly between buildings, use a car when you can, and when you must be outside, try to walk under a shelter.
- Bring warming materials. You can carry around little heat sources with you, if you find yourself struggling to stay warm. Small items, like reusable hand warmers, can be put in a pocket to get the job done when gloves just aren’t enough. Other items, like travel mugs full of soup, can be used to warm you from the inside out.
- You can even make your own hand warmers if you can’t find anywhere to buy them for a good price. There are many websites with instructions and all are easy to make with the right ingredients.
- Wear clothing that is the right size. We know you want to look hot, but there’s a reason why Eskimos wear those big coats and loose pants. When your clothing fits tightly, it can’t keep you warm or comfortable. Instead, if you want to stay warm, make sure the clothes that you’re wearing fit loosely. This creates a protective layer of warm air between your skin and the environment on the other side of that fabric.
- Move around to create heat. If your clothes themselves can’t keep you warm, let your body create heat. Moving around will burn energy in your body, which gets expressed as heat. Try exercising or at least try not to stand still.
- Jumping jacks are a good option if you’re inside. However, when you’re outside movement like that can be dangerous because of slippery ground conditions. A better way to get active when you’re outside is to do small lunges, which create less chances for slipping.
EditStaying Warm Inside
- Layer your clothing so you can adjust for different environments. The most basic thing you can do to stay warm both inside and outside is to layer your clothing. Ask anyone who has lived in some of the colder parts of the world, like Alaska and Norway, and they’ll all tell you: wear layers. This lets you have one outfit for the day that adjusts easily for snowy weather outside, as well as switching over naturally to your toasty warm office.
- An example outfit would include stockings, jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a button up shirt, a sweater, and a coat. With all of these things on, or a combination of these things on, you can easily adjust to a roaring hot classroom, an icy office, a neutral grocery store, and the freezing temperatures outside without any problem at all.
- Insulate your home. Make sure your home is as insulated as it can be. You might want to switch out the insulation in your walls or ceiling. You can also do more basic things, like putting up thick curtains and blankets over windows.
- Cellular shades are actually pretty effective at keeping cold air from escaping a window and they’re often cheaper than other curtain options.
- You can also further insulate windows and any glass on doors with insulating film, a plastic material that is clear and adhered to all of the glass.
- Close off unused rooms and focus on heating a central room. It is often easier and cheaper to focus on keeping one room warm than on keeping an entire apartment or house warm. Figure out a single room that your family can stick to during waking hours and seal it off from the rest of the house. Close doors and keep them covered in blankets. Centralize your heaters and other methods of warming the room. This saves you from having to put a lot of effort into keep rooms warm that you won’t use very often.
- Seal gaps that let in cold air. You’ll want to keep an eye out for holes and gaps that let cold air into your home or between rooms that have different levels of insulation. The most common example is the gap under doors, but you may also find some windows let in a draft or that rooms above a basement have cold air coming up through the floor.
- Rolled up blankets and carpets can easily be used to plug these gaps.
- Prepare your bed. You’ll probably want your bed to be at least a little warm before you crawl in to go to sleep. Those icy sheets are no-one’s friend. There are lots of ways that you can get your bed ready before it’s time to sleep. Try:
- A hot water bottle, placed under the blanket at the lower center of the bed, or run your blanket through the dryer for 10-20 minutes on med or high heat.
- Bake cookies. Or anything, really. Your oven, when it’s turned on and heated up to the usual baking temperature of around 365 degrees, can work really well to make the room that it’s in nice and warm. Make the kitchen your weekend base of operations and hang out while cookies or a dinner roast is prepared.
- Doing your laundry can similarly heat up nearby rooms. Make your chores count and be quick to do your laundry on really cold days. You can wear items fresh out of the dryer to get even warmer.
- Drink something hot. Whether it’s a hot cup of lemon tea or a Mexican coffee, drinking a hot liquid can boost how warm you feel from the inside out. Turn the kettle on and then break out the mugs because you’re about to get nice and warm.
- You might think or have been told that adding alcohol to a hot drink will make you feel warmer, but that’s not really the best advice. Alcohol actually lowers your body temperature, even though it gives you that “burning” feeling. If it’s dangerously cold in your home, you should avoid alcohol.
- Take a hot shower or bath. A hot shower or bath can be just enough to get your body back to a reasonable level of warmth. Find yourself just getting cold again after five minutes? Make sure you’re bundling up as soon as you get out, with warm house clothes, a robe, and house shoes. This will help your body retain the heat of the bath.
- Wear clothing that will cover your ears so they won’t stay cold.
- If you attend school, try to overdress. That way you will always have enough clothing. It’s a bad idea to be stuck freezing at school, because there’s no way you can get extra clothing.
- Boots are indispensable in the winter. Try to get at least two pairs: a pair of waterproof snow boots for the wet days, and a pair of warm, stylish boots for the dry, yet cold, days.
- If it is snowing or raining, be certain that your shoes are water resistant. If your feet are cold and wet, it won’t matter how well the rest of you is bundled up… you will still be miserable!
- Cold weather brings dry, cracked lips, which are both painful and unattractive.
So if you are spending lots of time In the cold air, make sure to bring some chapstick and put on some before you leave your house and throughout the day.
- Always have an indoor, heated place that you can get to. You don’t want to be stuck outside if the weather becomes extreme.
- If you are going to be outside for a long time, use hand warmers inside your gloves or mittens (they work best with mittens, since you can wrap your entire hand around them.) They are very inexpensive, and they sell them at any sporting good store, or department store that has a sporting goods department.
- Your breath is your own little heater. Zip or button your coat up all the way and breathe in and out. It gives off some warmth. Be aware though that your breath is also moist and may soak fabrics. In extreme cold try a balaclava that allows moisture to escape but keeps the wind off your face.
- If caught outside in non-tolerable winter conditions, find shelter immediately. If there is no way to find a sturdy building or other place that will store heat, use nature as a shelter such as a row of healthy overgrown pine trees. They alone will at least break the chilling wind and keep that area slightly warmer.
- For extra protection try wearing thinner gloves underneath mittens, so when you need to do something precise with your fingers, they don’t freeze.
- If you go to school and your feet are cold: wear tights, or boys two pairs of socks.
- Keep blankets at hand.
- To keep from slipping on ice you can buy rubber cleats to put over your shoes that are easy to take on and off and lightweight to fit in your bag.
- Wear one or more pairs of gloves.
- It is important to dress warm. You should wear layers on your upper half, like a t-shirt, sweater, jacket and scarf. A pair of fleece lined jeans are really nice for the lower half you don’t have to wear long underwear. There are only a few companies making them. The most stylish ones are called Winter Blues Jeans. Also make sure you wear hat since a lot of heat loss occurs from the top of the head.
- If you are going somewhere and get cold, take a break (if you have the time) and warm up in a nearby building before continuing.
- Don’t stay out in these temperatures too long. It can result in frostbite, hypothermia, or at the very least, the common cold.
- If you get too cold, get inside immediately.
- Try wearing black clothes during the day and bask in the sun (if it’s out of course!). Black and/or dark materials can draw in the sun’s heat energy, while white does the absolute opposite.
- Spending too much time outside in the cold can result in a nasty cold, or something even worse. Take good care of yourself.
- Consult your doctor before you spend any extended period of time outside, especially if you have a life threatening illness.
EditThings You’ll Need
- Winter Coat (wool or fleece)
- Foot warmers
- Hand warmers
- Good-grip shoes
- Layers of clothes
- Full length zip on fleece leg warmers
- Fur ear warmer
- Ice cap
- Lots of blankets to stay warm and snuggly!
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