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Sometime around the first snowfall, the panic sets in: “Oh, no. Not again. I’m so not ready for this.” But while winter can be harsh – this is Canada, after all – it’s not all shivering and shovelling. At least, not anymore: Work these habits into your winter routine, and it’ll be March before you know it.

1. Care for your car

Five minutes each evening will save you a morning of frozen frustration. Start by flicking your wipers up to prevent them from sticking to the windshield. Then, give your windows a quick once-over clean and seal them with a protective de-icing spray. Don’t skip the cleaning part; running your wipers or an ice scraper over caked-on dirt can scratch up your windshield.

2. Use your slow cooker

Your Crock-Pot is more than just a purveyor of delicious dinners; it’s also an ace breakfast maker. Before you hit the hay, combine 2 apples (peeled and cored), 1 ½ cups each milk and water, 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons each brown sugar and butter, and a healthy pinch of cinnamon in your slow cooker, and you’ll be greeted by a hot, no-fuss breakfast come morning.

3. Start your day off warm  

Dragging yourself out of the house in sub-zero temps is tough enough on its own; attempting it in cold, damp outerwear is near impossible. Before you sit down to your hot bowl of porridge tomorrow morning, place your boots and mitts over your radiator or vent, and they’ll be warm and toasty by the time you’re ready to head out the door.

4. Layer up (it’s not what you think)

Clothes aren’t the only thing worth layering on in cold weather. Your (formerly) dry, flaky hands will thank you for adopting a two-step approach to skincare in the winter months: Use your regular hand cream to moisturize and follow up with a thicker formula to create a lasting seal, morning and night.

5. Eat with the season

Embrace the season and all its bounty, and your body will thank you. The vitamin C in oranges boosts your immune system, while pomegranate’s anti-viral properties are being studied for their potential effects against flu. Kale is chock full of fibre and vitamins A, K and C, plus it’s a natural detoxifier – perfect for cleansing post-holiday indulgence.

6. Take up a winter sport

Regular physical activity (at least 2.5 hours per week) has been shown to reduce the risk of a whole whack of chronic diseases. We know you know this. But that’s not all it’s good for come winter. Getting your sport on will change your whole perspective: Instead of cursing when the you’ll rejoice when there’s fresh ice to skate on; instead of grumbling over snow, you’ll welcome the fresh powder for skiing and snowboarding. Not outdoorsy? Not a problem: There’s still indoor curling, ice hockey and figure skating.

7. Study first, shovel second

When it comes to shovelling, not all snowstorms are created equal. Know what you’re dealing with and plan your strategy accordingly. A forecast of snowfall and continuous cold means you’ll want to shovel sooner than later, before the snow gets wet and heavy. A forecast of light snow followed by warm temperatures means you can save yourself the trouble and let the sun do the work. Snow followed by rain (and then cold again) means you’d better shovel and salt before that temperature drops, lest you be stuck with a municipal fine and a sidewalk covered in intractable ice (trust us, it’s not fun).

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