It’s winter and that means wind chills, shoveling snow, scraping ice off your windshield and generally feeling like your skin and extremities could turn to ice at any given moment. There might be other things that happen in winter (we’ve heard there are also holidays and winter sports) but that’s what comes to mind when the weather report says that places in North America will hit lows of -50 degrees Celsius this week. Why are you like this, Mother Nature? Is it because we keep spitting carbon fumes into the air despite overwhelming evidence that we should stop doing that? Okay, that’s fair.
If you’re looking to survive this winter, you might be on the hunt for some good tips for braving the cold weather. We’ve got you covered. And that’s tip number one: stay covered. Here are a few more.
Warm yourself before you insulate yourself
If you put cold toes into insulated boots, you’re just sealing in the cold. Make sure that your body — especially extremities — starts off warm when you’re going outside. Give your feet and hands a little shot with the hair dryer or hold them by the heating vent before you put your winter gear on.
Layer everything but socks
It might seem like a good idea to layer socks to achieve the coziest tootsies possible, but if your toes can’t wiggle while they’re in your boots, your extra socks are doing more harm than good. If adding another layer of socks prohibits movement, don’t do it. With hats, mittens and jackets, feel free to pile on the layers.
Mittens over gloves
When you wear gloves, it’s every finger for itself out there. Mittens allow for all your fingers to work together to keep each other warm (aww, teamwork). If you still want an extra layer, try a thin pair of gloves underneath your mittens.
Hats are the best
Science says it’s not true that most of the heat in your body escapes out your head, but we also assume that Science has never had frostbitten ears. Hats are really your best friend in the winter and though headbands and earmuffs might also keep your ears warm, the more coverage, the better. If you’re concerned about listening to music with earbuds during these cold winter months, there are now Bluetooth hats. You’re welcome.
Don’t wear insulated boots inside
If you’re going to the movies or a restaurant or any other place where you keep your shoes on, you might want to opt for less insulated boots. You may be inclined to wear insulated boots to keep your feet warm on the way there, but once you get inside, one of two things will happen. If you’re sitting down or generally staying still, your feet might get cold and the boots will seal that in. If you’re moving or your feet get too warm while you’re inside, they’ll start sweating. If you go outside once your feet have been sweating, the sweat is going to do what it does best: evaporate to cool you down. Except that’s not what you want. At all. Non-insulted boots or shoes will allow your feet to stay a moderate temperature (i.e. the temperature of the room you’re in) and you’ll be more comfortable overall.
Beware of getting too warm
That sweating rule goes for every part of your body. Breaking a sweat may seem like you’re doing something right, but as soon as the temperature drops more or you remove a layer, that sweat is going to work against you.
Hand warmers are little pocket miracles
If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time (like, perhaps participating in one of the aforementioned winter sports), hand warmers might be a good investment. They’re lightweight, fit in your mittens or pocket and generally provide 10 hours of heat.
Heated blankets are worth it
Something else that’s worth the investment for your personal well-being is a heated blanket. If you’re the type of person who just can’t seem to layer up enough blankets to stay warm at night, a heated one might just do the trick. They’re a little pricey, but if you get cold enough in the night that it wakes you, the blanket is worth it.
Hot water bottles are cool too
For a cheaper alternative to the heated blanket or for just a little boost of heat, hot water bottles are great sleeping companions. A water bottle might give you just enough heat to lull you to sleep without using electricity or costing a small fortune. Plus you can buy them adorable little sweaters now.
The extreme cold is going to zap the moisture out of the air and your skin. Remember to moisturize your whole body more than you would otherwise and focus especially on the areas that are exposed the most: face, lips and hands.