Winter officially begins with the winter solstice on December 21, but in Canada we pre-empt this date with “bonus winter,” which begins around Halloween and then “extra winter,” which bookends spring equinox by a couple weeks. It’s long and difficult. Students are hit with school-related duress to coincide with their winter discontent. For this reason, we’ve put together some practical tips for surviving winter.
- Boots, socks, long johns
In winter if you fail to stay comfortable (a.k.a. warm and dry), you will suffer.
Boots are the easiest game to win on this front. Having a good, waterproof pair of boots is about 40 percent of the battle. Amplify this with good socks and long johns or thick leggings, and walking outside will be 80 percent more pleasant. It’s science.
In general, overdressing is actually a good idea; being a bit overheated in the cold means you can unzip and cool off, which is immensely satisfying.
- Hot breakfast
In winter, I like to imagine my stomach as a steam engine that’s fuelled by hot food. In the morning, I have to get the engine going. Instant porridge, toast, or cup-of-noodles (no joke, so easy and good) is a great way to do this.
If you’re in a hurry or poor, just have some hot water. After all, that’s the basic concept: get something warm in your stomach to help maintain or increase your temperature.
source: Breakfast bowls Buzzfeed
- Get outside
Now to the psychological side of surviving winter. Seasonal affective disorder is a thing, and along a certain spectrum we are all affected by the seasonal shift. Spring is fun, summer is easy, autumn is okay, winter is awful. But it doesn’t have to be! When life gives you snow, you make snow balls. Finding at least one outdoor activity to do in the winter is the difference between being a person who says they ‘hate winter’ and someone who says they ‘don’t mind it.’
And there are a lot of activities: winter lawn bowling, wrestling in the snow, tobogganing, hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, skating, hockey. Even winter soccer is fun. Each snowy field or path presents a chance to get creative in a snowsuit and have some zany winter times. Those are the moments that fight off the winter blues.
- Catch the sun
Problem: In the winter time, while most people are inside doing adult things, the sun makes a half-hearted appearance in the southern sky. Having direct sunlight all of a sudden becomes a rare commodity.
If you don’t have a southern exposure and you’re never outside in the middle of the day, you will essentially be living in a dimly lit cave throughout the winter. Have no illusions about this being no big deal: sunlight is, after all, the poetic and real-world representation of happiness and life. There’s a laundry list of benefits, so figuring out how to get more rays is a good health strategy. It might just mean taking a couple extra minutes to enjoy the feeling of having direct sunlight hit your face while walking on the sunny side of the street.
- Magic Bag
This last point is for people who feel cold even when indoors. You know those Magic Bags that babyboomers use for sore necks? They’re made in Canada (where else?), for Canada (where else?). Those things are not just for therapeutic applications, but also for warming up. That’s the real reason their one of Canada’s proudest accomplishments. Two minutes in the microwave and bam, you’ve got something that resembles a super warm cat.
But be careful: they are also one of the leading causes of fires in the home. Ends up it’s easy to put them in the microwave for 20 minutes by accident.