Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Wonderland

 A dear friend of mine recently moved from North Carolina to Iowa. Being a southern girl her whole life, she was understandably worried about the impending snow and ice winter she was told to expect. So I created the Notherner's Winter Survival Guide and sent it to her. And, since this is supposed to be another record-breaking winter for my friends in the south, I decided to post it here as well. Feel free to add in your winter tips in the comments section!

1. Fashion, Smashion - Warm clothes are not attractive. They are warm. And they make treading through snow and ice much more enjoyable. I have ugly winter boots and a large wool coat that hides all my curves, but I am warm so I don't really care. There are certainly a lot of cute winter clothes out there, but what materials are they made of? Chances are they won't keep the wind from cutting through to your skin. I would also invest in a pair of warm slippers. I find even socks aren't enough to keep my feet warm and I hate wearing them anyway.

2. Adjust Your Schedule - Plan to add 10-15 minutes to your commute. People drive slow in the winter, as they should, and it just takes longer. Or they drive like idiots and you have to contend with traffic jams. If you have the option of public transportation, TAKE IT. I hate driving in the winter and unfortunately I have to. I'd rather let someone else worry about braking on ice and avoiding ditches. Here, no one worries about being on time because you simply can't predict the roads, drivers, or weather.

3. Stock Your Pantry - Nothing is better in colder climates than soups and hot chocolate. D likes tea, so we have a lot of that too. It really does warm your soul after coming in out of the cold. If you're interested, here's my recipe for yummy, lo-cal hot chocolate: Boil water. Mix a tsp of stevia/splenda/artificial sweetener and a 1 1/2 tsp of cocoa powder. Add water and mix well.

4. Be Aware of Your Vitamin D Levels - I'm not sure about where you are, but a lot of people here suffer from seasonal depression. This is not because we’re sad; it's because we’re not getting the Vitamin D our bodies are used to getting as the sun shines differently in the winter. You may consider taking Vitamin D supplements (I can recommend a good one if you'd like). Or, if you're not concerned with cancer, go to a tanning bed. I do both (the tanning bed is a once/2 weeks thing to make me feel better). Another alternative is to begin eating more foods that have Vitamin D in them, such as fish and milk. However, I find I still need more in the winter months so I take supplements and tan occasionally.

5. Beware the Mid 30s - When the temperatures hover in the mid 30s, the roads are the most dangerous. This is because the snow is melting and refreezing as the temperatures fluctuate around 0 (36). Just be careful, drive slow, and leave lots of room between you and the person in front of you.

6. Take Time to Enjoy Outdoor Winter Activities - D and I sled, ice skate and ice fish. In fact, we're taking our engagement pictures on a frozen pond sometime in January. I also would like to begin snow shoeing or cross country skiing. These activities can be fun and a way to get out and enjoy the winter weather. And the more time you spend outside, the more you adjust to the cold temps. I find that if I am outside more, I am less cold in general. My body naturally adjusts to the temperatures.

7. Other Random Thoughts:

a. My nose always runs. Especially right now as the temps are diving and the air is getting more dry. It just does and I don't have a cold. It will lessen as I adjust to the cold temps, but just stock up on tissues with lotion.

b. Dry air = static hair. I use much more conditioner as well as a volume booster in the winter because my hair lays so flat in the dry air. In fact, I don't see my hair straightener between Nov and April.

c. Lotion up. Your skin will get dry and flaky; it helps to lather on the lotion in the colder months.