With the celebrations of the holidays behind us, we’ve entered the long gray of mid-winter. Even when there is no snow, the late sunrises/early sunsets can slow you down. Here are 10 tips to help keep you going.
1. Stay active
It’s easy to bury yourself on the couch during the winter, eating too much and watching TV. If you’re going to stay healthy, you need to make that effort to get outside and do something. Running, skiing, snowshoeing and biking are all options, but even something as easy as going for a walk every day will get your endorphins going.
2. Fight off the blues
Looking out my window, the gray gloom feels like it is late afternoon. It’s 10:30 in the morning. Winter can have that effect on you. Even if you don’t have seasonal affective disorder, the gloaming can be wearing. Try to focus on things you can enjoy about the winter: sitting by fires, reading books, snow sports, cocoa, etc.
3. Drive carefully
Everyone loves the tableau of snow falling outside, but once you get in the car, it becomes a nasty, slippery enemy of peace and calm. Know which streets are plowed, brake before you turn, and keep a healthy amount of space between you and the car in front of you. You might want to stock your car with a few useful items too, like cooking spray for frozen doors or kitty litter in case you get stuck.
4. Heat wisely
It’s tempting to match every degree drop outside by raising the thermostat one degree inside, but that’ll end up costing you a fortune. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you can drop your thermostat gradually to get used to colder temps and save heating money.
5. Calm the zaps
I moved back to New England three weeks ago, and it feels like I’ve been living inside a car battery ever since. Needless to say, we’ve invested in a couple of good humidifiers to slow down the static electricity. Winter’s dry air can be rough on you without getting zapped, too. We’ve also been dealing with dry eyes and skin, so eye lubricants and moisturizers have come into play.
Winter isn’t complete without some kind of event that gets the weather forecasters fired up. It’s just a storm – but make sure you take the necessary precautions. Prepare emergency kits for your home and car, including lights, batteries, water, nonperishable high-energy foods such as granola bars and a first-aid kit.
7. Go where there ain’t any snow
So you’ve been buried by snow and you just can’t take it anymore? Time to follow Jimmy Buffett down to the beach for a little off-season vacation. Off-season locations are cheaper, and still warm. It doesn’t need to be that much warmer – 60 degrees feels like heaven after two weeks of 20 below.
8. Stay healthy
Getting socked in by weather is one thing – being stuck at home and sick is something far worse. Make sure you get enough sleep, wash your hands often with antibacterial soap and stay active. Try to keep your stress levels down and drink lots of water.
9. Heat the inside, not the outside
The doors and windows might be closed, but heat can still escape your home in the wintertime. Make sure plumbing entrances, ducts, fireplaces and ceilings are insulated – you can even use bubble wrap if you can’t afford anything else. Also, run fans clockwise to keep rising heat down closer to the floor.
10. Heat you, not the house
If you live by yourself, it’s more efficient to heat you than the house or apartment around you. Embrace wearing a fleece jacket indoors – it’s both warming and cozy. It’s also not the best time to be going barefoot – splurge on some thick fuzzy socks.