It is inevitable, once the long summer evenings have passed and we have gasped at the beauty of fall colors the reality hits home, winter is on its way! Short days, dark nights and seemingly endless cold. It’s enough to make you want to run away and hide. However, with some simple tips you can, not only survive the winter but truly thrive. So, to ensure you are prepared for the worst the Canadian winter can throw at you here are the key life hacks to ensure you are prepared for the worst that winter can throw at you.
1. Start by wearing the right clothes.
Whether you are working in the city or hiking across the wilderness there are ways to dress correctly. Of course, the city dweller can worry less about outdoor survival, however, you will soon find the cold wind will cut through you as you dash from your car to the office. Lightweight layers are a great solution wherever you are, a selection of thinner layers will allow you to trap multiple layers of insulating air between them, it also means you can easily adjust just how warm you need to be. Fleece jackets and jumpers should be a staple of your wardrobe for simple casual wear. Light and quick drying they offer excellent warmth.
2. Especially, remember to stay dry.
No matter how many layers you are wearing, if you allow yourself to become saturated with rain or snow you will soon lose any thermal protection. Ensure you have a waterproof outer layer, preferably using a breathable technical fabric. Fabrics like Gore-Tex are highly water and windproof but still allow moisture to escape. A light waterproof will ensure you maximize your other layers and will prevent wind-chill which can cause the outside temperature to be considerably lower.
3. Keep upright.
We naturally put snow chains on our cars, but are you thinking about your own traction? Ice and snow can catch you out unless you have a good pair of boots or solid shoes. Make sure you have a good solid tread in case you hit an unexpected patch of ice. You can still be stylish if fashion is a concern, there are plenty of boots and shoes which have that winter chic, however, it is better to pack a pair of heels for the office than to end up in the emergency room following a fall!
4. Keep active.
With shorter days and long winter nights, it is all too easy to slip into your onesie and flop onto the sofa thinking that bears have it right by hibernating all winter! However, a combination of rich winter food and insufficient activity is a sure way to get unfit and leave yourself more likely to catch winter colds and flu. From skiing to skating or even walking in the snow take every opportunity to keep active and enjoy the great outdoors! It may seem more difficult to drag yourself out when it is dark outside but you will feel the benefits and be ready for some filling, guilt-free, winter treats!
5. Prevent the winter sniffles.
We know scientifically that cold weather doesn’t cause the common cold, however, the winter months are so often beset with a variety of minor ailments. There are some simple things you can do to prevent yourself becoming ill. Vitamin D is usually generated by exposure to sunshine, and as well as creating strong and healthy bones it has been found to help your T-cells an essential part of your immune system which fights viruses and bacteria. As there is less winter sun and what there is weaker you should look to take a supplement which includes vitamins C and D which will help you maintain your vitamin levels high and your health in good order.
6. Prepare your house for winter.
Before the wind blows and brings the bitter weather look to ensure your home is ready for the annual winter onslaught. It is easier to fix leaks and any exterior problems before the weather turns. Have a look at your roof to see if there are any obvious issues with the covering or gutters, go around your windows to see if there are any drafts or leaks which could have costly heat escaping. You can fill holes with caulk or expanding foam if they are large, windows can be sealed with duct tape to prevent cold air entering. It is also important to have your heating and hot water systems serviced. Some preventative maintenance can save you from costly breakdowns and cold nights shivering in the depth of winter.
7. Don’t forget your car.
When your house is winter ready, you should ensure your vehicle is ready as well. You can easily check levels yourself and ensure you have a good antifreeze to top up the radiator. Check your tire pressures as cold weather can reduce the pressure in your tires it is essential to ensure they are correct. Change your wiper blades and ensure you have a strong solution in your windshield washer bottle, you will need that on salty and icy roads. It is also important to check oil levels ensuring you have the correct oil for the season. If you are unsure find a friendly garage who can service your car and prevent midwinter breakdowns.
8. Have a survival pack ready.
It may seem over the top to have a survival pack in your house or car, however, if you get stuck in a storm or if there is a lengthy power failure at home you will be ready. Ensure you have a fully charged cell phone in your car, this may be a good use for an older phone. Even if it is not registered on the network, it will be possible to dial 911 in an emergency. A good flashlight is essential, if you need to change a tire you will be glad of light. Grab a cost-effective LED unit which will give you a powerful light when you need it. Blankets, water, and food can be useful just in case you get stuck in snow and have to stay in your car. A bottle of water and some energy bars are all you need to just keep your spirits up. At home, you can prepare with a simple pack containing some water and non-perishable food (canned soup or something similar) and something to heat it up. Think about a small camping stove to heat food and give some warmth. Flashlights and a battery-powered radio can allow you to know what is happening, ensure you have spare batteries. Remember to use flashlights instead of candles for peace of mind as there are over 800 candle fires each year in Canada, battery operated is the way to go!
9. Whoever you are, moisturize.
Okay this is maybe not as important as having an emergency survival pack in your car, however, it is something which will make your skin feel softer despite the wind, rain and cold and is good advice for anyone, boys and girls! The dry air in the winter is your enemy and can lead to dry, chapped skin, redness and other issues. Get into the habit of applying moisturizer on your face and hands before you go out into the cold. A pair of gloves will help when teamed with moisturizer to keep your hands looked and feeling great!
10. Just get away from it all.
Hate the bad weather? Well, somewhere on the planet it is warm and sunny, you just need to get yourself there! Winter is a great time for a cost-effective break, often vacation prices are lower and the relief of getting away from cold weather can make a break even better! Just make sure you pack for the great weather, however, ensure you have your warm winter coat for when you return. Of course, that is, if you do plan to return.