Winter Survival Tips

Monday, January 27, 2020


We're three weeks into the new year and winter is in full swing now...while it's been a surprisingly mild one overall with a handful of blue skies and warmer, breezy temps, there's also been the usual wet, freezing days that make me wish loungewear was acceptable work attire. 


I used to love this time of year, but the last few winters been strangely hard—three years ago, I was surrounded by laughing coworkers and a busy to-do list that kept me distracted on the cold days I had to venture out for work. Four years ago, I was a student, coming back to the warmth and safety of my dorm, coffee at the front desk, and daily “hello’s” and “how are you’s.”

Last year, though, January and the following months felt like an endless slogging through dull, bitterly cold days. It wore me down slowly and unceasingly. Every work day started with dread that I'd have to leave the apartment, venture out--and STAY out--in such depressing weather. All I wanted to do was stay home where I could combat the sadness and dreariness with small comforts and alone time. I found was hard to be social and interact with people at work when I felt so negative. It was so bad that in the lead-up to Christmas last month, I had actual anxiety about the inevitable gloom post-December.


I managed to get through Christmas season without too much trouble and took a few days off in January to rest and ease into the new year. I also started off the month with a chat about 2020 goals with a friend, which helped immensely, as did my annual burst of decluttering energy. Now that the glow of "it's a new year!" has subsided a bit, I find myself slipping back into the same dread. Kate’s post about seasonal affective disorder a few weeks ago resonated with me: “Winter became a lot more tolerable once I realized complaining about the weather wouldn’t change the weather.”



I love that mindset and completely agree. This winter has been an interesting experience so far, because I've learned in the last six weeks that cold weather is SO more bearable (I dare say, even slightly enjoyable) with these little changes: 



A GOOD coat

Preferably a puffer one with a hood and snug wrists. Looking back, a part of why last winter was so miserable, was because I didn't have a proper coat that actually kept me warm. All I had was an old, thin fabric one that was a) too small and b) did nothing to keep windchill out. 

Socks without holes

I am slowly working on becoming better about replacing things when they give out...case in point, buying myself new socks that are warm and don't have holes in them. 

Heating pad 

I know the Brits love their hot water bottles at their feet beneath the blankets, but I can't stop imagining it leaking all over the bed. Instead, I use a heating pad on a low heat and put it at the foot of the bed under the comforter. It has a self-timer that turns off after 15 minutes or so, so I never worry about anything catching fire. I'm always still awake when it turns off, since I use it just to unwind and warm up in bed. 

Keeping a spare pair of gloves in the car for freezing cold steering wheels
This was one of those inexpensive purchases that has paid for itself many, many times over. I even think it was a double pair of gloves from Target for a couple dollars. One pair stays in my closet, one pair for my car on mornings when I forget to bring gloves.

Planned podcasts episodes

One thing that has kept me going in particularly difficult mornings is to always have some podcast episodes downloaded. They make those bleary-eyed mornings when I don’t want to drive to work much more enjoyable. 

Keeping an oversized scarf or throw that doubles as a lap blanket at work

I think this is true for everyone whether you work from home or from an office, but some days you can't warm up, even if you're in layers. I have a thick poncho I keep folded on the back of my office chair that works perfectly. 
Daily coffee

This is where I've embraced my decision to ignore every old-fashioned financial expert and buy the damn latte every day, or at least most days. Coffee makes a difference in my mood and ability to get through the day! Build. It. Into. The. Budget. 


Putting an ice scraper in the car
I don't generally think of myself as a Southerner, but as time goes on, I realize how much winter knowledge that people up north/on the East Coast grow up with, which I seriously lack. Last winter, we had a slew of days that resulted in frozen icy windshields. My husband (who has lived up north before and couldn’t believe I didn’t own an ice scraper) spent each one of them helping me scrape off my windshield with his. The next week he bought me an ice scraper to keep in my car, which has saved me countless mornings. 

Multiple pairs of chapstick

I've always suffered with dry skin in winter; during college, without fail, my knuckles and lips would crack and bleed from daily exposure to the elements while walking to classes. My hands haven't been as bad the last few years, but my lips are always chapped. Somehow I didn't have anything for my lips anymore, and finally got not one, but two tubes of Burt's Bees Chapstick. I put one in my purse and one in the bathroom, so I had no excuse whether at home or work. It's so silly but it's made such. a. big. difference. I knew chapstick would help, but just put it off time after time. 

Slathering on any and all skincare every day 

At the very least, SPF, since we get a lot of sun and I leave the apartment almost everyday. Over the last two weeks, I've made a real effort to double down on moisture and cleansing my face since I fell out of daily habit during the holidays. This was always something I heard other people say, but I can actually see a glow. My skin feels smooth, clean, and hydrated. The results are so encouraging. My current winter skincare routine includes: washing my face every night with a gel or foaming cleanser, adding Vitamin C serum (a huge, huge gamechanger), and 1-2 evening moisturizers or a nighttime oil to lock everything in. 

Taking a water bottle or thermos everywhere

I take mine everywhere: work, in the car when I'm running errands, the nightstand in my bedroom, etc. It makes a huge difference in staying hydrated.

A good TV series to watch

This month I decided to give myself total free rein to watch--and binge--something enjoyable at nights. I got sucked into The Witcher (fully obsessed with the song "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher") and binged the whole season in one day. It was glorious. Henry Cavill makes it. There's only eight or so episodes, so it was the perfect amount of time to waste. I hadn't done that in ages and it felt good to get engrossed in a brand new story. I'm already excited for season 2 in 2021! Heads up, though, there's a good amount of nudity and graphic violence (think Game of Thrones). 

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!