January 28, 2014
I grew up in a very snowy and cold place, so these Polar Vortexes don’t completely overwhelm me, although they’re pretty doggone dreadful…
My parents were particularly adept at handling the cold, and so I have a few ideas and insights that might be useful.
- Cover your head – at least your ears. It seems really obvious, but lots of people manage to skip this part. If your hair absolutely won’t sustain a hat, at least put on some earmuffs – those bare ears sticking out of the side of your head are a freeze magnet.
- And you should avoid wearing big earrings, necklaces next to your skin, or anything metallic that touches you directly. Metal gets cold, and cold metal against your flesh is really bad…
- Don’t forget to wear sunscreen or something gooey and emollient on your skin. The air is super-dry when it’s this cold, and your skin is not going to be happy. AND… gooey stuff will help hold in some of your heat.
- Do NOT go out with wet, or even damp hair. I once saw someone’s hair BREAK… Her very long hair was hanging down the outside of her coat, and a six-inch long chunk of it as big around as a broom handle SNAPPED OFF… She absolutely had to have a new hairstyle the next day. It was astonishing…
- In a similar vein, consider keeping your nails as the very shortest possible length with which you’re comfortable. Nails get really brittle in cold weather, and when you combine that with the fumble-fingered joys of cold hands, snapping off a couple of your nails INSIDE of your gloves is a definite possibility. And a really painful headache…
- Many thin layers are as good or better than one heavy layer. This is particularly handy if you live somewhere that doesn’t merit stockpiling cashmere.
- And on that note, 2 pair of thin socks will be better than one pair of heavy ones. And don’t cram your feet into tight boots with too many socks; constructing your circulation won’t help you stay warm.
- Leather soled shoes aren’t the best, unless they’re multiple layers like men’s welt-bottomed shoes. Thin soles on cold pavement = frostbitten toes.
- You’ve probably got to cover your face when you go out – might I suggest that you tie a cotton handkerchief around your face BEFORE you put on your regular winter scarf. It’s softer, and washable, and more absorbent. You know your eyes are going to water, and your nose is going to run. Might as well have your hanky right there… (why don’t we just quit pretending that only men need handkerchiefs?)
- Cold helps you lose weight. Really. Seriously. University of Maastricht researchers published results in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. They theorize that the increase in obesity could result in part of the overall warming of ambient temperatures in our homes and workplaces. Turning down the thermostat certainly saves money, will help the environment, and if it helps weight control, I’m on it!