Are you one of those radiator-hugging people that simply cannot stand the cold? Does the idea of being outside in cold weather make you anxious and crabby? Are you the type to complain about the weather even after wearing a scarf so long and fluffy that it wraps around your neck several times, burying your chin?
If that sounds like you, then we may have more in common than you can imagine. When my husband and I first debated the idea of moving to a colder state, I was completely awed by the concept of living in negative degree weather. We questioned whether making the move was sane because of how on God’s green earth can anyone live in such low temperatures?
But we made the move anyway, having both found great jobs that promised to improve our living standards. Having experienced 3 winters now, I can honestly say that although it took some adjusting, it is honestly not as bad as I assumed it would be.
If you are used to living in warm weather, I’m not going to lie to you. It feels strange to look out of the window and all you’re met with is dull, overcast rainy weather when all you are used to seeing predominantly is beautiful clear skies. It can also be very hard to prepare for what is ahead; what do you wear, how do you stay warm let alone summon up the energy to get through the drastic change?
The greatest challenge when it comes to transitioning from a hot weather city to a cold one is the state of mind. To a greater or lesser extent, we are all impacted by sudden weather changes. The secret to dealing with these changes is to take it one day at a time. For instance, sometimes you know as soon as you leave your house that everything is going to be soaked at some point, so you resign yourself to that fact.
During these instances, just keep in mind that you will be back in the warm in a couple of hours. The best thing you can do for yourself (and your sanity) is to take it hour by hour- don’t think about the next week or month because the more you get used to it, the better it will get. If you have just moved to a cold weather city, here are some more things you should know to get by:
Invest in clothes that are designed for winter
Before you move, you will want to invest a significant amount on winter gear. Moving to a colder climate means that you will be trading in your cute bomber jackets for gigantic parkas and your funny gag socks for warm thermal socks. When you are forced to deal with the bitter cold, staying warm trumps keeping up with the latest fashion trends.
You want to invest in plenty of waterproof coats (some knee length) that come with warm hoods and plenty of pockets. Parkas are great, but they can get really pricey. You should also make sure to stock up on plenty of wool sweaters, thick gloves, snug hats and scarves, and boots; lots and lots of boots.
Always dress in layers
Though it will seem nearly unattainable at first, it is entirely possible to stay warm while enjoying the cold weather. You just have to follow a few simple rules, one of them being that you need to dress in layers.
Layering in cold weather is essential as it keeps air trapped between each layer that is holding your body heat, acting kind of like your personal hot tub. Dressing in layers also gives you greater control over your body heat, making it easy to regulate so that you can avoid sweating.
Alcohol does not warm you up
You may have heard claims that drinking alcohol can help to keep you warm during the cold winter months, but it doesn’t (sorry Russia!). The truth is that alcohol actually makes you colder and not warmer as the urban myths suggest. This is because alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it causes the blood vessels to dilate; which is why you get that warm and fuzzy feeling with those first few sips.
However, when your blood vessels are dilated, it becomes harder for your body to constrict them, which reduces the amount of warm blood flowing near your skin to keep you warm. Alcohol also impairs the body’s ability to shiver, which is the body’s way of keeping warm.
Lastly, alcohol also makes you sweat, which is the last thing you want if you are already cold as it brings your body temp even lower. As such, if you want to stay warm, ensure that you stay away from the booze.
Hypothermia and frostbite are a real possibility
Hypothermia and frostbite don’t just occur in the mountains- they are a real possibility in any cold weather too. You want to do everything in your power to bundle up and stay out of the cold, especially during those first few crucial months of moving.
With both frostbite and hypothermia, the best-known defence is proper dressing as well as reduced exposure to the cold. Frostbite especially is a major concern; it can catch you unawares as it only needs under a minute to occur in extreme temperatures.
To prevent both from happening, ensure that you protect your body heat with everything that you have; trap it and treat it like the invaluable resource it is. Wind and exposure to the cold are your enemies as exposed skin actually speeds up heat loss.
While living in cold weather can be draining, the cold days are balanced out by the promise of long warm days, which are bound to come around once more. Nothing quite prepares you for the first time your lashes freeze together of the first time you dig your car out of a mountain of snow except maybe actually living in such conditions.
You may be stuck in cold weather, surrounded by freezing cold metal pipes and scaffolding boards that are 5 inches thick with snow, but you must always remember that the sun will come out tomorrow. It may seem miserable for a while, but you will soon adapt. Until then, these tips will make your first few months just a little bit more tolerable.