As a born and raised Winnipeger- aside from the year I lived in Dublin- I have spent well over two decades living in a place where it routinely has months of -30°C weather, much of that time even colder. It is difficult thing for a lot of people to understand; if you live in a moderate climate, temperatures like that just don’t occur. It honestly takes a lot out of you to deal with it, but we have devised coping strategies!
There is a reason that Winnipeg is not a fashion capital of the world in the world- you need to wear thick enough clothing so that you do not get frostbite. At -30°C or colder, you are looking at getting frostbite in 15 minutes or less from unprotected skin. Thin tights with nothing over top of them means your legs are bare. Most people have an extra layer of clothing that they wear to and from places- I personally wear a hoodie and sweatpants over whatever I am wearing to work. Do I look great going to and from my office? No, but I don’t freeze. You have to be willing to put your fashion pride aside!
2. Also wear appropriate footwear.
Sure, the rest of the world is over Uggs. Well, if I have to dig my car out of a snowed in road, it’s a hell of a lot easier to do that in Uggs than in riding boots. Note: HUNTERS ARE NOT MADE FOR THE SNOW. Rubber is not an insulated material, so once your feet are cold, they are staying cold. And Hunter boot socks don’t make that much of a difference for snow. It might do in a climate where it barely gets below 0°C, but anywhere actually cold, they are not recommended. Again, you will look cute but may potentially lose feeling in your feet depending on how long you are outside. This picture was taken when it was 3°C, and I would say my Uggs would have been the better choice had there not been puddles everywhere.
3. Drink copious amounts of water, and have lotion and moisturiser on hand.
Have you ever received one of the “gift with purchase” sets with travel sized moisturiser? Put that moisturiser in your purse, along with a small bottle of lotion! Your hands will dry out, your face will dry out, and your hair will be so static-y you will feel like a seventh grade science fair project. Make sure to use lotion every time you wash your hands, and every few hours anyways. I like Aveeno, it is moisturising with long-lasting grease. Life-hack: If your hair is really static-y, put a tiny bit of lotion on your hands and smooth your hair. I don’t recommend it all of the time, but it works when you need it to! Also, drinking as much water as you can just helps keep all of you moisturised- even hot water with lemon, to keep you warm.
4. Always have spares!
If you live somewhere with a lot of snow, you may end up getting stuck somewhere for a night. Make sure you have a spare set of work-appropriate clothing in your car, or even at your office. Make sure you have an extra warm sweater or hoodie in your car, and socks- if you need them, you will be more than thankful. I also like to make sure I have a bottle of water, a box of kleenex, and a fleece blanket in the car. If you happen to live anywhere that is truly cold (and you will know from my next statement), make sure you always have an extension cord to plug in your car!
5. Stay positive and see the bright side! (Pun intended)
Places like Winnipeg that are terrifically cold are also usually quite bright! Don’t ask me about the science of it, but we are actually closer to the sun during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter. This means that when it is -45°C, it is most likely incredibly bright out! Yes, there is a point where you just shouldn’t be outside because frostbite can occur within 2-5 minutes. But if it is a regular “cold”, get out and enjoy it! Throw on some warm clothes, build that snowman that won’t melt, go skating on a river, and if you are really adventurous, build a quinzhee!
Seasonal affective disorder can be a problem here, given that most of your skin is covered and cannot take in vitamin D. (Talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements if you are interested!) It won’t reverse it, but approaching the cold weather in the right way can make a difference at least!
Do you have any cold weather tips??