Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Survival Guide

Even with snow on the ground and frosty temps, I prefer this time of year to summer. When it is 30 celcius and 100% humidity there is little you can do to make the climate feel more pleasant in my opinion. In contrast, there are lots of things you can do to make the winter months more bearable.

Warm up from the inside out
Don't underestimate what a big difference your food and drink choices can make. Try eating "season" appropriate foods (i.e. all things warm and hot!!) and you will instantly feel better.

If you usually have cold cereal for breakfast, try switching to hot cereal. If you don't like oatmeal/cream of wheat, etc. try quinoa or brown rice cooked with almond milk, cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit or even take your cold cereal with milk and heat it up in the microwave for a few minutes.

If you usually have a salad for lunch, take those veggies and turn them into a steaming bowl of vegetable soup. You will still have a nutritious meal, but one that will be warm and comforting, which is what you need on cold winter days.

If your afternoon snack is an apple or pear, try cutting it up and baking in the oven or microwave with a little cinnamon. Or swap your carrot sticks for root veggie fries: cut carrots, parsnips, turnips and/or celeriac into thin strips, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes or until tender.

Trade your coffee for tea. Water for making tea is boiled so tea is served at a hotter temp than coffee and is more soul-warming. Nowadays there are a zillion types from plain or flavoured black teas, to white teas to green tea varieties. And there must be a trillion herbal teas available these days. For a treat, there is also hot chocolate or scalded milk with a touch of honey and cinnamon.

Stay Moist
Adam and I both get dry, cracked skin in the winter, particularly on our finger tips. I've tried expensive creams, oils, lotions and potions and honestly, good 'ol Vasaline works best to soothe dry, chapped or cracked skin. I keep a tube in my purse at all times.

Dress Appropriately
This may seem obvious, but too often we get caught up in trying to be fashionable at the expense of being sensible. Winter is a lot more tolerable if you wear the right things and these days you can be both warm and stylish. I just got the cutest black faux fur hat and mittens at H&M! Be especially careful to cover your feet, hands and head properly and the cold won't seem quite as nasty.

Early to Bed Early to Rise
In northern climates there is limited sunshine this time of year which can negatively affect your mood. Try waking up early and getting outside first thing when the sun is most likely to be visible and/or get outside for a walk on your lunch hour when the sun is shining since it is often dark as night by the time the workday is over and you are heading home.

Keep Moving
If you don't like exercising outdoors, stay active through the winter by taking it indoors. Not a gym-lover? No problem, try working out at home with fitness DVDs or try something new like indoor rock climbing, martial arts or ballroom dancing.

Smile everybody, just about 4 more months of winter until spring. Ha Ha!

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