It's been getting miiiighty chilly around here lately. I won't use cold yet, because I know better than to pull that word out while it's still consistently 30 degrees or warmer. It's not really cold, but very chilly? You bet.
In past winters, I've let winter take me by surprise. I generally spend a few weeks wearing skirts over just my bear, naked legs and neglecting to start the car a few minutes early to warm it up and promote global warming before I wise up and start fighting winter back. Not this year! Last year's especially wintery winter has instilled an intense fear of being cold in me, and I'm determined to spend almost all, if not the entire winter in relative warmth. Spending 5 months feeling like this will do that to you.
I live in Southern Michigan, so we definitely don't see the worst of it. It probably gets colder and more snowy in the North Pole and Alaska and maybe some parts of Siberia, so if anybody from there writes a blog post about how to stay warm, they're probably righter than me. However, as someone who has spent a lot of life trying to be warm, I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of it, and I'd love to save you from a fate of sixteen cold years by just giving you the answers now. Ladies and gentlemen, my expert guide on how to stay warm when it's -7 with relentless wind and snow, or any other version of cold.
| Buy a space heater. Make it your best friend. My mom bought a space heater for her office last year, and I've gotten in the habit of keeping it about three feet from wherever I am at all times, plugged in and set to the highest setting. Sometimes it smells like it's burning something, but then I remember that burning = heat and stop complaining. (We bought ours from Costco - it's this one and I'm convinced that it's saved my life more than once!)
| Drink hot water all day long. Credit for this one goes to my mom, as well. During winters when I was younger, she'd always drink a cup of hot water after dinner while the rest of us ate heaping bowls of ice cream. We thought she was crazy, but I've since decided that she was definitely on to something. Now, whenever I drink water, I heat it in the microwave for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes, and it is so much better. You can feel it warming you from the inside out, and it's the best. Bonus: drink your heart water in a cute mug like one of these.
| Learn how to best utilize your blanket. And by that, I mean wrap yourself up like a burrito or baby Jesus. No more half-hearted draping of blankets across your lap. You deserve better. Stand up, throw that thing over your shoulders, and wrap it around your whole entire body, feet included. If your blanket isn't big enough, I highly recommend you buying a blanket that's man enough for the job. (I'm so in love with sweater blankets lately - one of these should do the trick!) Step two is to stay wrapped in the blanket as long as possible to generate body heat and keep it trapped inside. This can double as reading time, Netflix time, or nap time, which is great because it won't interfere with your busy schedule.
| Wear (ridiculously thick) socks. Feet + cold floors, especially ones without carpet on them, is a recipe for disaster. You lose most of your heat through your feet and head, so you can take care of one problem area by getting some socks on you! I personally really like long socks for this; the longer they are, the warmer I feel. My mom swears by these - she wears them all the time, including when she goes running in the dead of winter and before the sun has even thought about getting up. Even better? Wear socks and slippers, or socks and boots. I wear my boots in the house. It's totally okay, because my feet are never cold.
| Stop showering, or never stop showering. Okay, it's probably best not to completely cut showers out of your routine. All I know is that showers leave my hair wet for 3+ hours, which makes me a lot colder. If you can avoid showering (which, in colder, drier months, you can probably do more than usual), do it. Either that or get in the shower and never, ever get out. I think that I'm probably the happiest I ever am all winter long when I'm in the shower because it is just so dang warm in there. For maximum results, you're going to either have to be really unhygienic or drown and blow up your water bill . . . is this starting to sound like a cult?
| Exercise. It gets that blood flowing, and flowing blood is hot blood. I usually do something active for about an hour a day, so there's an hour of warmth right there, but doing a couple push ups or squats when you start to feel your extremities freezing can save the day. Just make sure you don't sweat too much in order to avoid the necessity of a never-ending shower.
| Get a pet and make it cuddle with you all. the. time. So, no, a fish or lizard or snake probably isn't the best option. In this case, bigger is better, or you can substitute size with quantity. (For example ten puppies can probably keep you about as warm as one very large dog.) Once you have your warm-blooded pet of choice, you're going to have to make it love you or purchase some form of bribery. I generally opt to grab my dog or cat and hug them until they stop resisting, but if you're lucky, your pet might actually want to keep you company.
I hope you're feeling warmer already! With these easy steps, we can defy nature and beat winter coldness together. That's the goal, anyway, and as I sit here in my knee socks, drinking hot water and wrapped in a blanket, I think things are going pretty well. If only my hair wasn't wet . . .
P.S. Do you live somewhere cold? If so, what do you do to stay warm? Or do you just -shudder- embrace the way-too-low temperatures?