- Family and Parenting
Surviving winter in the northeast
When the cold comes
If you live in the northeast you are well aware of the dark purple days in August when the evening air begins to get just a little cooler and the shadows start to creep up on you. Winter in the northeast, depending on where you are located can begin as early as October or November, Maine might even claim they only have two days of summer!
During those summer months, if it is actually months or a few weeks most of us soak in the sun and enjoy some outdoor cooking. There are games to play and splashes to make. Soon, though it is time to remove the swim suit and begin to think of pulling out the hoodies, long sleeved shirts and pants. Football season begins and that can be a clue to most that summer is over officially and fall has started. In Albany, NY fall can seem like winter though and can come up on you quick.
When living in areas that can have winters which begin in October and last through May it is vital that you find a way to stay healthy, active and social during those months. All of those things seem easy enough but in the midst of a hard winter, getting our can become difficult and those cold and flu seasons can last and last while just moving through the house from person to person.
One of the first things to do in order to be prepared for winter is to have as much fun as possible in the summer! This includes making as many plans for grilling, throwing a ball, going for a swim or just hanging out. Creating memories and getting yourself as tired as possible will help those more dreary months. It is as though you are trying to tire out a child for bed time, except this is for your winter.
Sometimes I find that I begin planning winter activities around those summer activities. For instance, during the summer if you take hundreds and hundreds of photos then during the winter those photos can be edited, printed and put all throughout the home. So many have forgotten how to create photo albums that we hold in our hands and can look through. Working on this project takes care of the photos you took but also allows you to stroll down memory lane and remember the sights, sounds and smells of summer.
Going through those photos might also help with another project for winter. Sometimes those photos will let you see and remember to call someone and having a dinner date, this time inside the home or at a favorite eatery. The photos can also remind you of chores that need to be done before the next summer. Clothes need to be retired to the rag pile, grills need to be covered and or maybe replaced. The kids might need a bigger pool or the registration for the block party needs to be turned in before it gets too late.
Here are is a simple task that will not take up the whole winter but can add some joy to those darker months as well as add to the preparation for the summer time fun. Going through photos also allows you to clean out your phones and cameras for the next photo shoot.
Living in the northeast means hard winters. Hard winters means you need to have all the necessary gear to help keep you warm when you head outdoors. There are differences between fall and winter coats. A fall coat which might keep you warm year round down south or in California will not work in the northeast. A winter coat is what is needed to the hard winters the northeast has.
In order to enjoy some outside time during the winter you must have the gear to do it. Venturing out into the bitter cold will only bring misery if you do not have the ability to stay warm.
First, gather as many clothes as possible. Layering is vital to surviving your time out in the cold. Short sleeves over a thermal and a sweater or heavy shirt on top of that will do when you want to spend some time out in the freezing temps or snow.
Gloves are important. Get both knit and snow gloves which will help you keep dry. If you have children, at some point you will be out with them making a snowman. Once your hands are wet the game is over, your fingers and hand turn red and you risk frost bite.
A coat which is water, snow repellent is a must. Those coats usually help keep the wind out and are also good when the snow is wet and will soak through anything that does not repel it.
Keeping your body heat is important to the winter. Always keep hats around. Good thick hats that will keep the heat from your head and keep you from loosing your body's heat. We always have a few in the car, the house or office. You never know when the sun will just disappear in the winter days and leave you cold. Having a hat at the ready keeps you prepared for such things.
One piece of nice clothing we really enjoy in my family is the old union suit. They are warm and toasty. An investment work it over and over. The kids and I wear them throughout the year once we get home from school or work. When you leave in the northeast the chances you leave in a drafty old home is high. You may also live with oil as your heating source which is costly. The bitter cold months can leave the house cold. Keep those lounging around the house clothes warm and comfy. My kids favorite thing to get are the janimals. They run large so they fit more than one season, which is more than I can say for pajamas bought in the store. You can also layer with janimals if you want. They are also great for New Years Eve fireworks late night. The kids can be all ready for bed while they watch the new year being brought in. Changing when they return home is optional.
Staying physically active
Whether it is you or the kids being physically active is important to surviving the winter months. Sometimes you will have to pay to get out of the house. Memberships to gyms which allow you not to sign a yearly contract are excellent. They are cost effective, because who needs them when it is warm and sunny outside? They are also a wonderful way to include social interaction with people which is usually much easier to do while grilling or sitting by the pool.
If you can go to a mall and walk around it that is a great free way. I say free with some unease because there are those who might have a difficult time being in a shopping center and walk out with nothing new.
When kids are involved there are a few indoor play spaces. These usually consist of soft play structures where they kids can run, jump and climb and burn off some energy. These indoor play areas can range in price. Some are very reasonable and charge five dollars for an entire day of indoor time. Others a little more expensive but are worth it from time to time to keep those heart rates moving.