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6 Tips to Help You Survive 2015 “Polar Vortex”

Updated on January 4, 2015

For those of you who experienced “Polar Vortex” in early January last year, you know exactly that bone-chilling feeling deep down inside by merely mentioning these two words, even though its geographic meaning is hardly understood. Unfortunately, it’s going to return this year, as early as the first full week of January, to the majority of Midwest regions, according to scientific predictions from weather experts in the U.S.

The silver lining part of the news is that we had the experience and we know what’s coming ahead. The only thing left is how to get fully prepared this year in order to stay healthy and keep away from life-threatening situations such as hypothermia. Here are a few tips that could help you and your family survive “Polar Vortex 2015.”

Tip 1. Work from Home (WFH)

As long as your work condition permitted, do your best to stay at home and ask your manager’s permission to work distantly if there is routine task or scheduled work to be done on a daily basis. Cloud-based technologies along with strengthened internet security have facilitated today’s business environment, and many companies now become more flexible in terms of allowing employees to use VPN-authorized laptops and work remotely at home.

For those of you who are not lucky enough to work for a company that offers paid vacations or that supports WFH, please still consider taking a few days off for the sake of your health and safety. If you or any of your family members catch a cold, which is not a difficult thing under such extreme weather, the incurred medical bills due to frequent doctor’s office visits might not worth the wages you earn during the period; and if you have to drive, you’re putting yourself in risk by pushing yourself on to the slippery and dangerous road, not mentioning what other loss it may result in thereafter. Hence, for the sake of your family and yourself, please consider it twice if you really have to leave home for work, especially during the first two full weeks this month.

Tip 2. Eat Warm Breakfast Before You Leave Home

Suppose that you have read my first tip carefully and you still decide to work outside, please do remember to eat your breakfast (if you work in the morning) or have your meals (if you work in the afternoon or night) before you leave home. This is very important especially for people who work in the morning as most people tend to skip breakfast in these days or eat it at car or have it at workspace. Having a hot breakfast, be it hot cereals, or hot milk, or warm orange juice, or hot coffee with toast… and you will feel the clear difference when you have warm breakfast before leaving home.

Tip 3. Work-out and Hot Bath Before You Leave Home

Some of you may not like this one, because either you don’t have enough time or you are not used to exercise before work. But you don’t have to stick to it, just do it for a few days or weeks while the “Polar Vortex” is here. And most importantly, you don’t have to go gym to do this, and you don’t have to do it hour-long. 20-30 minutes every day will be sufficient to help you survive the extreme weather but also do good to your health.

Here’s what types of exercise that you could do just inside your apartment or your house: first, you could do 5-10 minutes jogging from wall to wall if you live in small apartment, or from room to room if you live in a house. Next, try 5-10 minutes stair-climbing. If you live in an apartment, start from the first floor and use the stairs to reach your own floor. (If you reside in 20th floor of a high-rise, then climb as many steps as you can; don’t use the elevator until you’re tired) If you live in a house with two floors, then you can just go upstairs and downstairs a couple of times until you’re tired enough to climb anymore. This type of cardio exercise will not only warm you up but also burn calories, strengthen muscle groups and do much good to your overall heart health.

You could also try some frog-hops exercise, sit-up exercise, or push-up exercise right inside your room, if you don’t prefer to show your work-out to others such as your roommates.

Tip 4. Take Uber instead of Driving Yourself

Driving under extreme winter weather is the least thing most people like to do: you have to wipe all the snows off the car, you have to warm it up before you get frozen, you have to be blown into a snowman before you fill up the gas can, you have to clean the car more often, you have to be alarming all the time while driving, and what if there is an accident in the highway ahead, then you have to wait hours and hours … oh there’s so much to worry about.

So why not just opening the Uber app in your smartphone, within one tap, an Uber car will be waiting for you in front of your door (or wherever you are) in a few minutes. You get in and get off easily without worrying about payment process. Arriving your workspace without looking for parking space, and returning home safely without the need to remember to refill your gas or change your snow tire.

If there is an award for most transformative technology innovation in the transportation industry in the decade, I would vote Uber.

This is a poll about Uber:

Do you like Uber or taxi?

See results

Tip 5. Use Heated Gloves or Scarf On-the-Go

Thanks to the continuous human innovations in technology, we now not only have heated blanket, but can also shop easily on for those convenient and lovely heated gloves and heated scarf. Even the thickest gloves and scarf won’t be too protective under such conditions called “Polar Vortex;” however, if you have heated gloves and heated scarf or even heated boot which will automatically heat themselves up in a few seconds as long as you have the batteries on and the switch on, then you will find yourself glide freely whatever the temperature tells you as if you’re carrying a mini-heater with you. It is hot enough to help you stay warm but also protective enough to take care of you and keep you away from burns. You may also find similar products in local pharmacies such as Walgreen’s and CVS. If you really have to stay outside in the attack of “Polar Vortex,” a pair of heated gloves on hand will surely do you much help.

Tip 6. Wear Light-Weighted Down Jacket

For the few who work in large corporations, they will feel comfortably sitting in well-conditioned offices once they arrive the work space; however, not many of us are that lucky, especially if you are working for smaller-scale company where the heating system occasionally does not work very well, you might find yourself chilled from head to toe if you just wear shirt and sweater sitting in front of your desktop.

Under such conditions, do get a light-weighted down jacket. Despite its regularly expensive price, you will find it worth the pay because the down feather is notably fine thermal insulator while the light-weight padding helps you make flexible movements freely. In the meanwhile, keep in mind that drink hot water or beverages more often in winter, especially in the office where fresh and humid air may not be sufficient.

Tip 7. Escape to Warmer States

Certainly, if your condition allows, the best way to avoid the extreme cold is traveling to warmer states such as California, Texas and Florida, or maybe a nice idea to take two-week vacation with your family in Hawaii. But not many of us are that lucky, rich and free enough, so stay warm and hopefully these tips would be helpful.


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