How to Stay Warm This Season
Shaking in My Boots
If you're anything like me, once the weather hits 65°F or lower it's cold. That's what I get for being spoiled with normally fantastic weather! Even though growing up I spent a lot of time in the snow, having to actually live in cold weather is not the same thing as visiting the cold weather, since you know you'll eventually leave. Since San Diego has had abnormally low temperatures this winter, I had to figure out how I was going to keep me, my kids and my SO from freezing for four months.
We live in a fairly old duplex with original hardwood flooring...and practically NO insulation. This means we freeze in the winter and melt in the summer! We also live further inland (and above sea level), so we don't have a nice sea breeze in the summer to keep us cool. Our winter nights tend to get down into the 30s, sometimes even lower! The past two months I've gone to take our dogs out in the mornings to find ice has formed on our storage bins and sidewalks. Talk about chilly!
Since cold weather is such a rarity here so close to the equator, it can be hard for people to really know what to do when it gets so cold you wake up in the morning and literally feel like a dragon when your breath fogs. With my limited experience living in the cold, I have been able to keep our home running functionally, and our toes safe and dry!
There's a lot of common sense when it comes to staying warm, but in case you've been living on another planet (or simply forgot), here are the basics for staying warm:
This one is pretty obvious. If you go out in the rain and get completely soaked, you're going to get cold. The same goes for sweating from over-exertion and then taking a break. Since sweat is designed to cool your body off in order to prevent your core temperature from getting too high, sweating in the winter is probably one of the things you're doing without realizing that's causing you to shiver and shake when you're standing in line at your favorite café or waiting for the trolley. So, how does one stay dry?
First off, try not to over-exert yourself. If you're hiking, walking somewhere or doing any sort of physical activity, make sure to take a break if you notice you're starting to pant too heavily. Taking short, frequent breaks will not only help your stamina, it will also keep you from sweating through your clothing and cooling you off.
Make sure you dress for the activity. If you're not planning on moving around too much, it's totally acceptable to wear several layers to keep yourself warm. However, if you're going for a jog with your doggo in the morning, you only really need 1-2 layers, max. If you know it's going to rain, wear a weather proof coat, bring an umbrella, and wear some tall boots (ladies) to keep water from splashing into your shoes (you'll thank yourself for this later!).
Just because you're wearing five layers of clothing, that doesn't mean you'll be warm. This is a mistake people make often, so here's a simple guide to show you how to properly layer:
1. Start with the base layer. This should be a thin, breathable, synthetic fabric that is designed to wick moisture away from the skin. It should also be somewhat form fitting in order for it to work properly.
2. Your second layer is also your insulating layer. For this layer, you want to stick with wool or fleece material since they do not absorb moisture as well as cotton would. This ability will save your clothing from getting soaked if you get stuck in the rain or end up sweating. If you want to avoid sweating, make sure this layer has buttons or zippers so you can adjust accordingly.
3. Your outer layer. This can be another insulating layer, or if you're in rainy or windy conditions, your protective layer. Usually, you want to stick with a weather-proof material that will keep everything underneath it dry and trap heat to keep you nice and toasty!
*Pro tip: stay away from cotton!! Cotton is an excellent material for the summer, but in the winter, it's the bane of your existence. Cotton absorbs moisture, and when you have moisture on your skin, it immediately cools you down.
*Pro tip: if you work in an office, like me, wearing fleece tights or leggings can be a girl's best friend! You can wear them with skirts, dresses, or even under your pants and jeans since they're less bulky than thermal underwear. As a bonus, they come in lots of pretty colors and patterns, and can even help shape your waist!
Even if you're not feeling parched, it's important to make sure you're staying hydrated in the winter. Water can be an excellent conductor of heat, so making sure your body has enough water in its system will help to ensure it's running smoothly! If you have trouble staying on top of water consumption, you can buy a cute bottle with little reminders, like this one here.
Some More Tips
Okay, now that we've got the basics figured out, here's some more fun, useful tips to help you stay warm this winter:
Baking is Your New Best Friend
Yep. Baking. Something as simple as turning on the oven and creating delicious treats can help you stay warm! Your oven is like a giant furnace in your home, and is typically less expensive. Plus, all the physical demands of baking will help get your blood flowing, especially if you're mixing by hand or making something that's more ~demanding~ (like sourdough bread), not to mention, focusing on a complicated recipe will get your mind off how chilly it is outside! Just be sure not to leave your oven on unsupervised, and if you have kiddos, make sure they know not to touch the oven while it's warm (especially if they like to help!).
Section Off Your House
Heating our 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom house doesn't sound like much, but since all we've really got to conduct heat is our oven and a small space heater, it's important to find efficient ways to heat up our home. Heating up one room at a time, like the one you're currently sitting in, is easier and cheaper than heating up the entirety of your house. Here's an example of what I mean:
If we're watching a movie in the living room, we typically take the space heater and point it towards us on the couch, being careful it's not too close to anything and doesn't get in the kids' way if they happen to get up at any time while making sure the bedroom door is closed. When we go to bed, we take the space heater with us and close the bedroom door to help heat the room up quicker.
Lots of Blanket Forts!
You read that right. Getting ~under the covers~ (but not in a weird way) with your fam is a great way to stay warm. The blanket traps heat and it's a fun project for your kids! Also, cuddles!!
Well, there you have it. Those are some of my favorite tips and tricks for staying warm! Let me know what you like to do to stay warm in this unusual weather!