Get ready for Winter in Linthcum!
By Suzzie Schuyler, LSIA President
Now that the wintery season has kicked in it is time to cuddle up to the fireplace sipping your favorite wintery drink and eat all your favorite comfy foods. This is the time to reflect on how great the holidays were and how they made you better. If you didn’t make a New Years resolution here’s a thought. Do something fun for yourself; take a class in something you’ve been wanting to do, start a new hobby, teach a younger relative something new, learn a new language. How about learning how to play an instrument? Your generosity over the holidays has been very rewarding and now it is time to do something great for yourself for the new year.
With the snow starting it is time to get out the shovels and snow blowers. Be careful shoveling as it is very taxing on your muscles and cardiovascular system. Help your senior neighbors any way you can; clear their sidewalk or ask them if they need anything at the grocery store when you head out before an impending storm. Make sure to bundle up in layers and take breaks, we want everyone to stay healthy and warm throughout this frosty season. Also, be mindful while travelling on the roads. Keep a safe distance between cars to reduce sliding if you need to stop quickly. Here are the top 10 tips to help cope with the winter weather:
1- Stay Warm
Heating yourself is more efficient than heating your entire home (especially if you live alone). Prepare your body for winter, seal off any unused rooms, and consider a space heater to save a little on heating costs. It's amazing what a good pair of socks or slippers will do.
2- Keep the Heat inside of your Home
Check the most common places heat is escaping, and insulate them if you can (even bubble wrap will work). Run your ceiling fans clockwise to keep the heat circulating downward, and eliminate drafts to keep everything nice and toasty.
3- Stay Healthy
Cold weather may not directly cause colds, but cold season is definitely in full swing. You don't have to hole yourself up to avoid getting sick, you just need to take a little extra care: get a good amount of sleep, wash your hands often, and stay active.
4- Take an Off-Season vacation.
The most obvious advice is if it's too cold where you live, go somewhere else. So why not take a little off-season vacation? Ski resorts may be popular in the winter, but if you go somewhere warmer—even if it's just a little warmer—you might be able to get a great deal in the off-season. Check out a travel site such as TripStarter to see where you'll find the best winter deals on a getaway. It doesn't have to be that long, either—even a 10-day reprieve will help you relax.
5- Prepare for a Snow Storm
Every year it seems like there's another "snowpocalypse" or "snowmageddon" that's going to bury us all until spring, but in reality, it's usually just a few big snows every year. Still, you should be ready for anything, whether it's something simple like a cancelled flight or something worse like losing power or getting snowed in entirely. Put together an emergency kit for your home and your car, and keep everything well charged. If you do lose power, you can still stay productive—you just have to prepare for it. Suggested kit: Record where your shut off valves are for water and gas, and the breaker for the main electric to your home. Rotate your semi-perishable foods and stock up on canned foods in case you cannot get out. Have an alternative heat source- blankets, fireplace, or a kerosene space heater (ALWAYS USED WITH PROPER VENTILATION!) Keep plastic sheeting and duct tape if a tree falls on the house or a window breaks. Have your devices charged and have car chargers for your devices. In areas with frequent power outages a home generator is a good investment.
6- Avoid dry eyes, skin, and static shock
Cold temperatures and snowy weather may seem like winter's biggest downers, but the dry air can also cause lots of annoyances. Your skin and eyes will probably be a lot drier in the winter months, so make sure you take extra care of them. Cover up your face and eyes, use a good moisturizer, and get a good humidifier if your house is feeling a little dry. It should also help with those static shocks, too.
7- Use your thermostat wisely
You may be tempted to crank up the thermostat in the winter, but this can be costly—and unnecessarily so! A programmable (or even smart) thermostat can help a lot, but you can also drop your thermostat gradually to help you get used to slightly colder temperatures.
8- Drive Safely in the snow
Snow may be pretty when it's falling, but as soon as you have to drive somewhere, it becomes your worst enemy. Make sure your car is prepared for winter so you avoid any technical issues, then brush up on your winter driving skills. Know which streets are plowed, brake before you turn, and keep a healthy amount of space between you and the car in front of you. You might want to stock your car with a few useful items too, like cooking spray for frozen doors, or kitty litter in case you get stuck (though floor mats may work in a pinch). Park facing the east if you can to defrost your windshield, too.
9- Beat the Winter Blues
Winter isn't exactly the happiest of seasons, whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or not. Focus on all the positive things about winter to get yourself psyched, and soak up as much natural sunlight as you can. Make sure you take extra special care if you work from home, too, which can make winter's depressing effects even worse.
10- Stay active, even in the Cold
Most of us tend to hole ourselves up in the winter, which means lots more couch potato-ing—especially if you're used to exercising outside. That means to stay fit and healthy, you should try twice as hard to stay active as you do during the summer. Luckily, you have a lot of options, from running to skiing or even biking. You can even keep exercising when you have a cold, though if your symptoms are below the neck, you should probably take a break.
Following these best practices will help us all to enjoy and stay safe through this winter and hopefully not much snow.
So let’s help each other this winter and be kind, you just might make your day!