I’ve been focusing on writing about ways to keep physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic, including staycation tips. Some people I know that are currently working have to use up vacation days before the year is done. Which means doing things at home, since non-essential travel is not advised. It’s already cold in Canada. If it is where you are too, and you find yourself in the same boat, don’t let the cold stop you from going outside and enjoying yourself. I don’t like the cold. Usually, I’d rather stay inside than go anywhere when it’s freezing. But, like almost everyone else, I’ve been staying home a lot this year. So, there’s no time like the present to try a winter staycation.
Staying warm if you doing activities like skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or hiking in winter is a challenge. But there are tricks to make you feel comfortable as you adventure in the snow. Here are some of my winter staycation tips to keep yourself warm.
A quick tip: Carry a backpack with you to bring the items listed below.
Anytime you get cold, the best way to warm up is to start moving or if you’re already moving, go faster. As you move, your body will start warming up, and your clothing helps trap the warmth. But pace yourself. Wet clothing will make you feel colder so minimizing how much you sweat when it’s cold is critical to keeping warm. Move at a speed that keeps you warm but doesn’t make you sweat too much.
When you need a break, make it short one to avoid cooling down. Sit on your backpack when you need to get off your feet. The ground and rocks will be frozen.
Just as you look for shade when taking a break on a hot day, in cold temperatures, try to face the sun. You want to find a place that’s sheltered from the wind. If you can’t find one, put your back to the wind.
Wear weather-appropriate clothes
Wear layers. You can remove some if you’re in the sun and start getting too hot. If you’re going somewhere or doing something that is high-speed, wear windproof clothing. If the wind isn’t a factor, fleece is a good option because it’s breathable. You can wear it on top of a fast-drying base like cotton, nylon or polyester.
If you find you’re getting cold or if you’re taking a break for more than a few minutes, put on an insulated jacket immediately to prevent from cooling down. Cooling down can happen rather quickly. Take it off right before you start moving again, so you don’t overheat.
Bring two hats
As I mentioned, you don’t want to get too hot. So bring two hats depending on the temperature and what you’re doing. You want a really warm one for when you’re resting, or doing something active like skiing or snowboarding, or are in freezing temperatures. You need a lighter one for when it’s less cold.
Gloves and socks
Fingers and toes get cold the fastest because they’re the farthest away from your heart. You can layer your gloves and socks too and add or remove layers easily depending on the temperature.
You can also keep them warm with hand and foot warmers that you can put inside your gloves and boots. Check amazon.com for brands and pricing.
Mittens are warmer than gloves because fingers get cold more easily when isolated. If you don’t need to use your fingers often or if you’re in extreme weather, wear mittens instead of gloves or wear them over light gloves.
Eat and drink more
In freezing temperatures, your body needs more energy to keep you warm, and you can become dehydrated fast.
Eat high-fat snacks like nuts or avocado, because fat is slow-burning. It can keep your body going for longer periods, which becomes even more important in the cold.
Carry liquids with you so that you can drink frequently. Bring a thermos with a hot drink and hydration bladders without the mouthpiece (that part can freeze) filled with water. Store them upside-down, so that when you want to drink from them, any ice that has formed will not be at the top.
Hopefully, some of the winter staycation tips will help keep you warm.
Check out some more of my staycation tips.
Header photo is of the Christmas Market in Toronto from 2019.