Head, Hands, and Footwear

The body’s extremities, such as the head, hands and feet, dissipate heat faster than other parts of the body, so leaving them exposed would still give you the winter chills despite your thick layers of clothing.an advantage, especially if it is attached to a jacket, as it will completely cover the head and neck areas. If your hood is of the detachable kind, make sure that you throw on a scarf or a jacket with huge neck flaps.

Protecting one’s head from the cold shouldn’t be too difficult as there are different kinds of headgear such as knitted caps and berets. There are virtually limitless designs and styles available to match anyone’s wardrobe. Wool beanies are popular because they fit snugly on one’s head and are extremely water repellant. If you are highly sensitive to certain materials, getting a winter hat made of velvet, felt, or cashmere would be a better choice as wool can cause allergic reactions. A hood would also be an advantage, especially if it is attached to a jacket, as it will completely cover the head and neck areas. If your hood is of the detachable kind, make sure that you throw on a scarf or a jacket with huge neck flaps.

In extremely cold weather that includes strong, howling winds and blowing snow, it is advisable to wear a ski mask or balaclava to protect your face from chapping. Using hefty doses of lip salve or lip balm would also save you from the painful experience of having dried, cracked lips.

When your hands get cold and numb, your dexterity decreases and you will find it hard to manipulate things properly, affecting your productivity. There are different kinds of mittens and gloves, and you should choose a pair depending on how warm they keep your hands and how well you can move hands while wearing them. A lot of people prefer mittens to gloves because they are warmer, but if you have a lot of things to do and a pair of woolly mittens makes it difficult for you to handle stuff, gloves will provide you with more dexterity. PrimaLoft and Thinsulate are popular choices because of their sticky surface, which allows normal movement and grasp without exposing your hands to the cold.

A sturdy pair of boots is an absolute necessity as your normal pair of sneakers will definitely not keep out the damp cold when you trudge along snowy paths to your next class. Aside from being insulated to keep your feet warm, your boots should also have strong soles that will give you firm footing on packed snow. Invest in a good pair of boots; the last thing you need is to slip on ice and break your back because your boots aren’t sufficiently well made.

 

Eliminating Static Electricity

Winter veterans are familiar with the jolting shocks that come from close contact to metal during dry winter days. This is caused by static electricity, which builds up in the body and causes sparks to jump to pieces of metal. The zaps you can get from touching anything from the doorknob to the light switch can be quite a shock.

 

Keeping Yourself Safe and Warm

Aside from dressing adequately to cope with the frosty climate, there are other important tips and techniques that you should keep in mind in order to keep yourself not only warm but also perfectly healthy.Jarrod Soh obtained his first degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, and a MSc in Computer Science, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has studied and worked in the US for eight years before returning to Singapore.

In extremely cold weather that includes strong, howling winds and blowing snow, it is advisable to wear a ski mask or balaclava to protect your face from chapping. Using hefty doses of lip salve or lip balm would also save you from the painful experience of having dried, cracked lips.

When your hands get cold and numb, your dexterity decreases and you will find it hard to manipulate things properly, affecting your productivity. There are different kinds of mittens and gloves, and you should choose a pair depending on how warm they keep your hands and how well you can move hands while wearing them. A lot of people prefer mittens to gloves because they are warmer, but if you have a lot of things to do and a pair of woolly mittens makes it difficult for you to handle stuff, gloves will provide you with more dexterity. PrimaLoft and Thinsulate are popular choices because of their sticky surface, which allows normal movement and grasp without exposing your hands to the cold.

A sturdy pair of boots is an absolute necessity as your normal pair of sneakers will definitely not keep out the damp cold when you trudge along snowy paths to your next class. Aside from being insulated to keep your feet warm, your boots should also have strong soles that will give you firm footing on packed snow. Invest in a good pair of boots; the last thing you need is to slip on ice and break your back because your boots aren’t sufficiently well made.

To dissipate the static charge before you touch doorknobs or other things that can cause a shock, use your keys or other metal objects to touch them first. Wearing a metal ring on the hand you normally use to open doors is rather convenient as you don’t have to search for a piece of metal to use.

Increasing the humidity in your room can go a long way towards reducing the static build-up. Having a humidifier can prevent the problem entirely.

When indoors, change into clothes made of materials that do not generate static electricity easily. Switch to natural fibres. Avoid wool as it is the greatest generator of static charge. Use anti-static hand-lotion if you have extremely dry skin, as this also generates static electricity.

For starters, try to allot some time for exercise. Working out vigorously will warm you up and keep your body heated up well after the exercise session. Avoid letting the weather lull you into laziness and sleeping all day. Being physically fit will also improve your immune system and increase your tolerance to freezing temperatures.

Eat well and drink well (not alcoholic). The cold and moist climate can fool you into thinking that you are not thirsty, so be conscious about whether you are getting adequate fluids. Eat high-protein and high-calorie dishes so your metabolism continues to function properly. Keeping your body hydrated and well fed will energise you, and the body needs a lot of energy to keep the muscles warm.

While staying warm is a primary concern during winter, make sure that you do not get too warm; this will cause sweating, which will eventually make you cold because of the wetness. When indoors, layer up only to the point of comfort and allow your body to cool off and feel refreshed.

Maximise the time that you have to spend indoors. When the weather gets so bad that it’s dangerous to wander outside, work on other aspects of development such as your studies or your socialising skills. Bad weather isn’t an excuse to stay in bed or in front of the TV the whole day. If you are having a difficult time with a subject, while away the hours by doing some extra reading on it. Better yet, ask someone in your hall for help. You can gain knowledge and new friends as well. Spend quality time and bond with your friends just by hanging out, having tea, playing board games, or other fun stuff that doesn’t require going out. Keeping yourself busy with such things can make you forget about the glum weather and help you grow in a lot of ways.

So there go your tips for surviving your first winter experience! It will undoubtedly be an exciting experience and you should make the most of it. Preparing and looking out for your health and safety will make the difference between having a fantastic overseas experience and returning home frostbitten and in tears, vowing never to step foot on snow again.

 

* Jarrod Soh obtained his first degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, and a MSc in Computer Science, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has studied and worked in the US for eight years before returning to Singapore.

From A Survival Guide To Coping With Freezing Winter (pt1)

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