I could pretty much say I am almost a lifelong Minnesotan, minus the years I lived in North Dakota and Iowa. I can truly say I have never loved winter and put up with it because this is where I live and I love summer. If you are stranded in Minnesota for winter, here is my advice to you on how to stay warm and healthy.
Tips To Survive Winter
In the winter I survive with wool socks and I wear them from October to May. One day in the middle of May my friend said: “you don’t have wool socks on.” I said “Yes, I don’t have any socks on. I can’t wear wool socks with sandals.”
Wear shoes in the house or slippers to keep feet warm. I have wool clogs which are wonderful.
When I go out I always dress in layers and wear boots, if I can get by with it for my outfit for the day.
Buy a coat that is long in length and warm. I need all body parts covered and I get a hood on it so I don’t have to mess my hair up with a hat. If its really cold….just wear a wool hat.
Wear socks to bed with warm breathable pjs. Having lots of blanket layers and a silk winter weight quilt is good. We got our silk batting from China and it’s toasty.
Use flannel sheets and an electric blanket that turns on before bedtime to warm things up. We shut the blanket off before sleeping. It also helps to sleep close to a hot hubby!
Take hot baths at night. When its really cold I do this about four times a week. I’ve been reading this is good for the metabolism. When I grew up our family had a sauna, so I guess I miss the sauna and had to replace it with a hot bath.
Stay home as much as possible in the winter. I work part-time, so this can be accomplished. Now that I don’t have to bring kids to school, this can be accomplished even more. Don’t feel guilty about staying home from an evening meeting when it is cold out.
Cook so you don’t have to go out. Have small groups at your house so you don’t have to go out.
Eat Soup and hot foods. Drink tea and coffee all winter. Bake or use the oven on cold days.
Exercise indoors when temps are under 25 degrees. I do this by using exercise DVDs, YouTube exercise videos like “tone it up”, exercise bike, treadmill, or my own made up aerobics. I also use the app- 7 minute workout. I don’t want to leave the house to exercise.
Exercise will help boost your core body temperature, and metabolism, keep your muscles in shape and help your immune system.
Probiotics also help your immune system via the gut. You can get probiotics in yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha, fermented foods or take a supplement each day. Prebiotics also work along side probiotics and come from fruits and vegetables. So eat up these foods to keep your immune system in its prime.
Get plenty of sleep, because don’t we all wish we were a bear and could hibernate for the winter? If possible, that would have been my goal. Getting sleep will help fight off any sicknesses that hover in the air.
Leaving the House and Driving
Follow hourly temperature forecasts to help decide when it’s best to leave the house. Leave at the high temperature of the day. Zero may be the best time to leave on the coldest days. I only cross-country ski when it’s 20 degrees and above. If it’s colder or windier I don’t go.
Pray snow comes at night or on the weekend or it would snow so much that school is canceled or it would snow on days when you don’t have to go anywhere. I still hate driving in the snow. I have had many “almost in the ditch” experiences and fishtailing in my lifetime to not love snow and driving in it.
I always had my kids get used to riding the bus, so they could take it on snowy days to and from school.
Grocery shop on the warmest day of the week. I need to be flexible. In the winter I stock up and shop only 2-3x per month. I only go to the store when I am out of the house for other reasons. I never make a trip just to go to the store.
I make my husband do most of the driving in the winter if I can.
If I have to go somewhere, I make sure to drive the car with heated seats. These are a miracle and half way to where I am going I am toasty warm in the car and I don’t care if it feels like I wet my pants. If you have no heated seats bring a blanket or wear a long coat everywhere.
Start cars up for 5-10 minutes before leaving so the heat is working when ready to drive.
Take a trip south in January or February to shorten the winter and get some vitamin D3 for your body. We are deprived of this nutrient in the winter so I take Vitamin D3 on a daily basis as a supplement to strengthen my immune system and for my psychological well-being.
Go places in the day and not night. The sunshine that is out on 0 degree days will help heat you up and keep you more motivated to go outside.
Wait with kids in the car for the bus on those days that are freezing cold so they won’t freeze while they are waiting. If I am really nice and the roads are good, I drive them to school on those days.
Drive on the snow patches when roads are icy underneath. One year we got an ice storm on December 31 and the ice never left our 2-mile long road. It then snowed. To not slip on the ice I had to make sure I drove on the snow instead of the ice. I did this until it melted in February. This was not a fun winter. I was so happy when it melted.
When it’s 40 below with windchill, chances are there will be no school or it will be 2 hours late. If it’s minus 20 with no wind there will be school.
Only get your mail when driving by the mailbox or kids come home or husband comes home from work.
If you are out and about, make sure you wash your hands when you get home so you won’t get some sickness floating around out there.
For snow removal– only volunteer to shovel if the whole family can do it together and it’s in that nice temperature range of above 20 degrees. I consider it exercise. If it’s colder offer to buy your husband a snow blower, which he thinks is a waste of money. So he shovels.
Otherwise, hire a guy to plow for you. You will pay him from 5- 15 times a winter depending on how often it snows. We never know when and how much snow we will get in the winter.
As you can see most of these are practical. If you love the snow and the cold, then you probably can eliminate 75% of these tips. In fact, you probably didn’t read this. That is okay, because I may be just giving myself one of my yearly pep talks to get through winter.
You can get through winter. It’s almost over! That’s what we tell ourselves every winter.