Winter is Coming – Come on, Smile!
In our region, we have enjoyed a fabulous summer and an exceptionally warm autumn. But talk is abounding about an approaching winter that could be one for the record books. Many people dread this time of year and simply dream about the prospect of springtime. But, are we going to spend a quarter of our year in misery, defeated by “old man winter”? Or, are we going to adopt the “if I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy and find ways to actually learn to celebrate and enjoy the winter season? Because I like to be happy, I’m going to vote for option #2. So, here are some thoughts that might get you thinking differently about our coldest season:
1. Find Activities To Cherish In Winter
- Fresh, Crisp Air. In my family, we say, “self-defense starts in the closet.” If you dress appropriately, cold fresh air is invigorating. Bundle up. Wear a hat and a scarf, warm boots and gloves and go for a walk. If it’s feasible, try walking to work – what a great way to start your day, plus it’s good for the environment.
- New Sports. Try a new winter activity that you don’t do all year round. It is a way of varying your fitness routine, while staying in shape. I love to cross-country ski and snow shoe and, once you purchase a set (which you can always buy at a used sports store), there is no additional cost. There are many places to cross-country ski or snow shoe right in this community –local golf clubs or parks.
- Sweaters and Boots. Wouldn’t it be boring to wear the same wardrobe all year round? Winter provides us with an opportunity to switch things up and pull out clothes you haven’t worn in more than 6 months!
- Hot Drinks, Fireplaces and Good Books. Yes, the days are shorter, but, when the nights are longer, it provides a cozy atmosphere to curl up in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea or hot cider and a good book.
- Casseroles and Crockpots. Winter is also a great time to indulge in comfort foods such as stews, soups and casseroles, and to enjoy the flavours of winter vegetables. Spend a little time in the kitchen when the heat from the oven is welcome!
2. Say “No” to “Wind Chill” Factor
A number of years ago, I heard a commentator speaking about the wind chill factor and questioning why, as Canadians, we always like to make it sound colder than it really is. “It’s zero degrees, but with the wind chill factor, it feels like –10 degrees.” He proposed that we get rid of the wind chill factor and instead, adopt these three factors.
- The Sunshine Factor: It’s -10 degrees, but if you are standing directly in the suns rays, it feels like 0 degrees.
- The Shelter Factor: It’s -10 degrees, but if you are in an area sheltered from the wind, it feels like 0 degrees.
- The Activity Factor: It’s -10 degree, but if you are doing an activity out-of-doors, it feels like 0 degrees.
3. Adopt Winter Energy Saving Tips to Make It Easier on Your Pocketbook.
With heat and hydro needs, winter can be a more costly season. So, I turned to our Carizon Credit Counsellors for these winter energy-savings tips:
- Don’t leave your car idling.
- Wear sweaters and slippers and turn your thermostat down one degree.
- Get a programmable thermostat and program it to a lower setting during the hours you are not at home.
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Use a clothes horse and air dry clothing.
- Unplug everything that is not currently in use.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Clean behind the refrigerator and the coils on the back.
- Use plastic sheets that you can buy at Canadian Tire to cover any windows that tend to be drafty.
- Install insulating materials that you can also buy at Canadian Tire to insulate outside wall plug-in electrical outlets. This cuts drafts from the wall.
- Put draft stop strips around the outside doors to cut drafts.
- If funds are available, insulate your attic (possibly next spring, as it may be too cold to do now).
- If able, install a high efficiency furnace. You will be amazed at the reduction in your bill if you purchase the right one. Always get three estimates.
- If your freezer is old, it may be consuming a lot of power; consider buying a newer frost-free model.
Let’s defeat old man winter by celebrating him instead: find activities you enjoy, strike the term “wind chill factor” from your vocabulary and opt for the sunshine, shelter and activity factors instead, and adopt winter energy savings tips to save you money. Come on winter…we’re ready!