This week we switch to Daylight Savings Time–usually a sign that winter is over. In a little more than a week, spring official begins. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like it! Here in the Mid Atlantic, we’re still experiencing sub-freezing temps, ice storms, and high winds. I know, it could be much worse, but… darn it! I’m ready for warm weather!
Until then, here a few tips to surviving what winter has left to throw at us. Some things you may have been doing all along and some may be new ways of coping. As a horse owner, I have to spend a lot of time outdoors and like most horse people, I’ve found special gear and methods for surviving winter, mostly by trial and error.
Five Ways to Keep Going Until Spring!
Dress for Success
This one is obvious. Make sure you have the right outdoor clothing to remain comfortable and dry in frigid weather. The two most important items are hat and boots–covering the two ends of the body where heat leaks out and makes you miserable. Everyone has their favorites, but I have found Ariat waterproof winter boots both warm, comfortable to ride in, and stylish enough to wear beyond the barn. Another life saver is Irideon Wind Pro thermal lined breeches. They are cozy warm and with a pair of ski pants over the top while doing chores, you’ll stay toasty. The next item is gloves. I hate having to take them off in order to do the simplest chore that requires any dexterity, so I like the SSG 10 below that comes with tactile grippy fingers and palm so that pitch fork doesn’t go flying from your fingers. What are some of your favorites?
Don’t Cancel Due to Weather
Keep going despite the weather. Get out of the house. Make sure you exercise whether that’s riding or running on a treadmill or taking a Jazzercise class. It helps keep your mood up (and your weight down). It is so easy to get complacent during the long, winter months but remember…spring is just around the corner! That means shorts, bathing suits, tank tops…
Make It Easy on Yourself
If you have to care for horses or do other outdoor tasks, plan ahead in order to make it easy on yourself. Over the years I’ve discovered a few “do-ahead” hacks that have helped when the weather gets nasty. One such thing was investing in a wheeled hose reel. There is nothing I hate more than dealing with a frozen hose, so now I roll it up and wheel it back to the garage or other heated space so it’s ready when needed. Another hated chore was installing the water tank heater in the outdoor trough. Eventually I decided to buy an extra trough, install the heater, and just swap the entire trough out based on the season. Don’t forget horse care. If you blanket your horses (I know this is hotly debated!) have clean extras for the days they come in frozen, wet, filthy, or torn. Obvious, right? But too often we don’t prepare until it is too late. Do you have any winter hacks that help you deal with working outdoors?
Avoid Turning into a Lizard
Skin care is vital in the winter. Even if you are not a “woman of a certain age,” I highly recommend the products Cindy Joseph created for older woman. I especially love Boomsilk made from ingredients like EVOO, beeswax with pollen and propolis, wildflower honey, and Vitamin E. It is a natural product, as Cindy explains why it may vary in color and texture due to the time of year the ingredients are collected. It is one product that has not aggravated my skin or caused bad reactions. Knowing how much damage to a horse person’s skin is caused by exposure to the sun during the summer and the freezing winds of winter, I think the Boom company should do a commercial featuring riders. What do you think?
Don’t Forget Comfort and Rewards
After a day battling the cold, be sure to reward yourself with something comforting. Do you like scented baths? Curling up by the fire with a great book? A special pair of sheepskin slippers? I especially like a comfort food dinner and pasta is my go-to choice (see “need for exercise” above). Be sure to do something every day that makes you feel grateful for what you have. Studies show spending time with a pet–a cat on your lap or a dog by your side–can elevate moods and go a long way towards dispelling the winter gloom.
So, in conclusion, we can either decide to hide under the covers until spring, or kick winter in the butt until it decides to leave town.