Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Enjoy Winter

The weather is like a frantic woman these days. Europe is experiencing heavy snowfall, Moscow is suffering from unusual cold, and in my hometown in Siberia, one day the temperature is -20C (-4F) and another, it is 0C (32F) and raining. Climatologists frankly confess that they do not understand what's going on around nor what to expect in the near future.

Bad weather, short cloudy days without much sunlight, chilly winds and extreme cold can bring about serious physical and psychological stress for human beings. The body wants me to stay at home and sleep, but I can't stop my life and fall asleep like a bear. Adding a bad mood to a bad weather is of no avail, so there should be a way to survive the winter cold and stay active. Some simple steps could help you to cope with winter and perhaps even enjoy it.

1. Stay warm, dress properly and colorfully. You shouldn't layer on sweaters and jackets like an onion. Let it be just one wool sweater, a pair of pants with warm lining, and waterproof and windproof outerwear. You can express your personality and style while protecting yourself from the cold with a colorful wool scarf and pair of gloves. Colourful, cheerful accessories contrast well with the grey winter environment.

2. Stay safe, and choose proper shoes. Sudden snowfall may be very slippery. This winter, two of my good friends broke their bones because of the icy roads. Be careful and choose shoes with thick treads. Some shoe soles become very slippery when it is cold, so ask the salespeople if the soles of the shoes you want to buy are good for low, extremely low temperatures (who knows what kind of surprises this winter has for us?)

3. Eat well, forget about diets at least for some time. When it is getting cold, a body starts demanding for more substantial food, and the body is not wrong. Our energy expenses are greater when it is cold, so treat yourself with something hot and tasty. Enjoying food is also important for your emotional balance. There are few things in the world that can delight us as easily as good, delicious food. I personally prefer to add more spices to in my meal during the wintertime.

4. Sleep as much as you need to. The immense and complex chemical factory called the “body” can produce enough stuff to keep us full of energy and active when there is enough of sunlight, but leaves us feeling sluggish when there is less light. We naturally need more time to sleep during dark periods of the year. Lack of sleep in the wintertime is particularly dangerous and may cause depression.

5. Exercise outdoors, too. Skiing, skating, throwing snowballs, making snowmen — isn't it enough to love winter and the snow? When I was a child, my friends and I celebrated the first frosty days because this meant the end of dirty, rainy weather and the beginning of the winter fun.

6. Ventilating is important. There is a myth that people catch colds more frequently during the winter. The simple reason for that is the following: when it is cold outside, we keep windows closed and let viruses and bacteria to live and multiply. Viruses and germs can not survive in cold, but thrive in warm, stale air.

I hope you'll enjoy the winter and experience its many joyful events during this magical, beautiful season.

Russian winter | Русская зима

Photo by Anatoly Kraynikov