Surviving the cold, the Seattle residents edition


I remember the cold winters in Chicago. And I also remember that they are why I had to move. Because, I mean, who voluntarily leaves Chicago? Really. If you know me even relatively well, you have heard me say this: I don’t like to be cold. I usually explain this to people after the idea of skiing comes up (or, as unlikely as it is, snowshoeing).


During a conversation this week regarding all the locations in the US that are warmer than Seattle, I heard myself saying “but I like it here!”. I like it here. I do. That doesn’t mean that I won’t move someday. But I’m not leaving for a little snow, despite the fact that there is still no sign of plow trucks on my street. It would definitely take a lot more snow.


But all of this is reminding me of the fine art of surviving the cold; something with which the average Seattle-ite has only dealt with on quick trips to Whistler. Some people in colder climates may have some tips to throw in but this is what I have:


-Run a humidifier if you have one. That stuffy nose you may have may not actually be a cold. It may be your sinuses dealing with the cold air (which can turn into something worse). Plus, you can use my favorite invention of all time: The Neti Pot.


-If you go outside, layer your clothes with something wicking on the bottom. If you don’t have something wicking, wear cotton on the bottom. I always hated that hot/cold/hot/cold thing of going inside and outside on my way to work. It seems counterintuitive that wearing that big bulky sweater isn’t the best thing (you’ll be sweating inside and who wants to go out into the cold when they are sweating?)


-Drink tons of water. The dry air just pulls it out of you.


-Lotion from head to toe (I used to talk about wanting to jump into a vat of lotion). Otherwise dry skin gets itchy. And lip balm. You aren’t imagining the need for it. Makes you understand why some dork invented that lip balm you wear around your neck. And a hot shower sounds like a good idea but it’s also dehydrating.


What else, cold weather friends? I am sure that my coping mechanisms have caused me to block out some things.


PS: still no plow here! I predict that cold weather infrastructure will become a political issue at some point, if only for the matter of convenience; which (let’s be real) isn’t the reality here when people are sliding into each other because they don’t know how to drive appropriately in the snow. Rookies.

Comments (8)

  1. Adam Bomb says:

    Wool Socks.  there are some very good brands that aren’t at all scratchy.  warm feet makes the rest of your body happy.

    avoid cotton.  seriously.  wool stays warm even in the event that you get it wet. cotton, not so much.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    my wool socks are itchy. Boo!

  3. jtenos says:

    My best piece of advice for dealing with the cold – live in Phoenix.  It’s a nice comfortable 60 degrees outside right now.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, a week of bad weather is hardly enough to get people to move.

  5. Matt in Calgary says:

    You may want to rethink the humidifier tip.  When it gets really cold (which I hate to tell you Heather, doesn’t ever happen in Seattle) having the humidifier turned up high results in condensation on windows.  We are currently in the midst of a deep freeze right now, which means -30 Celsius or -22 Fahrenheit, and because I didn’t turn down the humidifier from the summer we have little pools of water under every window.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    You actually don’t have to tell me that, Matt. I am from Chicago, mentioned above.  The tips are for Seattle-ites, my friend. Many of us actually moved here because you don’t have to shovel rain. Well you didn’t used to have to. And so people can still used tips from others more accustomed to this kind of weather. 26 degrees here now.

    I’ll rethink the humidifier thing if I notice a change with the windows. Priorities: 1) skin, 2) windows. The windows don’t make me itch 😉

  7. Keith Patrick says:

    Gotta agree with you on the neti pot. I started using one a couple of years ago after high blood pressure convinced me to give up my previous #1 cold treatment: Theraflu. I started to use the neti pot (started with a Sinucleanse plastic one but upgraded to a nicer porcelain one) and never looked back.  It’s be far the best method I’ve ever found for clearing out my sinuses, and I can use it much more often than any of the OTC medications. Plus I don’t have to show my driver’s license to buy salt, unlike epinepherine medications.

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, I used the pot a couple times yesterday. I broke down and took a nasal decongestant this AM (only because I am starting to get a cough….grrr). I’ll be loading on the vitaims too. Looks like things are going to be cozy around here for a while :)