Tips for Surviving Winters in Pennsylvania (Or Anywhere Else Cold).

It always happens, I wake up one January morning and look out the window.  There’s white stuff on the ground, and same thought runs through your head that runs through every year at this time, “Winter is Here.”

Dr Barisch stops to pose for a picture while riding his bike in the snow
Dr Barisch stops to pose for a picture while riding his bike in the snow

 While living in a state that actually has 4 distinct seasons has its ups; it definitely has its downs.   Winter can be brutal on the body.  A strong wind chill can plummet “Real Feel” temperatures into the negative numbers.   But with proper planning and knowing some tricks, it is possible to enjoy (yes; I said “ENJOY”) the season known as Winter. 

1.)   Keep It Real

Sure. That white stuff on the ground means it’s cold outside.  It means that school may be delayed or even cancelled.  But that doesn’t last all day (even though it feels like it does). Keep the age-old perspective of “This Too Shall Pass” – because just this past weekend, I clocked a good 50 miles on my road bicycle with some friends and did not even have to wear a jacket! 

2.)   Gear Up

How many times has your child told you “I don’t need to wear a hat – it’s not that cold,” before you go outside on a chilly day.  Then just 20 minutes later, their teeth are chattering and they’re freezing. 

Long Underwear – You can still look “cool” while wearing long underwear; even if your Grandma didn’t.  Get a thin pair & put them under your jeans – no one will know you have them on.  Another alternative – those stretch/yoga/running pants you wear on your springtime runs? Put them on – they’ll provide the extra “base layer” and trap in the warmth in against your lower half.

Balaclava – I love my Balaclava!  When I’m on the bike in the winter, I have one on – without fail.  But just working outside during the winter? I wear one as well! Albeit with a hat on over it.  Why do I wear one? It keeps the wind off your neck, it keeps the wind out of your jacket, it keeps the wind off your ears, all with one piece of clothing (READ: Less items of clothing needed to pack for holiday, or to get lost in your house during the warm summer months). 

3.)   Winter Hobbies

While most people can rattle off a whole list of summer activities they enjoy, winter does provide some activities that can’t be done in the summer. Have you ever tried; ice skating, skiing (I prefer downhill skiing, while some of my pals prefer cross country skiing), snowboarding or even snow-shoeing?

 4.)   Indoor Activities

Here in Harrisburg, we have large array of things you can do inside.  When’s the last time you were to Chocolate World, the Antique Auto Museum, the Pennsylvania State Police Museum, Whitaker Center, Midtown Cinema, Indian Echo Caverns, the National Civil War Museum, or the State Museum of Pennsylvania?  I’m one that’s always up for a road trip adventure, when is the last time you visited places like Washington, D.C., Baltimore and even Harpers Ferry, WV

5.)   Complete House Projects

If you’re anything like me, you have and entire list of projects/improvements/upgrades you want to complete at your house.  Well – during the Spring, Summer, Fall, I enjoy spending as much time outside in the sunlight as possible!  (I also had a lot of landscaping and outdoor improvements I completed this past year).  But with all that time outside, my inside projects stacked up.  Winter time is a great time to work on those indoor projects without sacrificing time outside in the nice weather.  You’ll also have a sense of accomplishment when you finish a project that you wanted to get done! 

6.)   If all else fails, do as my Boy Scout Troop does and drink lots of Hot Chocolate!

What’s your favorite way to beat those winter blues? Tell us in the comments below!

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