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As you start to live more sustainably you will be spending more time outdoors. And in the winter it can be tough to stay warm while working outside in the cold. Getting or cutting firewood, tending livestock, taking care of the orchards or greenhouse — all of these activities mean you’ll be outside, in the cold.
Sure, it may not be a full-on survival situation but, you are going to want to stay warm regardless! Here are my three best tips for staying warm and toasty during the winter months:
Cold-Busting Tip #1: Wrap Your Neck!
Your neck radiates more heat than any other area of the body. The head and feet are next on the list. However, your neck is the most important area to keep warm. In my backpack (which also doubles as a purse), I keep a neck wrap. I’ve used it more times than I can count to stay warm during an unexpected cold front.
Have you ever started to get that scratchy feeling in your throat and you can feel the beginnings of a cold or flu coming on? I like to wrap my neck while sleeping at night. I have found that this simple act seems to nip that sore throat in the bud! While I am no doctor, my theory is that by wrapping your neck, it creates a localized mini-fever, which possibly stops trouble before it has time to spread.
Check out this article on treating fevers — and when not to treat a fever. The comments section of this particular article are especially amazing — click here to read how to assist a fever.
Cold-Busting Tip #2: Stay Hydrated!
For some reason, it seems harder to stay hydrated and drink enough fluids when it is cold outside. Of the many signs of dehydration, getting a bit chilled is usually one of the first to appear. Some other signs may be dry lips, dizziness when standing, and slower mental function. I find that making a quart of tea to sip on throughout the day helps me to drink more fluid. By using a quart sized mason jar I am able to easily keep track of how much I am drinking during the day.
I find tea helps to keep my body hydrated better than justing drinking straight water. My Grandmother was always drinking herbal tea that was nutritive. Good health is best achieved with gentle nudges! Sipping tea is a great way to help the process. Wildcrafting and/or growing your own teas is easy and can be a fun gardening project for the whole family.
Cold-Busting Tip #3: Prepare A Warm Space For Your Return
I picked up this tip when I got my permaculture certification. It is a lot easier to go out and brave the cold if you have a warm place to come back to! It doesn’t have to be a large room or even the whole house. But knowing that when you come back inside there will be somewhere warm gives you a psychological boost! I’ve relied on this for so many years that I don’t think about going outside without setting up my warm spot first!
Before you dress up and head out, throw a few logs on the fire and set the flue so you’ll have a warm spot waiting for you. If you are not heating with wood, perhaps you might run a tiny heater in a small room to have a “warm area” to return to.
Whatever you choose, knowing you have a warm place to come back to after working outside is vitally important. And you never know, if you have an accident outside, having a warm space to return to during an emergency may be crucial to your survival.
Do you have any tips or tricks to stay warm while working outside in the cold weather? Leave a comment — I’d love to hear them!
(This post was originally published on December 1, 2016.)
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