By Savannah Siders, corps member serving at McDonough Elementary School
Whenever I tell people that I grew up in New Hampshire, they always assume that it means that I LOVE the cold. Not true. The cold is far from my favorite thing. BUT, growing up in NH has given me the chance to acquire an arsenal of tips and tricks for surviving the bitter cold New England winter like a pro.
FOR YOUR BODY:
●Winter jacket OR sweatshirts and a vest
First and foremost, if you do not have a winter jacket, you MUST get one. My mother always told me that if I didn’t wear my winter jacket, we would be more likely end up in a ditch. I’m not a fan of jackets, but you’ll never catch me without layers of sweatshirts and a vest over top. The sweatshirt/vest option is for those who, like myself, like being able to remove and add layers.
●Layering, thermal shirts, and fleece lined pants
My father is a demolitionist and works in the wilds of Canada for up to 10 hours a day. In the winter, that can be torture. He swears by layering and I attribute my love of layering to him. When it comes to layering, you can never go wrong with thermal shirts as a base layer. Thin and versatile, they are a staple in my wardrobe. But it’s no good to be warm on top and cold on the bottom, so I swear by fleece-lined leggings for wearing underneath pants. My father swears by fleece lined jeans.
●Gloves, hat, scarf (no ifs, ands, or buts about it)
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have these items on you at all times. You will be thankful when the temperature is -3, but the wind chill is making it feel like -20. It’s also a good idea to keep backups of these items in your car, backpack, or purse.
●BOOTS and warm socks!
When I was in high school, I always wore these tiny little canvas shoes and no socks and my feet were always FREEZING. That’s no good, because most of your body heat escapes through your feet and your head! Then, I discovered the pure wonder of boots. Timberland boots are my favorite, because they’re local to NH, the company is a sponsor of City Year, they look great, and they are warm and they hold up to anything and everything. Boots in general will do the job perfectly though. And if you wear them with wool socks, it will feel like your feet are in Jamaica.
FOR YOUR HEALTH: ●Hand sanitizer It’s cold and flu season. Carry a little hand sanitizer with you wherever you go. Protect yourself!
●Skin care because dry skin is painful, not fun
Lip balm, face and body moisturizer, hand lotion. ALWAYS. The NH wind can be vicious. I carry lip balm and hand lotion with me at all times. It’s better to be safe than sorry and have healthy, happy skin instead of painful, cracked skin.
●Vitamin C and Vitamin D
You should take your vitamins year-round, but in the winter, you want to stoke up on vitamins C and D. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and helps protect you from getting sick. Vitamin D makes up for the fact that you’re not getting as much vitamin D from the sunlight.
●Understand your body
Know when you are sick. Take time for yourself when you are not feeling well. Your body is not performing at it’s best when you are sick, and overworking yourself can be detrimental to your overall performance.
FOR YOUR HOME AND YOUR CAR: ●Rock salt is gonna help you get a grip on all this NH ice You always want to have rock salt on hand in case your driveway or walkway freezes up overnight. Nothing is worse than running out the door and slipping all the way down the driveway. It’ll keep you from hurting yourself, and it’s cheaper than crampons.
●Your ice scraper is your best friend
Leaving the house in the morning is fine and dandy until you get to your car and find a half-inch of ice covering your car. But that ice doesn’t stand a chance when matched up with your trusty ice scraper! It’ll shave the ice of your car and minutes off your commute.
●Even if you don’t have cats, invest in some kitty litter
It sounds strange, yes, but when armed with a shovel and a bag of cheap cat litter, you can get out of any snowbank. Cat litter gives your tires something to grip on to instead of just spinning and digging you deeper. Toss the litter under your tires and you’re on your way, smelling odor-free.
●Jumper packs or jumper cables are your new life saver
When you start to hear your car turn over slower and start to take a longer time to start up, that’s your car trying to say that it’s way too cold. Invest in a pair of jumper cables or a jumper pack (if you want to be completely self-sufficient). They’ll quell your fear that your car might not start up tomorrow morning and you’ll always be prepared.
Now, I promise that winter in the 603 is not really that bad if you prep yourself for it. Be prepared for the temperature to not climb over 16 degrees some days. Be prepared to slip and fall at least once (it will happen). Be prepared for your face to feel like it’s going to fall off. But snow is beautiful, and there is always a feeling of satisfaction in having made it through a winter like a champion! Winter in New Hampshire is a game and you just have to know how to play it right. Remember, City Year is always ready!