As a Chinese Medicine practitioner I am a bit obsessed with keeping people from getting too cold. I admit it. Guilty. I’m like the cold police. Which means that despite my husband’s strong pleas that I stop concerning myself with his winter weather gear I still went searching high and low for the scarf and hat he was most likely to wear in below freezing temperatures – just in case. He rolled his eyes when I brought the bag home. It sat on the arm of the kitchen chair for two weeks. Then finally, vindicated! As a snow storm approached, he tried them on, and even liked them, and even used them!
But I digress…
The point is, the cold is no joke.
I love the winter, I’m not a person, anymore, who hates it. I find it refreshing and a great excuse for taking it easier. However, when I have to be out and about I like to take care that my body will make it through OK.
When I’m out in public in the cold, looking around, I totally make judgements (yes, this is embarrassing to put out here in writing). I make judgements about everyone not properly dressed for the weather. Then I realize I’m being an ass and I find my compassion – maybe they were running late? Maybe the kid threw a fit about wearing pants today? Maybe they are hot all the time? Maybe they just don’t know?
So here are the things I wish for everyone to know. These are the things that may save you from arthritis later in your life. They might help you with your future or current fertility. These might help keep you from getting sick this winter (or sick again!). They might help you rest better and triumph over your Spring allergies. And if you want to know why to all of these things, you can come study it up in the treatment room with myself or Joy! Teaching you 3000+++ years of Chinese Medicine in this blog post is a bit too challenging!!
- Do not leave the house with wet hair! Plan ahead folks; no one needs icicles in their hair. Use a blow dryer, wash your hair the day or night before… just do what you need to do to have dry hair before you go out into sub zero temps (or really anything below 60).
- Cover your ankles! WTF people? Why are you wearing cropped pants when it’s 10 degrees? Yes, they are cute and hip. Is it worth the chapped skin? Not to mention all of the other stuff I talked about above. If you must wear shorter pants in winter, wear them with boots or at least cover up when commuting. You can change into sharper shoes inside.
- Wear socks! This one I really cannot understand… see above. Bare skin when it’s freezing or just above outside? Frankly, if it’s below 60 degrees I think you should have socks on. So, socks, tights, stockings, whatever. There should be no bare feet in those ballet flats.
- Scarves for everyone! Our necks are particularly susceptible to the cold and wind entering the body. This can cause colds/flu; aches and pains in the face, neck or shoulders; balance issues; headaches; and more. Best to protect this part of you with a scarf. Wrap it well so that the back and front of your neck and top of your chest have an added layer of protection.
- Zip up! This can be hard when we’re rushing; and it’s worth taking the time to zip up your coat or button. Protect your belly and your reproductive zone from the same cold and wind I mention above re: scarves. Cold abdomens can make us more susceptible to getting sick in general. They can make it hard to poop easily, digest our food well, manage our energy and can even mess with our reproductive capacities. The same goes for our low backs; hence, choosing a coat that covers your waist and hips is a good idea. Short coats do not protect some of these zones as well as longer ones.
- Layers for everyday! I’m a fan of a good undershirt or camisole to stay close to the skin and keep the cold from getting to you. Not just outside but in cold work spaces inside as well. I’m also a huge fan of long underwear which can keep you warm when you need and should not overheat you when you’re inside in normal temperatures. This helps keep us a bit insulated and less up and down with the drafts, the changing temperatures, and the wind.
- Choose warm drinks! As much as I like a good iced latte myself, no matter how much I am craving it I choose something warm when the weather dips. Especially if you’re planning to walk with it outside and sip while waiting for the train. Adding cold into your belly makes your body work harder to warm you up. Over time this can be depleting, like turning the heat up and down too often on your thermostat. This goes for your water bottle and your coffee/tea mugs.
- Warm up back at home! Try a warm bath or a heating pad; hot water bottles are also a marvel! Wear socks or slippers in the house to stave off the cold in general, drink warm liquids like tea often; eat soup.
Still can’t get warm? We’ve got a special heat therapy called moxibustion that does wonders to work the cold out of your body; come see us.
If you’re an athlete who is taking to the great outdoors in winter, it’s good to pay attention to all of this too and modify with your gear in order to keep things on the up and up. Basically, protect your self from the weather. And when you come back in, go for a room temperature water refresh – skip that ice.