Winter in Northeast Ohio is long. And gray. Very gray. It’s not the arctic, exactly, but it takes some getting used to and it certainly takes its toll on you if you didn’t grow up here. And I didn’t. I am originally from Virginia, which is not tropical, but winter is much shorter and less severe.
This is my 10th winter here and I think I can now give some very good advice to any newcomers looking to survive their first winter. I’ve learned how it affects me physically and emotionally and how to cope with all of those effects. Here are my top tips for surviving winter in Northeast Ohio in no particular order:
Tip 1: Get the Right Gear
When I moved here I had some cute wool winter coats. My parents also gifted me a knee length Northface down jacket. The cute little wool coats didn’t cut it. I only wear the giant Northface and while it’s not the most stylish or dressy, it certainly is warm. I do wear the nicer wool ones for the odd dressy occasion but generally I just go with my warmest coat.
If you’re new here then you might need to rethink whether your winter clothes are going to be enough and you might need to make a few upgrades. Don’t worry about fashion, just make sure you’re warm.
Tip 2: Stock up on Good Moisturizer
I never had to worry about dry skin in the winter like I do here. Get some high quality moisturizer and put it at the sink next to your hand soap. Get into the habit of moisturizing right after you wash your hands. If you have little ones especially and you’re constantly washing your hands, then you will dry them out for sure.
Tip 3: Get Some Fresh Air & Sunshine
The winter sky here can be so gray and combined with the short days of winter, I can feel very cooped up. I find that I do much better when I get out and take a walk to get some fresh air. I’m able to enjoy what little sunshine there is and it helps my mood.
Tip 4: Talk to Your Doctor about Vitamins
With the aforementioned lack of sunshine, short days, and little time spent outside, many of us are probably lacking in Vitamin D. Talk to your doctor and find out if he or she recommends any supplements for you.
Tip 5: Take a Hot Bath
There are many days that I have come home from being out and immediately drawn myself a hot bath. It is in those times when I am just chilled to the bone that a hot bath is the only thing that helps.
Tip 6: Exercise
Getting in some exercise and getting all those endorphins going helps my winter mood tremendously. I find that even just getting out to a store or the mall and doing a lot of walking can help, though my favorite is to get outside if I can.
Tip 7: Get out of Dodge
I love taking a trip in the winter. Getting away for a week to somewhere warmer can really help to break up the long, long winter if you can afford it. Even just having a vacation to look forward to, the anticipation itself can be a huge mood booster.
Tip 8: Put Some Things on Your Calendar
If getting out of here simply isn’t feasible, then try to make some plans here that you can look forward to. Winter is totally fine for me during the holidays but once we get a little past that, I start to struggle.
Plan some dates to have friends over, make plans to go to the movies or theater, or get tickets to a hockey or basketball game. Take in a museum or spend some time at a local library. Maybe think of things around town that you would love to do but don’t necessarily take the time to do when the weather is nicer.
If you are a transplant like me and you have any ideas to add to this list, then please leave them in the comments below. And if you are new to Northeast Ohio, welcome and best of luck with your first winter!