How to get through a New England winter


by Alex Solari, Staff Writer

It’s the beginning of December now, and as you’ve probably noticed it’s cold, dark, and pretty soon, it will be even colder and darker.

Here are some tips for those who haven’t yet mastered good ol’ New England winters, or for those who are simply looking for new ways to get through these few months.

If you have an automatic car starter, take advantage of that. This may be common sense, but some people won’t use their automatic starter until it’s absolutely freezing.

In my experience, especially if you have an old car, cars run much more smoothly when they have been warmed up. So, even if you’re not cold, your car probably is, so start it up a few minutes before you leave.

This may sound crazy, but keep cat litter in your car. This is actually a tip from my mother, and when she first told me to do this, I scoffed and thought she was delusional.

I did put the cat litter in my trunk though, expecting to never use it. But my first year here, there was a girl whose car was stuck in a patch of ice, and I figured I could use the cat litter to put under her tire.

Next thing you know, her car went through that patch and she was able to get out of her parking space. Since that instance, I have used cat litter under my own tires when I get stuck, and despite the weird looks I get, this weird life hack has definitely made my winters a bit easier.

Keeping a shovel in your car is never a bad idea either. They usually sell folding shovels in department stores which is perfect if you don’t have the room for a full-size one. This is ideal for when you have to get in or out of a parking spot, or if you want to help someone else get out of a not-so-fun predicament.

Wearing too many layers is always better than not wearing enough. I always seem to think that I will be perfectly fine without a warm coat, and the second I go outside I regret not bringing that coat along.

Over time, I’ve learned that bringing those extra layers is always smart, and even if you don’t use them, it’s better to hold them rather than be uncomfortably cold all day.

Also, put comfort before fashion. Sure, it’s much cuter to have on a leather jacket, but when you’re walking around campus with the freezing wind blowing at you, you may regret that fashionable decision.

Be mindful of your shoe options as well. Last winter, I fell on ice and really messed up my laptop that was in my backpack. I was wearing shoes that had quite a slippery sole, and if I had been wearing boots, or even some sneakers, my laptop would probably still be in good condition.

Make sure when it gets icy that you’re wearing shoes that are suitable to be wearing in these dangerous conditions.

Make sure you’re moisturizing your skin. I know for guys this may be a little weird, but no one likes to have flaky uncomfortable skin and nasty bleeding lips. It’s inevitable your skin will get dry in these conditions, so make sure you invest in some decent unscented lotion and some Vaseline for your lips.

Finally, the most important advice I have is to especially take care of yourself mentally during these winter months. Some people aren’t affected by this weather change, but for many the sudden cold and darkness can be quite depressing.

Getting outside while it’s light out can be helpful, as well as doing fun holiday-related activities to take your mind off of the unpleasant weather.

Good luck, and try to make the most of this frigid time!

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