I’m lucky I married a Vermonter. Growing up as a native Virginian, my cold weather gear consisted of the typical hat, mittens, and coat. When we were lucky enough to have snow, I piled up as many layers as possible (from tights to sweatpants) underneath of my jeans. I used my mom’s boots, or just some old sneakers. I could barely move from the material bunching up, and I stayed outside playing until I was wet and frozen from the improper gear. I’d come in, dry off, have some cocoa while I got warm and go right back out again. But I was a kid, what did I know about being cold?
Now that I’m older, I certainly know all about being cold, that kid circulation doesn't last forever. But what my dear, Vermont-born hubby taught me is how to dress for the weather. According to him, there is no such thing is bad weather, only improper clothing. I was skeptical, but now I completely agree! I go outside everyday for at least a 20 minute walk, no matter what. Being outside is not just good for the body, it’s good for the soul. Spending time outside has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, while lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels. It has even been shown to give a boost to your brain that improves concentration. Plus, the extra light during the day helps to keep your Circadian Rhythms balanced.
The following are best recommendations for gear that keeps you warm even when it’s cold outside. Wishing you a happy winter!
1. Start with some fleece-lined pants, or yoga pants with sweatpants over top. If it's really cold or wet, you can add some ski or waterproof pants over top. These are from LL Bean, which is a great brand for all types of winter gear.
2. I like a fleece top from Cuddle Duds, but you could also use a merino wool base layer, or good ol' long underwear. Just make sure it's fitted, and you tuck in so the cold air doesn't come up under your jacket. Brrr...
3. Add a jacket or coat that will keep you from feeling the wind. This is my very old "Windstopper" jacket from EMS, a company that no longer exists. You can find similar jackets from REI, or a down-filled jacket works well, too.
4. This fun piece of fleece is called a neck gaiter, and it's even more functional than a scarf. You can pull it over your nose and ears to keep your neck really warm. Mine is from Turtle Fur, and I love it!
5. Have we had enough fleece yet? NOPE, you've got to add the fleece-lined hat. Regular knit doesn't keep out the cold in the same way.
6. Extra thick socks are most important if you're just wearing sneakers. Mine are from the Vermont company, Darn Tough. Of course you can always go full wool and rain or snow boots if the weather calls for it.
7. The final piece of our winter ensemble is gloves that cover your wrists. I'm not sure of the science behind it, but covering your wrists is a key component to staying warm.
I hope you will gear up and get outside this winter. It really is a peaceful time of year, and your body and mind will thank you for it.