I’ve met people who are hard-core winter advocates. Kudos to them, especially without the promise-of-winter-break motivation that we look forward to at the end of the fall semester. But for some of us, we prefer the heat, and right now it feels like the only heat we have coming our way is the blazing stress of a newly developed fever. Nevertheless, we brave the Kingston winter and venture to campus. I might have all my books, my computer, my chargers, snacks and reusable water bottle, but these are no match for a drafty study spot. Let’s face it, sometimes getting a study spot is equivalent to arriving late to a buffet – all the good stuff is gone, and what’s left is cold. Even when you manage to find a great spot to work in, that sneaky winter chill can creep up behind you, just as you hit your productive streak.
As someone who does their best and most productive work on campus (aka surrounded by accountability – don’t be the person watching Netflix in the library), this seasonal cold front really frustrated me. So, like the procrastinator I am, I began to do some research about keeping yourself warm, specifically when you’re sitting in one place for a long period of time. I found a ton of articles, how-to guides, and scientific research about heat loss in the body. Through chilly trial-and-error, I found my personal and effective favourites.
Here are five of my thoroughly-tested hacks for dressing to stay warm:
Lock and Load Up on Layers:
No surprises here – you lose a lot of heat through your head, so wearing a warm winter hat can make a huge difference. Take some time to find something more substantial than cotton, like a knit hat (this extends to other winter items, like gloves and scarves). If you feel like your hands are constantly cold, consider finding a pair of fingerless gloves; these will still allow you to use your electronics or flip pages with ease. Another key item is a large scarf. Scarves can double as a blanket, or just a way to reduce the amount of skin you’re exposing.
Frost will Bite:
Cover your ankles. I know that you like the look of your white sneakers and jeans without tall socks, no matter what the temperature is. Knock it off. If you feel like you’re getting cold whenever you stop power-walking to class, this is a huge part of why! Invest in some tall and/or thermal socks, they make a world of difference when you’re stuck in a chair for hours.
Lined leggings – my personal favourite. Lined or fleece leggings are comfortable and easy to wear (consider looking at ski shops, or camping stores for the warmest ones). You can also switch it around and use leggings as a base layer for loose jeans or sweats, or even look into long-underwear (they’re not as cute as Victoria’s Secret but hey, we’re dressing for drafts here, not your crush).
Hand or feet warmers are underrated. I brought some to school that were left over from a ski trip, and wow they were effective; like holding a warm cup of coffee. You can even make your own reusable ones – I found a great how-to guide on a website called Little House Living.
Pre-Heat (and you can be the oven!):
If you have a radiator, you can put your clothes on top before you get dressed in the morning, so that you leave the house warm instead of already cold. If you’re a morning-shower person, you can also put a top or sweater in the steamy room after you’re done for about 5 minutes (not longer, you want to avoid dampness), and you get a similar effect. If neither of these work for you, try this unconventional method: when you’re in bed in the morning, dreading getting out of your cozy blankets, snuggle the clothes you’ll be putting on. It may seem odd, but your body heat can warm up those layers for you in the comfort of your own bed.
The bottom line is it will continue to be cold for most of this semester (spoiler, sorry!), so the best we can do is buckle down, layer up and face that winter wind with the knowledge that the cold never lasts forever.