Before anything else, don’t panic.
You must recognize and admit that winter in New Zealand is here, and will be for a long while yet. The freezing frantic wind will try it’s best to strangle you with your own hair, and snatch your last warm breath from your lungs. The plummeting temperatures will seep into your shaking bones, and will caress your pale, dry skin with sharp fingers of ice. There is no doubt it will try to crush you into a weepy, sneezy ball of depression.
Winter despises you and is attempting to kill you, while keeping up a facade of pretty glittering snowflake kisses, and the sound of children’s laughter as they make snow angels .
But fear not, you have an ally. I too once cowered at the mite of Winter. But no more.
I survived in this frost-bitten country (without surgically attaching a heater to myself) by becoming a winter warrior, and tackling it head-on.
Follow these 6 survival tips, so you too might live to see the summer:
01 / Eat
Everything in sight (Okay maybe not the family pet, we are warriors but we aren’t crazy). You need all the help you can get, so a few extra kgs won’t hurt at all. Stop with that diet, you’re in warrior survival mode now. Start with chocolate pudding, as it is a source of ‘OMG so yum’-ness. Hearty vegetable soups, full of vegetabley nutrients. Meat, lots of meat – sink your teeth into roast chicken, pork, beef (lean beef is a great source of zinc, so start eying up old Bessie out in the paddock). That packet of biscuits you’ve had hiding in the back of the cupboard? — you deserve them now. Heck, while you’re at it, get the fire cranking and toast some marshmallows, turn the oven all way up, bake until your stomach is so full, there can be no chance for winter to invade your body and lay it’s eggs of sickness and death (ew too far?).
But to be a winter warrior, you must make sure your diet is keeping you in tip top shape. There are a number of super foods that include vitamins and minerals that will boost your immune system, while still being super mouth-watering and satisfying. A diet full of natural foods – fruits, vegetables, meats, cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains – is the best way to supply your body with antioxidants. Plus chocolate pudding (I never told you to stop eating that chocolate pudding).
- Broccoli – exceptionally high in antioxidants.
- Carrots – full of the antioxidant beta carotene.
- Red capsicum – massive hit of vitamin C.
- Kiwifruit – just one contains your entire daily requirement of vitamin C.
- Oranges – just one contains your entire daily requirement of vitamin C.
- Green tea – powerful antioxidant.
- Mushrooms – rich source of antioxidants.
- Lean beef – rich in zinc.
- Oysters – exceptionally high in zinc and iodine.
- Berries – packed with antioxidants but few kilojoules.
Check out Greatists list of Best Fruits and Vegetables to eat this winter: http://greatist.com/health/seasonal-winter-produce-guide
02 / Drink
Hot drinks like soul-calming green tea, sinful hot chocolates, life-saving coffee, naughty splashes of alcohol (you can heat that in the microwave right?) all help keep winter chills at bay. Even the greatest winter warrior, the Yeti, took his hot chocolate piping hot with marshmallows (don’t quote me on that, but I’d bet you he did).
On a more serious note, keeping up your fluid intake is very important during the cold months, as dehydration will only make your cough and flu symptoms much worse (just assuming that winter has already infected you at least once). So make like a yeti and clamp your frozen mitts around a steaming mug and drown your winter sorrows in mouthfuls of sweet liquid.
Bored of your favourite drink? Patricia Conte of the SheKnows website shows us how to spice up a hot chocolate in everyway imaginable, check out this sweet infographic for inspiration: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1054517/delicious-hot-chocolate-recipes-infographic
03 / Be Merry
Whine and complain first. Yes, you’re allowed. Feel horrendously sorry for yourself, weep to any one who will listen about your frozen toes, achy bones, and dripping nose. And then…suck it up buttercup. This was the hardest part of the warrior challenge for me. I know, all you want to do is continue to cry and whinge (the Other Half can vouch for that) and contemplate taking a long-term holiday under your blankets.
But unfortunately, to beat winter, you have to beat the winter blues. Take time glory at the small wonders in your life, from how fluffy your new bed socks are, to how amazing it is that your loved ones have stuck around your miserable carcass for so long. Smile and laugh, and be happy that soon spring will come charging in on the back of baby lambs and vibrant daffodil petals.
04 / Wrap Up
Before winter can strangle you with it’s cold vice-like grip, wrap a big, thick scarf around your neck. Before the beast starts gnawing on your toes, insert your feet into thick woollen socks. Think layers, lots of layers (like a warm, toasty onion of textiles). Thermal long johns, then sweat pants, then nana’s embarrassing knitted sweater over top (just kidding, you love it to pieces) followed finally by matching fluffy bunny mittens and beanie. This will be your warrior attire for the next few months, so waddle around wearing it with pride. You are a survivor.
05 / Move
Get that frozen ass moving. Winter is trying to kill you, so you have to be tough and strong to defend yourself. Although you may want to stay snuggled up in your warm bed, winter is not the time to let your fitness plans hibernate—especially after our little talk about how much you need to be eating to stay alive (You better still be eating that chocolate pudding). With spring and summer just around the corner, you will emerge from the claws of the cold season a victorious, ultra-ripped version of yourself, by following these tips: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1594 and join the Kayla Movement because she is badass.
06 / Slather
Your skin will suffer…horribly. You can’t trust your life-saving heatsources; heatpumps, fires, hotshowers, because they will wage war on your poor hide, leaving it dry and flakey like your favourite pastry. Not to mention the cold temperatures, freezing gusts of winds, and your loved ones slapping your face because you are wailing too much. You need to have your best defences up, so follow these tips for dry skin care, and slather on some of my favourites, exfoliate until you are as pink and shiny as a newborn, and prep your skin for war:
- Creamy cleanser: The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Cleanser
- Blemish-fighting face exfoliator: Garnier Pure Active 3-in-1 Wash, Scrub and Mask
- Body scrub: Frank Body Coffee Scrub
- Soothing face moisturiser: The Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream
- Body moisturiser: Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Lotion
- Lip Balm: Maybelline Baby Lips (Mango Pie!)
Warrior on my frozen friends!