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Energy Conservation Series: Winter

Welcome to the second installment of the Energy Conservation Series! This week’s focus is going to be stuff we can do to keep ourselves safe and not exhausted in the winter.

If you haven’t checked out last week’s post, you can do that here. It has definitions, explanations, and some other tips/tricks.

A little background

If you’re anything like me, breathing in the cold air is difficult. It tends to exacerbate my cough, shortness of breath, Reynaud’s (which is apparently pronounced Rey-NOSE…learned something today), and chronic pain.

By now you may be asking, “Seleana, why do you live in a place where the air hurts so bad?” Good question. I ask myself daily in the thick of winter. That question can be answered simply with a mantra “We don’t have alligators, hurricanes, or danger bugs.” or anything of the like that fits that morning on repeat until you get into the car that *fingers crossed* starts and heats up quickly.

While winter is a struggle, it can be fun too. Pre-HP, I used to hike, snowshoe, and do other winter activities to keep myself entertained and making happy brain chemicals. I have been lacking the past few years for obvious reasons, but I have been slowly getting back into it.

This week’s tips and tricks

Some of these may seem obvious and silly, but they do make a difference.

Wear warm, but lightweight layers

I experienced this last winter just walking around the store looking for window plastic. My coat is on the heavy side and I fatigued quickly and struggled to get to the checkout even after taking it off. I don’t have any recommendations for a type of coat, but would suggest trying on a few different kinds to see what would work for your lifestyle and budget. Base layers, long underwear, and outerwear like scarves and hats fall into this category as well. If you read about my Bear Head Lake adventure, you know the importance of base layers/long underwear in colder temperatures.

Heated clothing

I don’t know where I’d be without my battery operated gloves. Best investment ever! They have three heat settings and keep my hands toasty (sometimes even a little too toasty) and have made living in this climate bearable. The kind I have are Venture Heat and have heat through the fingers, a touch pad on the index finger for smartphone use, and are long enough to go over the cuff of my coat sleeve.

There are a ton of options for heated winter clothing, including: socks, vests, jackets, pants, etc. This equipment can be spendy, but it’s worth it. I bought mine when the site had a sale, so I got them for a fraction of the price. I’ve been teased a time or two for them by people, because I “can’t handle the cold”. I looked them dead in the face and said, “They’re essentially a medical device. I am warm and not in pain.” They shut their whole face real quick. Most people think it’s awesome and want some for themselves. I know of a few people who have gotten them after trying mine and are grateful they have them.

Ice cleats

These are essential for those icy parking lots and sidewalks when things haven’t been salted and/or sanded. They keep butts off the ground and tripping jolts minimal. Sometimes slipping and catching yourself can be worse than falling (if you know, you know). I have had two different types that hook around my shoe: one with spikes just in the front and one that had chains that crisscrossed the bottom of my shoe completely. I’ve hiked/survived winter with both and the second one was the most beneficial.

Remote start for your vehicle

This is something I got installed last winter and it made things so much easier. In winter, getting up in the middle of the night or hours early to make sure the car starts is a thing. I usually refuse to break my sleep up to do this, so I get up an hour earlier to start the car and charge the battery if needed. This is mostly a parking outside problem, so if you don’t…lucky you, I’m super jealous.

These devices aren’t cheap, but they aren’t ridiculously priced either–mine was around $200 with instillation. I got mine for a Christmas/birthday gift and I ask for it again in a heartbeat. There are several models with different ranges. The only request I had was that I could start the car from inside my apartment and found one that does. Less exposure to the subzero temperatures around here mean less pain, breathing issues, and fatigue. I can’t put a price on that.

Disability parking permits

This is something I haven’t done just yet, but am going to soon. If you have health issues that affect your mobility/endurance, you know how hard it can be to get from the car to the store (even on a perfect weather day). Having it doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time, just when you need it; so you don’t have to feel awkward about having one. It is the same as any other device you use to get through your day to day. Remember, energy conservation is the goal here.

A friend of mine recently got hers and told me about the process. It was simpler than I thought and the turnaround time was quick. In Minnesota, you get the application (it can be downloaded off the internet), fill it out, have your medical professional sign it, and go to the DMV.

Have you been using any of the tips from last week or have any other tips or tricks you use, post them below and help out the community!

Be safe out there! REMEMBER YOUR MAPS AND PASSPORT STAMPS!! Seeyalaterbye <3

Also, if you feel called to help a sista out with her travels, check this out!

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