If you live in the north, it is “cold” when the temperature drops below 20 degrees. When you live in the south, however, it is “cold” when it drops below 60.
Does this mean we are cold weather wimps?
I don't think so. I grew up in Alabama, but I lived in the Midwest for six years. It was really tough my first winter in Nebraska. Just driving in a blizzard brought me to tears at times. But I adjusted. Before I knew it, I was a winter weather pro. By my sixth year, I was living in Michigan. I was wearing short-sleeves when it “warmed” to 45 degrees.
Now, here I am back in the South. I am back to my roots where anything below 60 is… well, cold.
The fact is, we all can adjust, and any change can be a shock to the system. The feelings, however, are only partly psychological.
When you're not used to colder weather, your body reacts in several ways. First, it shivers. This may be uncomfortable, but it is our body's way of generating warmth.
Also, blood vessels that lead to the extremities constrict as the body prioritizes. This sends blood to the core, and this keeps our organs warm. Only thing is, when this happens, our fingers and toes get cold. They can even feel like ice cubes.
Experts say you can outsmart some cold weather feelings.
1. Stop and see if you can actually feel how cold it is. The next time you are cold, actually pause and try to feel how cold it really is. You might find it's not as bad as you think. If you are shivering, stop for a moment. Getting used to cold temperatures is partly a mind thing.
2. Dress in layers. Use many thin, warm layers rather than a few thick layers. This will insulate you better. Also, as it gets warmer throughout the day, you can strip some of these layers.
3. Wear thick socks. Warm socks are important in keeping your feet warm and dry. Wool is best. Fleece socks are okay too.
4. Use a good quality coat or jacket. Usually, the thicker the better. Doesn't matter if a ski jacket, a wool pea coat or a down jacket.
5. Wear a hat. It's actually a myth that most body heat escapes through the head. You need to cover any exposed body part.
6. Wear gloves or mittens. Fingers and hands are very vulnerable to the cold. Keep them covered.