Wednesday, December 15

Secret to Winter Happiness

I have discovered the secret to a happy winter, and it can be summed up in just two words: fleece longjohns. (Or should that be three words?)

Actually, any kind of thermal underwear will do, but I find fleece is particularly high on the happiness scale. There's something about the feel of the soft, fuzzy fabric against bare skin that signals pure contentment. Perhaps it echoes the secure, snuggly nature of childhood pyjamas. In any case, fleece longjohns (or FLJ's, as I like to call them) are my new favourite winter gear.

If fleece isn't your thing, there are all sorts of light- and mid-weight base layers available in a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics. Choose something with warmth in mind but also in a fabric that will breathe and will wick moisture away from your skin. This means NO COTTON! Cotton kills, as the saying goes, because it absorbs moisture, holding it against your skin and leaving you clammy and chilled.

An extra layer of warmth means you can make the most of winter. People know to dress in layers for activities such as snowshoeing, skiing, and tobogganning; but for winter happiness all season long, don't just don your FLJ's (or other thermal underwear) when you're going out to play. They'll also keep you warm and comfortable as you go about your regular day... waiting for public transit, traversing a mall parking lot, walking the dog.

The lighter-weight technical fabrics aren't bulky or too hot, so you can wear them under your regular clothes and forget they're there. FLJ's can be worn under a skirt for the trek to work and are easily slipped off once you're at the office. Just because you'll only be outside briefly, en route to wherever you're going, doesn't mean you have to suffer the cold.

As I like to say (again and again): There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. If you add appropriate apparel when the temperature drops—as it has in many parts of the country lately—you can not only endure the season, you can actually enjoy it!

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You can find thermal underwear at many department and chain stores, such as Canadian Tire and Mark's Work Wearhouse; and at specialty outdoor stores such as Mountain Equipment Co-op and from our friends in Huntsville at Algonquin Outfitters.

Find out how to keep your feet warm by choosing the right winter boots. Learn about how to dress for dog sledding and other winter activities, too.

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