cold weather

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

January, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times January 2018

Bright Blessings, and Happy 2018!

Time flies when you are an old adult, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday, I was looking forward to Summer Solstice!

I write this on Winter Solstice 2017, and my Yule gathering is two days away. We are rearranging the menu and scheduling rides for everybody.

As it is in between Sabbats, I get to pick a topic! I decided to write about Winter itself.

Specifically, I’d like to write some Winter survival tips.

Unlike some people like my husband- who LIVE for winter (psychos!), the rest of us suffer various issues due to cold weather.

I started having issues with Winter the day we moved from the warm South, to the cold North. I recovered for the ONE winter I lived in Arizona, but the dry atmosphere there proved too hard on me, so back to the cold, moist North I came!

Every Winter is a struggle. The older I get, the worse it gets. I have developed routines to get me through Winter in one piece, and I’m happy to share my tips with you.

Without further adieu, I give you:

Saoirse’s Winter Survival Tips

  1. Staying Hydrated- This is very important for both your skin, and your insides, Dehydration is no laughing matter, and while in Summer, people encourage us to drink lots of water, in Winter, we don’t talk about it nearly as much, but it’s just as crucial. One thing to watch for is the tendency to drink lots of hot drinks in Wintertime, which translates into coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. Which means we shun water we are more partial to in warm weather. Hot drinks are fine, and can help us feel warm. Just don’t forget to drink plain water also.
  2. Sickness- Because we go outside less often, our germs are more enclosed, so we are exposed to more of them. People don’t want to call off from holiday gatherings, let alone take any time off of school or work. Please do. I understand there are some people out there who disease does not phase, but not everybody is so lucky. The condescending “Just wash your hands” with an eyeroll is pure bullshit, because some contagious illnesses are airborne. The selfish “I don’t want to use my sick time, because I want a longer vacation” is also very common. Some people have kids and elderly family they take care of who the flu, or infections can be fatal to, not to mention people with compromised immune systems. Also, don’t be afraid to say you won’t be coming to a gathering if you know somebody has strep or the next contagious thing. I’ve done this for years, even leaving a volunteer spot one day, because the coordinator showed up with bronchitis and refused to take antibiotics. Staying well is one of the best ways to survive winter.
  3. Steam is your friend- Breathing in that cold air outdoors as well as air the hearing system dries out wreaks havoc on the sinuses. A steamer is one way to help keep the house humid enough to keep you from having those awful winter nosebleeds. There have been times I did not own a steamer, and I just boiled pans of water on the stove to make the same effect. I swear by it.
  4. F-O-O-D- Winter means winter holiday food, which is consists of high yum, and sometimes low nutrients. The first thing health gurus do is shame people for the high caloric intake of holiday food. But there is a reason people serve these foods come wintertime. In days of yore, you might have your entire food stash go bad in one day. You wanted to stock your body up on whatever you could, and high caloric intake could mean survival in the event that food source DID run out. Without the risk of that, and our more sedentary lifestyles, that extra weight we gain just stays there, and doesn’t benefit us. I’m not going to tell anybody not to splurge on some goodies. All I’ll say is keep your nutrients up, and take supplements if needs be. Many suffer in winter due to lack of vitamin D from the sun because we are indoors staying warm! Take vitamin D pills if needs be, or drink more Vitamin D milk. Do what you need to do in order to keep your nutrients up. Remember also, food like chocolate makes you happy, which boosts the immune system, so have some!
  5. Reschedule without guilt- People, especially if they love you, want to see you. Of course! Sometimes, they are the least understanding people if you have to reschedule. Tough toenails, I say! If the weather is bad…if your car cannot handle the temperature…if you are sick…if you have trouble driving in the pitch dark that seems to shroud us 24 hours per day from Mid -September through March…RESCHEDULE. Don’t let anybody guilt you into going when it is unwise. Even if you are just tired, reschedule. People who really care about you will understand, and as for the folks who don’t understand? They don’t matter.
  6. Dress for weather – Both inside and out, dress appropriately for the weather. A lot of people want to crank their heat up to 75 or 80, and run around in skimpy clothes in wintertime. If you are a millionaire, be my guest. The rest of us have to keep the bills at bay. So the double layered clothes and shoes on until bedtime are the best way to dress. We are able to keep our heat set at 65 because we dress properly, and we keep the bills down. Since I crochet, handmade afghans in laps are provided, and cats and our dog will gladly curl up beside you for added warmth. Baking and cooking all winter will also help keep the house warm. When you go outside, do yourself a favor, and bundle up. Don’t wear shoes that are slick bottom, because you think they look cute, or you might fall and bust your ass. A mistake a lot of people make is assuming they do not need to bundle because they are driving someplace- but if your car breaks down, you will be very cold while you are arranging your alternative transportation. Or forbid your heater goes out! So bundle up!
  7. Fires- Most especially if you are Pagan…have outside fires all winter long, even if it’s just an occasional candle! I have yet to meet one Pagan who does not feel invigorated by fire, which represents light and life for us during these dark months. Burn fires just for the smell of them if needs be, or because you love the ambient glow of them, even if you do so for no other reason. If you’re like me, you love the way your hair and clothes smell after a wood fire. Warm your hearth, yard, and home with fire all winter.
  8. Skin Care- Oh, how the wind, cold, and heaters dry skin as badly as they dry out sinuses! Some say you ought to shower less, but I say a good hot soak every day in a bath or hot shower are good for skin. Scrub all that dead skin off, and hydrate with good lotion after each bath/shower. Drinking plenty of water helps with that as well, and chap sticks/lip glosses/Vaseline on the lips does wonders.
  9. Drive Accordingly- People forget how to drive when weather changes for some odd reason. The first DAY of it, I can see- but some people NEVER acclimate, and are enraged that they have to adapt. This makes no damned sense, and if this is you? Change. Lave the house earlier to account for driving more slowly if needs be. Police say you need to leave an entire car length between you and the next car per ten miles you are traveling. Yet people leave less than half a car length between them and the next driver while going 80mph in the 65 mph zone in rain, snow, sleet, and hail, and are genuinely shocked when a car wreck occurs. I am not calling that an accident in those situations. The lack of safety due to refusal to take precautions is a choice, and there is nothing accidental. It’s unnecessary, and inexcusable. It’s also completely avoidable. Always use the toilet before leaving the house no matter what, as it prevents urgency to GET someplace fast. Play music you like, and take the route you like the best so driving is less of a chore.
  10. Be understanding- Winter is something many of us just don’t look forward to, but nobody can fight it. Understand the things you need to do, and the things other people need to do in order to manage well. Accept winter. Plan for it, and try to enjoy it if you can.

I know there are a LOT more things you can do to survive winter than just what I listed, but here is my top ten list.

Blessed Winter.

Blessed Be!

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel