6 Tips For Dealing With Winter


I have always hated winter. I was born in Milan, Italy, where winters are long; it rains a lot, sometimes for two/three days straight, and it snows occasionally. I could get never used to the cold weather even after years. Every winter, I felt like a bear, hibernating, waiting for spring—it doesn’t help that my body doesn’t produce heat. When I went camping in Yosemite for the first time, I was freezing. It was late spring, and most of the camping sites were full; the only spots available were at high elevation and it got chilly after sunset. My husband was able to warm up inside the sleeping bag, but my body remained cold all night.

After living most of my life in Milan, one year in London, three months in Seattle, and finally enjoying warm sunny winters in Tenerife and San Francisco, I ended up in Portland because my husband and I wanted to buy our first home. We value quality of life more than weather, but going back to cold winters after all those years in warm climates was a sacrifice for both of us. This is my first winter in Portland, and I realized that the best way I could deal with it was being prepared and learn to appreciate the little things that bring me pleasure in the cold weather.


Gore-tex is a waterproof breathable fabric—and it’s your best ally in those nasty days. I bought an Arc’Teryx jacket made with gore-tex. It’s warm and light—the water drops hit it but don’t make it wet and soggy. The jacket is a bit expensive (around $500), but it’s high quality, and it will last. I love walking, but when it rains, I don’t like carrying the umbrella—this jacket made me feel like walking in the rain again.


I never wanted to buy rain boots because growing up in the fashion capital; I thought that they weren’t stylish enough to walk around. When I moved to Portland, I felt more relaxed because people don’t care about what you wear. I ended up buying a pair of black Hunter boots ($100). They are comfortable and warm—I can walk in puddles without worrying about my shoes.


Reading is one of my favorite activities, and doing it in winter, with a warm cup of tea, brings me pleasure. I am a fan of paperback because I like holding something in my hands and turning the pages. Buy more books that you can read. Filling up your library will remind you of your potential and the knowledge you don’t have—it will be a source of inspiration and motivation, especially in those neverending gray days.


Winter is the perfect time to reflect on your life and write down your thoughts. Things usually move slower during the cold months, and having a diary can help you determine your goals for the warm months and process emotions. If you are a professional writer, the weather outside can prompt reflections that help your story and/or add a new level of depth to your character.


Whether you are a coffee addict or a tea lover, it’s great to have some selection in the house to follow your mood and body needs. Buy a variety of tea, coffee, and infusions—they will warm up your body, heart, and they will be great companions for your reading sessions. It’s also nice to have a selection of beverages to offer your guests when they come visit.


When the weather is nasty, food can become an excellent form of entertainment. You can get creative and try new recipes—cooking warm and earthy dishes is a way to get in touch with the earth in those cold months when most of us prefer to spend lazy days on the couch instead of hiking. If you don’t want to experiment in the kitchen, make a list of the best restaurants in your city and try them out when you can.

LifeChiara Townleylife, tips, winter