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Hot tips for staying warm in cold weather

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Photo by Valera Evane / Pexels
Photo by Valera Evane / Pexels

Have you ever played "What's in my suitcase?" The memory game involves a list of travel and other random items until someone's brain can't handle it anymore. That's what it feels like to read through Seattle's unique list of 2021 record-breaking weather events.

The inventory of our regional weather suitcase begins with conditions much like what you are seeing out your window today. Snow. February's snowfall piled up to become the most seen in Seattle over a two-day period in 49 years.

Then, the lovely months of April and June gave families an excuse to finally install air conditioning. Torrential rain and thunderstorms came early in June, followed by a record temperature of 108 degrees at the end of the month.

August saw the end of 51 days without rainfall, plus wildfire smoke. In an apparent attempt to make up for that, it poured in September.

Somehow, 2021 still found room to fit in a deep freeze. As Seattle currently witnesses record-breaking low temperatures lasting into the new year, prepare yourself to stay warm during this year's weather chaos finale.

Photo by Yan Krukov / Pexels  

1. Stay inside!
I know, it's all of our favorite advice. But how could we start an Omicron-era list any other way? In below-freezing temps, having a roof and four walls around you is a privilege many people take for granted. If you have a multistory home or lots of rooms, try gathering the family for a game night and focusing heat into a communal area by closing doors. This is especially helpful if you have a sleeper sofa or kids or roommates who are willing to camp in the living room.

If you do not have a home or know someone in need of shelter, the City of Seattle has opened four additional severe-weather shelters, totaling six as of this week [bit.ly/3FIRvlO]. Outreach by the city's HOPE team and grassroots organizers is ongoing at encampments across the city. Seattle City Hall is also open for shelter 24 hours a day, space permitting.

If you are in need of shelter, call 211 or 1-877-211-9274 for assistance. Help is also available for those with a child 18 years old or younger at the Coordinated Family Intake Line, 206-245-1026 (8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.).

Photo by Mikhail Nilov / Pexels  

2. Do moderate physical activity
Do I sound like a physician yet? (I'm actually just a writer with poor circulation.) While sweat could make your inner layers of clothing moist and end up making you cold, a brisk walk or light yoga workout could increase body heat just enough to feel warm inside.

Photo by Arina Krasnikova / Jasmin Chew / Pexels  

3. Layers, layers, layers
Not only is the art of layering clothes increasingly important to online influencers at the moment, it is a necessary measure when navigating life outside in cold weather. From long sleeves and gloves to tights under pants, winter fashion offers a multitude of looks. Layer up with whatever you've got and tell your admirers that you saw it in Vogue.

Photo by LoveFood Art / Pexels  

4. Soup
Anyone exposed to TikTok or Instagram reels in the last month might know that "gorgeous, gorgeous girls love soup." According to the internet, to become a gorgeous, gorgeous girl (which is, in fact, a genderless application of the word) who stays warm during a deep freeze, soup is your ticket. Throw some vegetables and water on the stove or stop by your favorite soup kitchen to light a fire in your heart. Pose with it and tag us @seattlegaynews on Instagram for bonus points.

5. Cuddle time
I know you and your roommates have gotten to know each other all too well this year, but at least one of them should be good at cuddling. Without access to soup or motivation for exercise, cuddling is a resourceful way to take the body heat right off of someone else! Cozy up under a blanket with anyone, even your dog if it's all you have, and you'll be warmer than a Patagonia fleece in no time.

6. Share warmth in other ways
If you are reading this from an indoor space with adequate heating, consider all of the ways you might be able to share some of your warmth with others. For example, Homies Helping Homies Seattle is providing tents and warming kits through donations and mutual aid.

If you know of similar resources, share them with those in need.