That’s right: It’s cold and we’re going outside!
When it’s cold outside, it can be difficult for us solar-powered summer-loving people, to find things to do outside that are fun and don’t freeze us to the bone. Some activities don’t sound like fun, but if they allow procrastination from other (indoor) activities that are not so fun, then those outdoor activities look a lot better. Take the winter outdoor activity of shovelling snow. For my brother-in-law, it’s a reason to get out whatever machine he uses for clearing snow and spend some one-on-one time with it clearing the driveway. For me, shovelling snow means reminding myself of proper lifting techniques and showing that good example to my neighbours so I can maintain my status as a safety professional (and to avoid explaining to my chiropractor how I hurt my back).
There are several outdoor activities I find myself doing every winter; sometimes because I have to, and sometimes because I want to. There are other activities that I don’t get to do all the time, but enjoy doing because despite the cold, I do enjoy getting outside. There’s nothing like fresh air, or whatever kind of air I can get that’s closest to fresh.
Here are some things I find myself getting into in the winter that you might want to try as well
Cleaning snow off your car. My car attracts and collects snow drifts. It takes a surprising amount of time for me to clear the snow off my car and then clear it from around my car. I get a good workout carrying it scoop-by-scoop across the small parking lot and dumping it under the trees there. Anyone who has shovelled snow before knows the wet heavy stuff is the worst!
Pet-peeve time: SUV, mini-vans, and even small cars that are not properly and completely cleared of snow drive me CRAZY! It’s a hazard, and it usually ends up on the windshield of an innocent motorist behind you (ahem…my windshield), temporarily blocking their view of the road. There’s no excuse, people. Don’t tell me you can’t reach it, or that you don’t have time. I once saw a man sitting in a wheelchair, cleaning the top of his mini-van with a brush attached to a long pole. He had the means and the time. Go get yourself a long pole and stop making excuses. Rant over.
Going to the gym or to get groceries, coming out, and cleaning more snow off your car. I’ll admit, that there have been times that I have avoided going out and going to the gym saying to myself it was for safety reasons, but it was really because I had already cleaned snow off my car twice that day and doing that two more times was just not happening. Thank goodness I have a list of acceptable indoor activities I can do. And thank goodness for yoga videos on YouTube: And wine.
Washing your car once the weather warms up. This is a ritual of those who are rust-phobic about their cars, and of those who are tired of getting salt on their pant legs. Once the weather warms up to around the freezing mark (so your doors don’t freeze shut), it’s time to perform the indoor/ outdoor activity of washing the caked-on salt off your car because the window washer squeegee at the gas station isn’t cutting it anymore. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people like you out there with the same great idea/ ritual so be prepared for long line-ups. Make sure you’ve got lots of change too – I don’t know why, but I always seem to run out. I guess I’ll just have to pick up the pace! Something I’ll never understand is why so much salt is used on the roads. It seems like most of it ends up on my car (and your car), and simply makes a mess. I hear it’s not such a good solution environmentally either, but that’s another topic for another blogger.
Scraping ice off your car. My car happens to be compact, yet really good at accumulating frost and ice across its surprisingly vast windshield. Maybe the windshield just seems vast because it always takes longer than I want to clear the windshield of ice. And yes, I do the whole windshield, not just a circle big enough to see through.
Outdoor ice-skating during the afternoon on a weekday. This is a great way to spend some quality time by yourself outdoors. Most other people are at work at that time (yay flexible scheduling for me), so there’s a lot more space to spread out and practise your figure-skating moves (or crossovers for hockey players). This could also mean that there’s nobody there to show off for except for the guy in the skate-sharpening hut, but that’s okay. You can practise during the week, and then save the rest for the big show on Saturday when everybody and their friend-from-out-of-town is there. Since I like skating so much, I also like to share it with a friend who is just learning so that they can like it as much as I do. That’s just one other person, so it’s okay.
Snow-shoeing. I think it would be fun to walk down the street of the neighbourhood that I live in wearing snow shoes, after a big snow storm of course. Nobody would ever expect it! They wouldn’t expect it because people usually hide under their beds until the storm over (if they’re not out driving when the weather person and the police said not to), and many have never seen snow shoes. I like snow shoeing, especially where they’re actually needed. It’s an adventure in footwear! These things are much larger than your regular boots/ shoes so there’s a technique to it, and yes, it is possible and totally hilarious running in snow shoes. The secret is to spread your arms out (for balance), get your knees up as you break into a run, and pretend you’re five years-old again. I dare you not to laugh! There may only be one person other than myself who finds this running-in-snow-shoes activity funny, and it may simply be that she finds it funny that I find it funny.
These are just a few activities that I could think of to do outside, by yourself. I didn’t recommend tobogganing or sledding because I don’t have a sled, and because if you go over to a tobogganing hill on your own as an adult, you may look suspicious. Take some friends for that. You’ll also notice that “have a snowball fight” is missing. That’s because I’m afraid of snow balls, and having a snow ball fight with yourself is another great way to have your neighbours wonder about you.
I have written about activities that I know something about, so if you have other winter activities that you like to do by yourself or with others let me know in the comments. And if you have a funny story to tell, please share!