Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

A Quick Change


By Mary Huebbe, Marketing Director, Ridgecrest Village

The weather just went from 50 to -20 overnight. Wow. What should we do to get our bodies accustomed to the temperature change?  How can we remain safe outside in these conditions?  And, finally, how can we stay social during these frigid times?

Start with how we dress. On Christmas day I went to church in a dress. I looked nice and the outfit was pretty, but the temperature was 4 degrees and the wind blew right up my legs and through my jacket. I regretted not wearing leggings and high boots. The lesson learned? Dress in layers. You can always take them off, but if you don’t have them, you can’t put them on.

The top half of our body should have two to four layers depending on the temperature. Use one to two layers for “chilly” weather, two to three layers for “cold” weather, and three or more layers for extreme cold weather. Each layer adds insulation. Wear a warm hat, waterproof gloves, and, if it is extremely cold, a face mask. The bottom half of your body needs layers as well; make sure they cover you completely.

Consider wearing a nice pair of “Cuddl Duds” under your pants for cold weather and an added layer, maybe snow pants, for the extreme cold. Make sure your outer layer can keep out the wind and wet snow. You should wear shoes that are safe, warm, and waterproof, rather than stylish. In extreme cold, wear boots instead of regular shoes. My mom always told me the two spots on your body you must keep warm are your head and your feet, so boots and a hat it is.

Once your body is set, focus on your vehicle. When traveling in wintery conditions, even if for short trips, pack the following items:  

  1. Jumper cables (flares and reflective triangles are good as well)
  2. Sand or cat litter (to help with traction when stuck)
  3. Blankets (if you get stranded or stopped in traffic)
  4. Flashlights (in case it’s dark out. Have spare batteries as well)
  5. First aid kit (include any of your daily medications, have three days’ worth)
  6. Water (at least 1 gallon per person for three days)
  7. Food (non-perishables, protein bars are great and space saving)
  8. Cell phone (fully charged and have your charger and a spare battery pack as well)
  9. Warmers (sold in packages, for body, hands, and feet)
  10. Spare clothing (remember layers)
  11. Shovel (to dig out snow if needed)
  12. Tool box (basic tools inside)
  13. Ice scraper (with a brush on the end)

Before you take any trip, check on the weather forecast. You should know what you are heading into. Make sure your gas tank is full. You should also inform people of your plans, so if you are stranded someplace, someone knows the route you planned and will be able to find you. You can never give family and friends too much information. When I was traveling a lot due to family things, my husband bought me a duffel bag and filled it with all the supplies I might need. I would suggest purchasing something similar to that for your car as well. It definitely gave me a sense of security on the bad snow days.

Finally, consider your social side. Friends and family don’t disappear when the snow flies. Now I’m not recommending that you go out in unsafe conditions, but I do recommend going out (you can also invite people over).  During the winter months, many people become depressed. Because it’s cold, there aren’t as many activities. Some people focus on the things they can’t do, rather than possibilities available. For example, you might Facetime or Skype with family and friends, invite people over to play games, or go out and visit others. Do something every week. Try a new activity, like taking a class.

At Ridgecrest Village, we are offering a snowflake class. This class is nice for socialization and teaches you how to create special snowflakes out of paper. It may sound silly, but it is a beautiful craft that provides relaxation as well as satisfaction when you complete it. I invite you to come meet Keith Bonnstetter, who makes seasonal snowflakes and many more. He will be at Ridgecrest Village on Saturday February 24th at 1pm. Come see all the amazing things he can do with paper! There is a $15 charge to attend which covers the cost of materials. Drinks and snacks will be included. Call Mary or Karen at 563-391-3430 for more information and to RSVP; we need an accurate count to ensure we have enough supplies.

Looking forward to seeing everyone’s creativity!