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10 Winter Survival Tips for if You Hate Cold Weather

10 Winter Survival Tips for if You Hate Cold Weather

Is it even possible to make winter enjoyable for someone who hates the cold?

Even as someone who’s had to endure the frigid Canadian winters for the last 26 years of my existence, I absolutely dislike everything about winter.

I will never appreciate the below zero temperatures, the salty slush lining the streets (and destroying my fabulous shoes), or the fact that I’m always either freezing or sweating (and nothing in-between).

Do Torontonians ever get used to winter?

I mean, life in Toronto is pretty great, but sometimes the harsh winters make me question why I love living here so much.

For every other Toronto person out there who hates cold weather, here are my winter survival tips so you can make the most of the brutal winter season.

Winter lights in Main Street Unionville, Markham | MUJI plaid scarf with Aritzia camel cocoon coat

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If you’re looking for things to do this winter, you might enjoy these posts:

How to make winter more enjoyable

How to become a morning person

Wake up earlier

Yawn, who wants to wake up at 7 AM during the cold and dreary winter (especially if I’m working from home)?

I totally get it – becoming a morning person really is a difficult habit to get into.

During my teen years I was a night owl and loved staying up reblogging things on Tumblr, but in my adulthood, I’ve pretty much become accustomed to being a morning person.

If you’re not much of a morning person, maybe it’s about time to finally become one.

With daylight savings, the sun rises earlier and sets earlier, so don’t ya wanna max the amount of sunshine you get in a day?

I personally am much more productive early in the morning than I am late at night, but I’m saying that as a morning person myself.

Anyway, you might as well make the most of daylight to make your winter days a little more enjoyable.

Natural lip balms

Keep winter essentials on-hand

Runny noses, chapped lips, and dry hands are some of the downfalls of winter.

TBH, all the hand sanitizer we’re using doesn’t really help with dry skin either.

As someone with eczema, dry skin ain’t no fun – I literally slather my face and skin in moisturizers year-round.

Always keep travel tissues, lip balm (I love Burt’s Bees’ lip balm and LANEIGE’s Lip Glowy Balm), and hand cream in your coat pocket – you’ll thank me later.

If you suffer from very dry lips, I’d highly recommend LANEIGE’s Lip Sleeping Mask – it’s meant to be worn at night, but it works fantastic as a lip moisturizer during the day as well.

Best face moisturizers for dry skin

Keep your skincare routine in check

A skincare routine is always important, but it’s especially important to keep your skin well-hydrated during the drier Toronto winters (especially for my fellow eczema sufferers).

You don’t need a whole 10 step Korean skincare routine, but a good cleanser and moisturizer are the bare minimum IMO.

If you have super dry skin like I do, it might be nice to invest in some extra hydrating skincare products in your daily routine.

I adore this LANEIGE Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer and this Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist for extra hydration!

Sephora usually has a few sales throughout the year, which is a great time to invest in quality skincare products.

Beautysense is a Canadian site that also has plenty of amazing sales on skincare and beauty throughout the year!

Canada Goose Victoria Jacket

Invest in warm winter gear

Standing in the cold while freezing your toes off is not fun.

While you may not be standing outside for hours on end in the winter cold (like Adam has made me in the past for sneaker releases), you still don’t want to be freezing your booty off on your walk to the grocery store or subway station.

Invest in a warm winter coat and boots, and don’t forget to always keep a toque and mittens in your pockets!

Winter jackets

I’ve been wearing Canada Goose jackets every winter for almost a decade now – they offer free lifetime warranty, but their jackets literally last forever.

They’re a Canadian brand (obvs), and their jackets are also all Canadian-made!

If Canada Goose jackets are a bit too pricy (they typically range between $800-$1000), The North Face and Columbia are both also great options for warm and great quality winter jackets in the $200-$400 range.

Banff, Alberta
Wearing the UGG Adirondack Boots.
Winter boots

I’ve been wearing the UGG Adirondack Boots for the last couple of winters, and they’re great.

They are a little bulky to wear, so I definitely prefer them for doing outdoor activities like hiking in the snow.

I recently got Cougar Shoes’ Kudos boots, which are also very warm, and a lot more comfortable to slip on and walk around in the city!

The UGGs are rated for -32 degree weather and the Cougar Shoes boots are rated for -24 weather, so there’s not too much of a difference.

Lupa beanie, The Drop white turtleneck, Levi's ribcage jeans
Wearing a hot pink beanie from Montreal-based brand Lupa.
Winter accessories

You can’t live in Canada without owning a tuque, and Lupa is an awesome Canadian outerwear and accessory brand that makes everything at their factory in Montreal.

Ain’t nothing better than looking cute while being warm, and it’s nice to wear Canadian-made while weathering out Canadian winters!

I love this fun hot pink beanie and this knit red beanie.

Holding Starbucks holiday drink on the Toronto Gardiner Express highway

Find a favourite hot drink

Whether it’s your classic double-double or a festive holiday-flavoured latte (like Starbucks’ new Sugar Cookie Oat Latte), having your go-to hot drink will warm you up and make you feel even just a bit better about the cold.

I dunno about you, but taking that first sip of hot coffee every morning while cozied up in a warm sweatshirt and sweatpants is so satisfying.

If you’re able to, definitely hit up local coffee shops in your area and find your new fave hidden gem!

Peep out my fave coffee shops in Toronto and Vancouver.

And if you’re on a budget (or doing a no spend challenge), grab your fave coffee beans or even some flavoured instant coffee and make it yourself at home.

Perhaps try making dalgona coffee at home if you’re feeling fun.

Pho Hung in Chinatown, Toronto

Treat yourself to hot comfort foods

One of my favourite things about living in downtown Toronto: all the incredible food options available.

I particularly enjoy eating hot soups like ramen or pho during the colder weather.

Here are some of my fave local soup spots, if you’re looking to try new Toronto restaurants:

I’d recommend ordering takeout or delivery straight from restaurants (so they get 100% of the fees), but you can also order it on Toronto food apps!

If you’re looking for deals, there are plenty of Toronto restaurants offering takeout/delivery deals.

Cook up fall/winter recipes

Does anyone else get super lazy during the colder months?

I still have to cook for Adam and I, and I’ve been trying to make more fall/winter recipes so we can ~embrace~ the colder weather and make winter a little more enjoyable.

Just Google or Pinterest some recipe ideas, or even whip up something on your own in the kitchen!

Here are a few great cold weather recipes:

If you have any other great recipes for fall/winter, feel free to leave ’em below in the comments!

Grab DAVIDsTEA’s Cold 911

One way you can absolutely make winter more enjoyable: not catch any (bad) colds.

DAVIDsTEA’s Cold 911 is amaze for colds, y’all – and it’s organic and natural!

You can get it as a sachet, in packets, or in a tin.

The Headache Halo is also great for headaches, in case you forget to wear a hat and get headaches from the winter wind.

I also love making golden milk (basically turmeric milk) and ginger tea during the colder months – not sure if they actually keep colds away, but it feels like they do, lol.

Stock up on propolis spray

We literally always have Beekeeper’s Naturals propolis spray in our household at all times, and we always have extras.

It’s amazing for cold symptoms and sore throats, and we even take it when our throats are itchy to help prevent colds.

Plus, it tastes delicious – just like honey! 😉

The only ingredients are bee propolis extract, vegetable glycerin, and purified water, and it’s sustainably sourced here in Canada!

Hiking in Heber Down Conservation Area, Bowmanville, Ontario

Get outside and do winter activities

Go outside in the freezing cold?! Am I crazy?!

Okay dudes, winter really isn’t that bad if you do something fun.

As long as you’re dressed warmly and prepared with all the essentials, you’ll be totally fine!

It’s also super important to get Vitamin D, so you should go outside and get dat sunshine when you can – there are plenty of fun things to do during winter in Toronto!

You can skate around at some outdoor skating rinks, do some pretty winter hikes in the snow (like these Durham Region hikes), or even hit up some cute Toronto winter photo spots.

If anywhere in your community offers safe, socially-distanced tubing or skiing, that’s another great option!

I personally like more active activities during the winter, ’cause taking leisurely walks through the Distillery District in -20 weather is torture (although super nice, especially during the Christmas Market).

How to make winter more enjoyable if you hate it:

  1. Wake up earlier
  2. Keep winter essentials on-hand
  3. Keep your skincare routine in check
  4. Invest in warm winter gear
  5. Find a favourite hot drink
  6. Treat yourself to hot comfort foods
  7. Cook up fall/winter recipes
  8. Grab DAVIDsTEA’s Cold 911
  9. Stock up on propolis spray
  10. Get outside and do winter activities

Cold weather ain’t fun for anyone, but there are definitely ways to make winter more enjoyable (or at least more bearable).

If all else fails, just stay inside and hibernate by binge-watching shows on Netflix, Prime Video, or Crave.

What are your tips on how to make winter more enjoyable if you hate it? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

If you’re looking for things to do this winter, you might enjoy these posts:

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

How to make winter more enjoyable (or at least bearable), so you can spend less time hating the cold weather and more time doing fun wintery stuff.
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Cyn Gagen

Wednesday 13th of December 2017

Love those boots! I'm in London, Ontario so I feel your pain with our winters. For me, I bundle up before going out - especially with a scarf to keep that bitter cold away from my face and neck.

Julia Marrocco

Tuesday 12th of December 2017

Such good tips Jess!! I still hate the winter :( haha - Julia (

Emma S. Cheng

Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Great tips, Jessica! I especially like the first one :) I would also add investing in warm winter scarves.


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Love this post! So applicable to NYC cold winters too! X Samantha

Keri H

Monday 4th of December 2017

Love these tips so much! Winters can be so harsh but these are great ways to combat this :)

Enclothed Cognition