Our Top 10 Tips For Surviving Siberian Chill

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Our Top 10 Tips For Surviving Siberian Chill

According to the lunar calendar, winter kicks off this year on Dec. 21, but the weather has already hit sub-zero temperatures. This peninsular cold spell will continue for the next three months or so. For those preparing for their first winter in Korea, the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition has compiled its Top 10 Survival Tactics to get you through the bone-chilling days and glacial nights.

10. Wear layers of clothing

For sudden temperature drops in the morning and evening, wearing several thin layers of clothing is essential. Avoid heavy, coarse sweaters; they allow the cold wind to permeate and cause the body to chill fast once the sweater is taken off indoors. Your overcoat should have a lining or padding to keep body temperature constant. Wearing cotton or wool-blend thermal underwear is strongly suggested. Nylon stockings worn under pants can keep you surprisingly well protected against the biting cold.

9. Use a humidifier

The climate is arid and causes terrible static. A humidifier at home and at work keeps the air more comfortable.

8. Invest in a moisturizer

A mist spritz, light moisturizer and lip balm for use during the day can rejuvenate your skin and prevent it drying out. Heavy creams or baby oils are advisable during the night.

7. Keep snug

Most Korean floors have ondol, Korean-style flooring that efficiently retains heat. If you do require additional heating, try to avoid heaters that generate hot air, which further dry out the air and are not energy-efficient. Electric stoves are recommended instead. If fur-lined leather gloves aren't enough, disposable heat packs can be carried in the pocket.

6. Wear shoes with good traction

Say good-bye to those Italian shoes made of supple, light leather. The leather soles absorb moisture and can freeze your feet in minutes. You need a pair of heavy-duty shoes that have skid-proof rubber soles and that can withstand moisture and dirt.

5. Leave metal jewelry at home

You don't hear the jingle-jangle of metal accessories in Korea during winter - they can contribute to lowering body temperature. Instead of jewelry, put on a furry woollen scarf.

4. Engage in moderate exercise

Cold weather encourages huddling, which can leave the body stiff and shoulders tense. For better blood circulation and greater flexibility, engage in moderate exercise, like stretching or jumping a rope indoors.

3. Take extra vitamin C

The Korean diet in winter can lack fruit and vegetables, except for kimchi, leaving you vulnerable to colds and flu. For extra vitamin C intake, try Korean-style yujacha (citron tea) or mogwacha (Chinese quince tea).

2. Clean up with wet wipes

The dust, pollution and viruses in the air can threaten your health, and hygiene is especially important at this time of year. But who wants to wash their hands in icy cold water from the tap? Disposable wet tissues come individually wrapped, so you can clean up without chilling out.

1. Indulge in lots of spicy Korean food

There's nothing more energizing and warming than the spicy dishes Korea has to offer in abundance. Just spice up your noodles, soups and stews with a spoonful of gochujang (hot pepper sauce)! Or for a last-minute guard against the flu, how about a shot of soju with a dash of gochugaru (hot pepper powder)?

by Inae Cho

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