How to Stay Warm in Extreme Cold During Your Interim Assignment

As I sit down to write this blog, the outside temperature is -5 degrees (F), and the wind is blowing at 25 miles per hour. I’m not perturbed. I’m a lifelong mid-westerner and every winter there are at least a few days like this. I text my friend in Fort Meyers and ask about the weather there. She says it’s a “crappy day - 58 degrees and cloudy.” I smile to myself, wondering how she would fare here. Then it occurs to me that our lifelong southerner interim healthcare consultants may well find themselves on assignment in a northern locale, with, like my friend, no experience dealing with extreme cold. If this is you, I offer these tips:

DRESS THE PART

Of course you know to dress in layers when you go outside. Also, insulated boots, hat, gloves, and a real winter coat (not a jacket or pullover) will be needed. (Unless you are a teenage boy, then evidently you’ll be fine with shorts and a hoodie.) But it may come as a shock to many of you that you will have to dress in layers inside. You may argue that the thermostat is set to 72 degrees F, just as it is through the summer. Well, anyone who lives anywhere with four seasons knows there is a summer 72 and a winter 72, and never the twain shall meet.

WIND AT YOUR BACK

Arctic drafts will find their way into the house (or apartment or hotel room). You will need to layer your clothes, especially if you are sitting still for an extended period. Don’t underestimate the absolute heaven of a fleece blanket. If you can feel cold air coming in around the windows where you are staying, insulate them (check with management or the landlord first).

OUTDOORSY? SORRY, NO

Just as in the summer, ‘it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity;’ in the winter, it’s not the cold, it’s the wind. Outdoorsy fun is certainly possible in colder climes. Skiing, sledding, and snowman making are excellent ways for interim healthcare consultants to enjoy winter, and everyone should make at least one snow angel in his/her lifetime. However, as temperatures drop, or the wind picks up, even the hardiest are forced indoors. Pay attention to the wind chill more than the temperature. A calm, sunny, twenty-degree day is a different animal than one that is twenty degrees, windy, and overcast. When the wind chill gets into the negative thirties, like today, exposed skin can become frostbitten in as little as ten minutes. Time to head inside for one’s entertainment.

INSIDE FUN

Speaking of which – board game anyone? Or a book? How about a Netflix marathon? (You’ll thank me for that fleece blanket.) Generally, it’s time to hunker down and finish knitting that sweater you’ve been working on. You can put it on when you’re done. If you find yourself getting cabin fever, make sure the roads are clear, let your car warm up for about 15 minutes, and head out to another indoor location. Go walk around the mall and pick up a warm Auntie Anne’s pretzel, visit a local museum, or catch the latest cinema release. Too sedate? Go bowling, roller skating, or indoor rock wall climbing; or drive through a local park and enjoy the beauty of the frozen landscape from the comfort of your heated car.

Healthcare consultants who embrace an interim lifestyle are generally an adventurous bunch, but extreme cold conditions are no time for adventure. Bundle up, stay warm, and thanks for reading.

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