We all know that the shorter days and cooler nights means that winter is coming; it is time to prepare yourselves, your family, and your home before the first snowfall surprises us all again.
- Make the Most of Daylight Hours: The dark and cold tends to cause Alaskans to withdraw inside for the winter, so be sure to take advantage of the warm days and late sunsets while they’re still here. Hurry up and go on that hike you have been meaning to do all summer, have a couple more family BBQ’s out on the deck, go for sunset walks around your neighborhood while your are still able to make it home before the sun sets.
- Winterize the Car: This is a major safety and wellness must for every Alaskan family. Aside from making sure your snow tires are on and good to go before the first snow fall, the family car needs to be checked over for any potential issues that might leave one stranded in the middle of rural Alaska on a cold winter night. A properly prepared car will have items such as heat blankets, flares, flashlights, and food and water rations. September is National Preparedness month; so take this time to make sure a roadside emergency doesn’t turn into a disaster.
- Clean up the Garden: If you have an at-home garden, take the next few weeks to prepare your garden for the following spring, as well as bringing in any removable garden items that could potentially be damaged by the snow and cold. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has compiled a checklist specific for Alaska Gardeners to prepare for fall and winter.
- Find Indoor Workouts: If you are used to running outdoors and aren’t comfortable doing so in the winter, start looking at how to transition your daily workout from outside to inside. There are plenty of options for quick indoor workouts. Even if your space is small and you don’t want to buy equipment, it is very possible to get a good workout indoors all winter.
- Clean out the freezer: Fall in Alaska means the end of fishing season and the start to big game season so it is time to clean out and organize the family’s freezer. Be sure that anything outdated or expired is disposed of. Take this time to do a winter clean out of the whole pantry and refrigerator as well to be sure nobody in the family falls ill from spoiled food.
- Plan Winter Activities: Lastly, while making all your home and garden preparations for winter, be sure to take some time to plan activities for the whole family to enjoy. Avoid feeling cooped up; seasonal affective disorder and other winter-related blues can be kept at bay by keeping the family busy. You and your family could plan a mid-winter vacation somewhere warm, or spend a night each month trying out a new healthy restaurant. Get outside; try out skiing or sledding, or see what fall sports your kids or the whole family may get involved in. Staying active throughout the winter is important for physical and mental health.