Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

What are your secrets for enjoying winter? What do you recommend to your patients?


Snow angels, hot cocoa, and wool socks!

Lifelong Learning in Clinical Excellence | February 1, 2019 | <1 min read


Dawn Sherling, MD, Florida Atlantic University

I highly recommend living in Florida!

Margaret Chisolm, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Sitting/standing/exercising 1-ft from a 10,000-lux light box for 30-min each morning can help alleviate seasonal affective disorder. Matches the light intensity at noon on a bright, summer day. It matches the light intensity at noon on a bright, summer day.

I also like a good book, blanket, & fireplace!  

What do you think?

Do you want to add to the conversation? Please share!

Josh Wadlin, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

For myself, when there’s snow on the ground, I take the opportunity to enjoy it by getting of the house and bundling up. Also, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy lots of hot beverages!


For patients, I suggest getting out to enjoy the snow, but be careful about ice when getting out, minor fractures from falling are a major winter hazard.

Scott Wright, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Two words: SNOW ANGELS!

Kim Williams, Administrator, Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence, JHU

Five secrets to enjoying winter:


1.) Experimenting with new recipes in my Instapot.


2.) Baking with my daughters.


3.) Cozy throw blankets, wool socks, and Netflix!


4.) Hot green tea with honey, chai lattes, and hot cocoa.


5.) Heated car seats!


Colleen Christmas, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

My father used to always say to me when I would complain of the cold, “It is not too cold, you are just underdressed.” But in upstate New York it really was too cold sometimes!


I really hate winter, to be honest, but I try to make the best of it by enjoying the gifts of crisp, clean air, sparkly snow (when we get it), an excuse to drink hot chocolate, play board games, and maybe get a little more sleep. It is important to try to get outdoors as often as possible and breathe in fresh air. Thankfully my dog helps me to brave the elements each day!

Tim Plante, MD, University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine

I grew up in Vermont and trained in the mid-Atlantic. I found folks in the mid-Atlantic to have a really bad approach to cold weather management and are miserable because of it. Often, they’d wear a nice-looking peacoat thinking that it would provide warmth. Of course you’ll be cold in that! It’s a thin layer of cotton without any wind protection!

I’m always warm, and being warm in the cold helps you enjoy it more! I’m a Vermonter who bikes to work year-round. I rarely wear a winter coat. Instead, I wear several individual layers. This allows me to take off a single layer when I’m indoors and I still look professional.

Secrets of a Warm Vermonter:




1.) Bottom layer:  You’ll actually sweat a bit if you’re wearing enough cold weather gear and that moisture can make you cold. Try a wickable baselayer. I wear either a traditional baselayer like a Patagonia Capilene thermal-weight zip-neck or a Patagonia R1 full-zip. A thin and light fleece can also be a good bottom layer.


2.) Mid-layer: This is all about trapping your own body heat. Pick a heavy sweater or thick fleece. I’m a fan of Patagonia’s Better Sweater, but there are a million different options out there.


3.) Outer layer: The outer layer is all about blocking the wind and keeping out precipitation. Hardshell outer layers are what some folks think of as a “winter coat” – these are just the very outer layer without any insulation inside. Wearing this alone won’t do much to trap warmth inside and you’ll get cold. Hardshells lack breathability, so they can be uncomfortable to wear for a long time. One step down from a hardshell is a softshell jacket, which blocks most wind and precipitation, but still has some breathability. I usually wear the Patagonia Adze.




1.) Baselayer : I actually just wear some really warm winter running tights. Long-underwear bottoms are also a great choice!


2.) Top-layer: Just my dress slacks!


3.) Socks: Invest in Darn Tough hiking socks in dark grey – thin enough to wear with shoes! These are crazy warm and wick away moisture to keep your feet dry. Since I only own this one style of sock, I save time trying to find a matching pair in the morning when getting dressed. Plus, they have a lifetime warranty!


4.) Shoes: It’s a stereotype to wear Blundstones 500 or 550s in Burlington, Vermont. There’s a good reason why: they are warm, comfortable, durable, weather resistant, and look close enough to dress shoes to pass in all but really formal occasions.

On days when I’m shoveling or bounding through the snow, I opt for boots –  Sorel Caribou boots are great!


Gloves: The thicker the better! I have a pair of very thick Burton ski gloves that I wear most days. On warmer winter days, I’ll wear a light fleece glove.


Hat: Wear one! Fleece or fleece-lined is always a great option!


Check out your local consignment store, or Ebay, for major discounts on winter gear.

You have to enjoy cold weather to survive in Vermont! Everyone finds their outdoor cold weather activity eventually – my wife is a snowshoer. I’m a winter biker, runner, and skier. My kids are still really small but are getting the hang of sledding! :o)

Carl G. Streed, Jr, MD, MPH, Boston Medical Center

1) I’m all about outerwear – winter offers more fashion fun!

2) Great weather to use the oven to cook and bake – dutch oven at the ready!

3) If you can’t find joy in colder weather, you’ll be unhappy for at least four months of the year!