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swirling snow mounds around a Canadian maple leaf

An Open Letter to Canadian Winter

I love the country that I live in. I love canoeing, cottages, blueberries, toques, toboggans, maple syrup, and even our diehard hockey fans. I love food festivals in Toronto, artisan shows in Montreal, visiting family in Ottawa, sea kayaking in Nova Scotia, and eating sticky toffee pudding in P.E.I. I am truly blessed to have been born in Canada and to have seen so much of it.

But Canada, we need to talk about something.

We need to talk about your winter.

It is so cold here!

See, Canada, there are lots of things I love about your winter. I love making snowmen and taking walks through a snowy forest. I love hot chocolate and warm apple cider, and sleigh rides, and watching people skate in Nathan Phillips Square. All of that is great, but does it need to be so gosh darn cold, eh? Canada, today my husband bought a “battery blanket” for our car. We shouldn’t need that, Canada. My car shouldn’t freeze, because I know it needs to be colder than -30C (-22F) for that to happen. That’s too cold, Canada! And here’s the thing, my skin is going wild.

Dealing with winter when you have psoriasis

You see, winter is the kiss of death for psoriasis. The air is dry, which sucks all the moisture out of my already dry skin. My psoriasis flakes, and itches, and cracks open into fissures that don’t heal. I dread having to take a shower because it means an hour of applying coconut oil and lotions, and tossing and turning at night because of the itchy prickling all over me. It means that when I do stretches at the gym I can feel my skin beginning to stretch, and break, and bleed. For those of us with psoriatic arthritis, it means joints that are achy and painful, that can feel even more keenly the incoming storms. It means stiffness in our limbs, our back, our fingers, and doing the “Frankenstein” walk trying to get off the couch.

Dealing with flaking, itching and keeping skin hydrated

Canada, even though I put my toque on, pull up my hood, and wrap my knitted scarf around me, my scalp still dries out like the desert. I spend my days scratching and picking at my head and ears, constantly cleaning my glasses because they are covered in flakes and coconut oil fingerprints. Did you know, Canada, that I spend my day in work meetings wondering how many stray flakes are in my eyebrows… is that what my co-workers are staring at? It’s not that I don’t struggle with these things all year round, it’s just that in the winter they’re so much worse. I even have to take Vitamin D supplements because there’s no sun… and my psoriasis desperately needs the sun!

Seeking out warmer weather

Don’t get me wrong, Canada, I know it’s not your fault. The original inhabitants stayed too far north, I get it. The first winter they should have taken a cue from the geese and headed south. The fact that everything dies here for 5 months out of the year should have been enough to convince them to leave. But you had Celine Dion, Canada, so they stayed (I may be mixing up my historical events).

In sum, Canada, I just need you to know that I love you but it’s too cold and you should work on that. The Weather Network shouldn’t have to add a new row for “Windchill” from October to April. There shouldn’t be a windchill anywhere that humans live. Like that internet meme goes “the air hurts my face… why do I live somewhere where the air hurts my face?!”

Oh also, Canada, I just booked a cruise to the Caribbean. Don’t take it personally, but we need some time apart. It’s not you, it’s me – no wait, it’s definitely you.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.