Keep warm this winter with our guide
There’s nothing worse than stepping out of the shower onto chilly bathroom tiles or feeling the cold breeze as you open the front door in winter. The increasing icy conditions bring all sorts of obstacles for everyone.
Staying warm during the winter months can help prevent colds, flu and even serious conditions like heart disease and hypothermia. Anyone can be at risk from the cold so preparation is key. As the frosty season tightens its grip and the clocks go back, we share our top tips to help you keep warm this winter:
- Layer Up
Layering is a great way to keep warm as the heated air becomes trapped between the layers close to your body. It’s better to wear a few thin layers than one thick one. For example, a t-shirt underneath a jumper. Combining more layers means more heat is trapped. You could also try thermal clothing like vests, leggings or tights for added warmth.
- Throw caution to the wind
What’s better than a soft snuggly blanket or throw? Blankets and throws are a necessity during the coldest winter months. You can snuggle up on the sofa with a fleece blanket and a good book or pop over your toes in bed to keep them toasty. You could also indulge in new cushions and give your room an interior design lift.
- Mission Control
Install smart energy monitors and controls to help keep you warm throughout winter. With smart controls such as programmable thermostats, Wi-Fi apps (such as the free Rointe Connect app) and thermostatic radiator valves, you are in complete control of your heating. Use these tech-savvy gadgets to program your heating to fire up 15 minutes before you’re due to arrive home. That way you’ll walk through the front door into a warm and inviting atmosphere.
- Put your feet up
Most people feel their feet turn cold first as they’re nearest to the frozen ground. Keep warm on chilly train commutes or icy days by investing in thermal lined socks. Then put your feet up when you get home and treat your feet to some fleecy sheepskin slippers… or even those penguin ones you’ve had your eye on. Plus, fun slippers also make great stocking fillers for your loved ones at Christmas.
- Draught proof
Unless your home is quite new, draughts can pose a problem. You will lose heat through chimneys, doors, windows and gaps around the floor. Choose to draught-proof your home either through a professional, which can be quite expensive, or DIY. You can purchase draught excluders to fit around your door or secondary glazing film for your window from most good DIY shops and many are easy to install. Don’t forget to draught-proof your letterbox too, it’s amazing how chilly the hallway can become from a draughty letterbox!
- Invest and insulate
Insulating your home can be expensive and so it is often overlooked, but don’t be fooled. Did you know a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home and a third is lost from the walls? Roof and cavity wall insulation is an investment worth making, especially in older properties. Many energy suppliers now provide help to get your insulation up to scratch and the UK government also have energy grants to help your home keep warm throughout winter.
- Hold it in
Shut your windows in winter. It’s an obvious one but if your heating’s on and the window is open then you’re wasting energy and money to let warm air escape and cold air in. Keep warm air in by closing windows and opening commonly used inner doors so that it can circulate around your home.
Scarves, hats, gloves, earmuffs, mittens… whatever you fancy, add a snug accessory to your outfit. You’ll never have frosty fingers again. Be bold, bright and colourful with your accessories to add some extra cheer to your day.
- Have a ball
The winter season often means we overlook exercise in favour of staying inside. However, a simple brisk 30-minute walk will boost your circulation, helping to get your blood flowing. If walking’s not your scene, try swimming, cycling or a fun activity like football. You can even get your friends involved. If you’re not a regular gym bunny, there are some great exercise DVDs you can do from the comfort of your home. Try to slot in a 30-minute exercise activity once a day to keep you healthy and happy.
- Silver linings
Line your curtains with a thermal backing. Your home can be expensive to heat so don’t lose precious warmth during winter to windows. You can stay cosy by having an insulating layer that reduces heat loss. If your curtains have a floor-length drop, then tuck them up onto the windowsill and not over your radiator. This will ensure the heat from your radiator is able to circulate through the room.
- Singing in the rain
Check the weather before you leave home. If it’s forecast to rain or snow, take an umbrella with you. It’s a horrible feeling when you’re caught in the rain, especially during a cold snap. The winter season will make your soggy feet even colder and your wet clothes won’t dry. Keep warm by thinking ahead.
- Cuddle time
Not only will a cuddle make you smile, but also skin-to-skin contact is an efficient way to share body heat. So squeeze your loved one for a few minutes every now and then for an extra warmth boost.
- Bottom’s up
When the big freeze starts to creep up, take a moment to enjoy a lovely warm drink. Whatever your choice – a frothy cappuccino, indulgent hot chocolate or a good old-fashioned cup of tea – a hot drink on a cold day is sure to warm you up in no time. It’s also a great way to socialise. So pop round to your friends or meet them in town for a coffee and a chat. Just don’t forget to order the cake too!
- Tasty treats
Eating regularly during the winter months helps to keep you warm. Whether it be fresh from the oven biscuits to hearty banana porridge or spiced pumpkin soup, try to eat at least one hot healthy meal per day. Soups, stews and casseroles are a great easy evening meal. Make them healthier by adding lots of seasonal vegetables like carrots, parsnips and artichokes. Don’t forget, after you’ve finished baking or cooking, switch the oven off but keep the door open to let the warm air circulate around your kitchen!
- Snug as a bug
Rugs are a great home accessory to take the chill away from your floor and they look stylish too. Consider investing in a colourful or patterned rug for your hard floor surfaces like tiles, laminate, wood or vinyl. The extra softness will be a treat for your feet and will help to keep your floor insulated.
- Sweet dreams
It’s a known fact that we feel colder when we’re tired. Getting a good night’s sleep could help to keep you warmer as it can improve your circulation. Enjoy a long soak in the bath before bed and a warm milky drink to help you drift off to dream world. At least after a good night’s sleep, you will be one day closer to spring.
- Furry friends
Even though your pet might have a furry coat, that doesn’t mean they won’t feel the cold too. For dogs and cats, make sure you bring them inside at night as the temperature drops. For your rabbit, insulate their hutch with plenty of hay and an old blanket across the front to keep the wind out. Whilst walking your dog, wear reflective clothing so motorists can see you both in the dark. Keep your dog on a lead near frozen water (ponds, lakes, rivers). If they do manage to jump in, please do not go after them. Never put yourself in danger. Most dogs are strong swimmers so stay back and call for help. Check out the Blue Cross winter survival guide for pets here. Just remember, if you feel the cold then your pet will too.
- Musical chairs
Why wait for spring to update your home? Rearranging your furniture during the winter months will not only give your home a fresh update but also help to keep it warmer. Relocate any furniture in front of your radiators away from them to let the warm air circulate around the room. In addition, you could bring furniture further into the room to create an intimate setting.
- Top gear
The weather can be very unpredictable and turn in the blink of an eye. One moment it’s clear skies and sunshine but the next, snow and freezing rain. Always be prepared when undertaking a car journey during the winter months. Especially if it is a long journey. Keep a snow shovel, a bottle of water, a small bag of salt and an anti-freeze spray in your car for those changeable conditions. You could also keep a spare pair of socks, gloves or a blanket in your boot, just in case of a breakdown on an icy day.
- A little help from my friends
We all need a little help sometimes and the winter season is no exception. There are many government-backed grants to help you keep warm this winter and it’s worth investigating if you’re eligible. For example, if you were born before 05/08/1953 you could get up to £300 to help towards the cost of your heating bills. This is known as the Winter Fuel Payment, but there are others such as the Cold Weather Payment and Warm Home Discount Scheme.
- Plan. Prepare. Prevent.
During the winter months, it’s important to plan for the cold season so that you can prepare and prevent illness, cold and discomfort. You can find advice on the Cold Weather Plan for England online here. Winter is also a difficult time for many people. Check on elderly neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe, well and warm. If you have any concerns contact a family member, the local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 009 966.
The winter season needn’t be a time to hibernate. Stay safe and warm during dark days and cold nights and try some of our handy hints above. Plus, why not share your own “Keep Warm” tip with us on our Facebook page.