As the cold season is quickly approaching, we are reminded of the joys of the Christmas holidays and wonderful snow activities we can partake in. However, winter has its own downside: the extra low temperatures that cause serious physical discomfort, unless of course you have spent most of your life in Siberia.
To combat the negative effects of the cold, you can employ a variety of simple tricks that will definitely help you overcome the physical discomfort and potential seasonal illnesses like the flu or the common cold.
1. Make sure that your heating system is fully functional before winter
The probability that the first winter days will catch you by surprise – considering the unpredictable climate changes nowadays – is quite high. However, if you perform the regular maintenance on your heating system and verify that all components are in working condition before the cold weather hits, then you have nothing to worry about. Irrespective of whether you have an A/C unit, a fireplace or portable room heaters, all you need to do is turn them on when the temperature inside drops bellow your comfort threshold. Otherwise, you might have to put up with the cold until you can get a hold of a contractor, which is more difficult than you think during holidays.
2. Wear comfy wool socks at all times
Our body’s extremities – the hands, feet, ears, etc. – transfer the heat to the rest of the body in order to maintain the organs within a normal temperature range. However, in the process, they are also the first to lose heat. Therefore, during the cold season it is highly advisable to wear fluffy wool socks on your feet and gloves/earmuffs when you go outside in order to prevent heat from escaping. Scarves are also great in preventing a sore or swollen throat resulted from an extensive cold exposure.
3. Insulate the windows and install thicker curtains
Cracks in the window frame as well as the windows themselves are responsible for a great deal of wasted heat via the indoors-outdoors air transfer. The optimal solution to minimize the transfer – at least aside from nailing them shut with wooden boards, which is a bit too radical unless you are also expecting a zombie apocalypse this winter – is to weatherproof the windows by applying a sealant solution. At the same time, the thick curtains are ideal for minimizing the heat transfer between the cold glass and the air in the room.
4. Homemade seasonal beverages work miracles
Spiced hot wine, Sbiten (a traditional Russian beverage sweetened with honey), lemon ginger infusions, warm tea and hot chocolate are all excellent ways to warm up. At the same time, these beverages are very useful in treating the common sore throat sensation.
5. Soups for the soul
Soups, and particularly the hot and spicy varieties, are mandatory aliments during the cold season. While you might be less tempted to indulge in this culinary creation when the temperatures outside exceed 100 degrees, the soups’ curative and warming properties make them an excellent addition to your winter diet.
6. Exercising is the best way to get your blood pumping
It might seem that exercising is the very last thing you want to do – apart from getting out of bed and back in the cruel frozen world – but they are in fact quite productive in maintaining an optimal body temperature. During an exercise session, the metabolic rate increases and so does the blood circulation, which means that you will fill warmer within minutes. At the same time, workouts are great at counteracting the seasonal metabolic rate decrease, which is the main factor responsible for putting on the “winter pounds”.
7. Hot water bottles might be the extra portable heater you need
Arguably the best innovation in history – you will probably agree with this statement more when winter is upon you – the hot water bottle is the solution you need to supplement the capabilities of your heating system or winter clothing. The best thing about it is that, within a few seconds, you can have your personal, portable radiator that will keep you cozy for at least half an hour or more.
8. The programmable thermostat is an excellent tool for temperature control
In addition to the cold, the substantial increase of the heating bill constitutes another winter related issue that you cannot ignore. However, you could reduce the cost of the bill by installing a programmable thermostat. The abilities of this utility to increase/reduce the temperature in your home as needed will allow you to make full use of the heating system when you are in the house and take it down a notch when you are away, without turning the place into a frozen wonderland. In addition, pre-programmable thermostats promote an energy efficient, environmental friendly lifestyle model.
9. Make sure that your home’s not venting out heat via ancient switches/outlets
While the windows are the most evident heat-loss source, you should not ignore the electrical outlets and switches either, especially if they’re very old. Cracks in the plastic and the worn out drywall around the circuitry constitute a potent venting source for the hot air to escape and generate drafts. In order to insulate them, all you really need is expanding foam that will be introduced in the fissures in order to create an airtight seal.
10. Winterizing your organism to maintain your health
If you have done everything to prepare your home for the upcoming cold airwaves, then you should do the same with your body. This time of year vitamins are more important than ever, so make sure that your diet contains optimal quantities of all necessary nutrients. Furthermore, proper hydration, sunshine and social activities are required to maintain a positive physical and mental health state. It might not be apparent, but depression or being sick accentuate – and are accentuated by – the symptoms of cold. Therefore, you need to think positive in order to break out of the vicious circle and transcend the adversity of the weather. Think about all the wonderful winter activities you could participate in, rather than sitting in bed under a pile of blankets!