With winter well on its way here are a few budget-friendly tips on how to keep your home warm during those cold winter evenings.
Let the Sun Shine In
The sun is a free and natural source of warmth, especially in winter. Once the sun is up open the curtains in rooms that get sunlight and allow the sun to warm things up for you.
Close the Curtains
I know…I just told you to open them BUT as soon as dusk falls closing your curtains will help you retain heat which escapes via cold windows. Curtains aren’t just for decoration, in the winter months they play a practical role in helping keep your home warm.
Pick a Room
Decide which room you intend on spending most of your time in (e.g. the lounge) and then close the doors leading to it, that way you create a smaller, insulated space that is easier to heat and keep warm.
You should also close the doors of rooms that aren’t being used (e.g. bathrooms, bedrooms etc.) this will prevent cold air from circulating around the house.
Cover the Floors
Many South African homes have tiled floors, which are great in summer but suck up any warmth in the room in winter. Carpets and rugs, like curtains, aren’t just for decoration they too help to keep rooms warm.
Seal Any Leaks
Check your windows and doors for gaps that allow cold air to creep in through and warm air to escape.
A cheap and effective way of stopping cold air sneaking in from under doors is by using a “door snake” or door draft stopper, these can be bought ready made or you can easily make your own:
- The Pool Noodle Draft Stopper – cut a pool noodle in half, insert it into a pillow case or sheet, secure the noodle to the fabric with a safety pin and it’s ready to use.
- The Stocking Draft Stopper – cut the leg off of an old pair of stocking or tights, stuff it like a sausage with old pillow stuffing, scrap material, other old stockings or socks, even shredded paper, tie a knot at the open end and place it in front of your door.
Allen, P. (2014). Make an Under-the-Door Draft Blocker with a Pool Noodle. Retrieved from: http://lifehacker.com/make-an-under-the-door-draft-blocker-with-a-pool-noodle-1660816290?utm_campaign=socialflow_lifehacker_facebook&utm_source=lifehacker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Anderberg, J. (2014). 13 Ways to Keep you House Warmer this Winter. Retrieved from: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/11/14/how-to-keep-your-house-warm-in-the-winter/ [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Heyden, T. (2013). 14 Low-Tech Ways to Keep your House Warm Over Winter. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24757144 [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Winter has arrived and with it comes cold and flu season. There are a few things you can do to keep yourself and your home healthy this winter.
Rub-a-Dub & Scrub
Common winter ailments such as colds, flu and gastroenteritis (aka the stomach flu) are spread by germs on your hands. Frequently washing your hands, wiping down surfaces that get touched often (e.g. cell phones, remote controls, door handles) and covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing are all ways of avoiding getting sick and spreading illness.
You Are What You Eat
Winter time is synonymous with comfort food and eating but are you getting the immune boosting nutrients you need from that bowl of rich and gooey mac ‘n cheese?
Regardless of the time of year, you need to keep eating healthy in order to keep your immune system strong. Foods high in vitamin C will help boost your immune system include fresh fruits like: oranges, naartjies, kiwi fruit, and vegetables like: green peppers and broccoli.
It’s also important to keep hydrated during winter, so keep that water bottle out and full all year round, not just during summer.
As tempting as your couch, blanket and tv are during those cold winter nights, being social helps strengthen your immune system by reducing stress levels and keeping you active.
So instead of binge watching the latest “It” series, why not invite friends over for a games evening or dinner or warm up with a walk around the local park or shopping centre with your partner or family.
Catch Some Zzzzzzz’s
Lack of sleep can deplete your immune system leaving you more susceptible to catching colds and flu.
Spoil yourself on cold winter nights with a relaxing bedtime routine – have a warm bath or shower, warm your bed with a hot water bottle, switch off your tv, computer, tablet and cell phone at least an hour before you climb into bed, this will allow melatonin (the sleep hormone) to do its job and help you get a good nights sleep.
Conville, N. (2011). 5 Steps to Staying Healthy in Winter. Retrieved from: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health-advice/5-steps-to-staying-healthy-in-winter/news-story/df8b268bf97e2b2d7c8165c5799b13aa. [Accessed: 05 July 2016]
SA Health. (2015). Keeping Healthy this Winter. Retrieved from: http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/healthy+living/top+tips+for+healthy+living/keeping+healthy+this+winter. [Accessed: 05 July 2016]
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Attending lectures during the winter months can be challenging especially if you are not dressed and prepared for the weather. Here are some ideas for keeping warm on campus this winter.
Layers of warmth
Insulate your body against heat loss by wearing layers of clothing:
- Start off with a base layer that lies next to your skin and helps regulate your temperature e.g. vest, long johns, tights, thermal underwear
- Next you have an insulating layer which helps retain warmth by trapping air close to your body e.g. jersey, fleece, thick shirt or top
- Finally you have a shell or outer layer which protects you from wind and rain e.g. jacket, body warmer, rain coat
Head, Hands and Feet
Also known as your extremities, these parts of your body tend to get cold the easiest during winter because when the temperature drops, your body instinctively keeps your core warm because that is where all your vital organs are. Thus the blood vessels in your fingers, toes, ears and nose constrict in order to limit circulation to these parts.
The best way to keep your extremities warm is to dress them warmly, so either get knitting or else go get yourself a warm scarf, beanie, socks and gloves. And don’t forget your shoes – closed shoes with a thick sole that can be worn with socks (like trainers or boots) are best for cold winter days.
For those of you who like to craft here are some ideas for making your own gloves and hand warmers:
- How to make fingerless gloves from a sock: http://alldaychic.com/fingerless-gloves-made-from-socks-diy/
- How to make pocket sized hand warmers from a sock – these are filled with dry rice or beans, you microwave the little packet for 40 – 50 seconds and they will keep your hands warm and toasty on cold days: https://www.tescoliving.com/articles/easy-diy-hand-warmers
- Easy knit fingerless gloves: http://snailpacetransformations.com/simple-to-knit-fingerless-gloves/
Tea for Two
You are just as susceptible to dehydration during winter as you are in summer, so keep hydrated and warm with a cup of tea. Drinking tea counts towards your daily water intake and spiced teas like ginger or cinnamon will also help to warm you up.
Although coffee and alcohol may leave you feeling warmer for a bit, neither count towards your water intake. The caffeine in coffee is what gives you that initial warm feeling as it stimulates your metabolism and so your body starts to burn fuel; too much caffeine however can also result in headaches, restlessness, heart palpitations, nervousness and insomnia. Alcohol, besides the fact that it is not allowed on campus, may give you a rush of warmth but this is caused by the dilatation of the peripheral blood vessels near your skin, meaning your blood and warmth leaves the core of your body. So you may feel warm in the short-term but it is difficult to maintain your core body temperature and your risk of hypothermia increases.
Buying tea on campus or from restaurants can quickly add up. Why not consider buying yourself a flask and filling it each morning with your favourite tea to sip on throughout the day or even a nice soup for lunch.
All Day Chic. (2013). Fingerless Gloves Made From Socks – DIY. Retrieved from: http://alldaychic.com/fingerless-gloves-made-from-socks-diy/ [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Drink Aware. (n.d.). Alcohol and Cold Weather. Retrieved from: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/staying-safe-while-drinking/alcohol-and-cold-weather/ [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Hillman, Z. (2016). 7 Food and Drinks Scientifically Proven to Warm You Up (and One That Won’t). Retrieved from: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/staying-safe-while-drinking/alcohol-and-cold-weather/ [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Popsugar. (2009). What’s the Deal with Cold Hands and Feet?. Retrieved from: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Why-Your-Toes-Fingers-Always-Cold-Winter-2849454 [Accessed on: 05 July 2016].
Snails Pace Transformations. (2013). Simple to Knit Fingerless Gloves. Retrieved from: https://www.tescoliving.com/articles/easy-diy-hand-warmers [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Styles, S. (n.d.). Foods to Eat in Cold Temperatures. Retrieved from: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-eat-cold-temperatures-2240.html [Accessed on: 05 July 2016]
Tesco Living. (n.d.). Easy DIY Hand Warmers. Retrieved from: https://www.tescoliving.com/articles/easy-diy-hand-warmers [Accessed on: 06 July 2016]
Tischler, S. (2015). Layering Basics. Retrieved from: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/layering-basics.html [Accessed on: 05 July 2016].
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