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Staying warm and cosy over Christmas

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With Christmas just a few weeks away, the long nights have settled in and temperatures have dropped. It’s important to take extra care of ourselves and our loved ones during the colder months to ensure we’re all well prepared for a comfortable and healthy winter.

Every year, we face new challenges as winter approaches. 2020 brought the pandemic, imposing various restrictions and lifestyle changes on so many people. Earlier this year, a combination of oil prices and driver shortages meant rises in the price of fuel. This has ultimately left many concerned about their heating this winter.

More recently, the effects of Storms Arwen and Barra have left people without power in some parts of the country. While most have recovered from storm damage by now, going several days without power has had a significant effect on those impacted.

Following the pandemic, many of us have adapted to new ways of taking care of ourselves and those closest to us. To make things a bit more difficult, though, the emergence of the new “Omicron” variant now means that some restrictions are being brought back over the winter.

Keep active to fight the blues

All of the recent hardships can have a draining effect on mental health, making things seem much gloomier than they are. It doesn’t help that the shorter daylight hours of winter often contribute to lower levels of mood and motivation.

Whilst it’s incredibly tempting to stay under a blanket as much as possible, you can greatly improve your outlook by doing a few simple things. To combat those winter blues, throw the curtains wide open to bring as much natural light inside throughout the day.

In addition, try to make a conscious decision each day to be a bit more active. You don’t necessarily have to go outside for a walk to get your daily dose of exercise. Keep yourself busy with household jobs or try a few leg lifts and stretches while sitting down. Not only does regular movement give you a positive mental boost, it helps to keep muscles and joints active as well as warming up your body.

Warmth at home

Warmth during the winter months is vital, so staying at home as much as possible certainly has its advantages. While you’ll primarily avoid coming into contact with others and reduce the risk of virus transmission, staying indoors means steering clear of the plummeting temperatures and harsh weather conditions.

It’ll be tempting to turn the heating up a lot, but be careful not to put to much strain on your energy bills. Try to maintain a comfortable temperature of around 20°C throughout the day – this is easily managed using a thermostat if your home is fitted with one.

If you still feel a bit chilly at times, rather than whack the heating up further, wear additional layers like a wool cardigan or fleece around the home. These fabrics are especially good at retaining body heat and trapping that heat between layers, keeping you warm and cosy.

Hearty meals are also key contributors to keeping yourself feeling warm and well. Whether you’re looking after yourself or helping a loved one, healthy soups and stews packed with lots of vegetables can be made in large quantities. This makes them ideal for sharing straight away or freezing in batches for later.

All in all, we could be in for a difficult winter for all sorts of different reasons – from the typical drop in temperatures to increased coronavirus restrictions and even harsher weather conditions.

By taking care of one another – particularly those who are more vulnerable or likely to be alone over the Christmas period – we can ensure we all have a warm, happy and healthy winter in spite of any hardships that come our way.