How to be Warm in Cold Winter Months
How to keep warm in winter and avoid suffering (maybe even dying) from the cold? Well, it’s no secret that the climate’s changing – winters are getting colder and colder every year. These days, snow, winds and freezing temperatures are hitting many European countries where most people never experienced such severe weather before. For example, last year (2012) many countries were unprepared and affected so badly by freezing temperatures and heavy snow that many services stopped working and people died:
United Kingdom – in February temperatures in England fell between −11.8C (10.8F) and −15.6C (3.9F);
Italy – temperatures plummeted to −21C (−6F) on February 7, in the north of the country. At least 54 people died.
Denmark – on the morning of February 5, the lowest temperature in Denmark for 25 years was recorded in Odense… -23,1C (−9F).
Greece – temperatures plummeted to −25C (−13F) in the northwest city of Florina. Many homeless people froze to death.
Spain – Palma, Majorca registered the most important snow episode since 1956. In Catalonia, heavy snowfall and winds of 175 km/h (109 mph) were reported in Portbou as temperatures dropped to −23C (−9F). (Source Wikipedia)
And it’s only the middle of winter so the coldest weather could still be ahead of us! So, I’ve collected some tips on How to be warm in winter, that won’t break the bank, and should help you to survive the freezing temperatures outside, and even inside, your own home.
1. Wear warm clothes.
- Wool is your best defense against freezing temperatures. Wear a sweater, tights or pants, a hat, a scarf, socks and mittens made primarily of wool. Wool retains body heat the best.
A fleece is also good for keeping you warm.
- Always wear several layers of clothes – thin first – thermal underwear, vest, shirt, or tights; thick second – sweater, jeans or pants; two pairs of socks (thin socks underneath and thicker on top).
- Mittens keep your hands warm better than gloves.
- Wear a hat and scarf (or neck warmer), and make sure the hat covers your ears.
- Wear a water- and wind-proof puffer jacket with a hood when outside. Also if it’s really freezing, a fur coat and hat would keep you warm much better, but could be very expensive to buy and fur may not appeal to everyone.
- Wear warm, waterproof boots. Felt boots with rubber soles are excellent and Russia’s #1
choice against the freezing temperatures when working outside, though they aren’t very attractive.
Fur-lined, leather boots will also keep your feet warm. Boots made from natural materials are best and will also prevent your feet from sweating, but will be more expensive.
Inner Soles in your shoes & boots will also keep your feet warmer. One of my friends uses the chepest panty liners in her boots instead of inner soles. It sounds funny, but she claims that it helps her feet from getting cold and wet.
2. Eat and drink well
- Eat hot meals and soups in winter as much as possible – porridges, stews, more meat and oily fish. Don’t be afraid to “spice it up a bit” by adding some chilli peppers to your dishes.
- Do not go outside on a empty stomach – always eat some food before leaving home.
- Drink hot beverages, hot milk, especially tea with ginger or lemon and some honey.
- Don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol. Some Europeans drink Gluhwein (a hot, spiced wine), but not too much. Russians like to drink 40% vodka, though it’s not recommended by doctors. However, many believe that it helps against the cold, especially vodka with added pepper.
3. Your face is the most unprotected part of your body in winter, unless you wear a ski mask, so it needs special care. Before leaving your home, put some cream on your face for protection from the cold and wind. Ask in the shop for special winter protective creams. Do not use moisturisers in winter! Use foundation and loose powder all over your face. Also use lipstick to protect your lips. You can also use some protective creams for your feet and hands.
4. Outside, try to keep moving as much as you can. If you’re in the cold for too long (waiting for bus, for example), don’t be tempted to sit at the bus stop if it’s freezing and don’t close your eyes! – you’ll get cold very quickly if you aren’t careful and might even freeze, so jump around a little and keep moving your fingers, toes and face muscles to prevent frost bite.
5. Don’t talk more than you have to when outside, and try to breathe just through your nose as it helps to retain energy and heat.
6. Take some vitamins in winter, especially vitamin C and A, which help your immune system and protect your skin.
7. Try not to wear metal jewellery in winter.
8. Avoid driving in snow, especially if you don’t have winter tyres.
9. If you can’t avoid driving your car, wear warm clothes anyway, take some blankets with you, chemical hand warmers and a thermos containing a hot beverage (tea). In Winter, anything can happen to your car – it can break down at any moment or you might get stuck in traffic for hours…
10. Never touch anything metal in freezing weather unless you’re wearing gloves. In particular, avoid the urge to touch something metal with your tongue – it sounds funny but you would not believe it how many people (adults, not just kids!) do it. Your skin can stick to the metal surface in seconds and require medical assistance to get you free!
11. If you’re outside for a long time and get very cold, avoid putting your hands into hot/warm water or touching radiators when you come home as you can easily cause burns to your skin. Instead, change your cloths, wrap up in a blanket and drink hot tea with ginger or lemon.
12. How to be warm in the house – save heat by keeping all doors and windows closed.
13. At home, close shutters, blinds and window curtains at night. If it’s too cold or windy, cover windows and doors with blankets, but take it all off during the day to let the sun in and prevent mould.
14. If you don’t have heated floors, put rugs on areas of bare floor. In Russia, people also hang carpets on their walls – it’s not just for decorations but also to keep the heat in the room.
15. Bake more often and leave the oven door open after cooking (be careful if you have small children!)
16. Switch to flannel sheets – they’re soft and keep you warm very well. You can also use electrical blankets.
17. When you don’t use your fireplace, keep the flue closed to prevent heat loss.
18. If it’s too cold inside your home then wear a few layers of clothes - cover your neck & head, and wear gloves, socks and slippers. Sleep in pajamas and use heating pads and/or hot water bottles to keep yourself warm. Try to move more too – a little exercise can really help.
19. Light candles and cuddle your spouse. It’s not just romantic but the heat from two bodies will keep you both warm, and candles make you feel “cozy” as well as producing some heat.
20. If there’s a heating problem in your house then try to stay in one room with all the members of your family – and don’t forget about your animals! Snuggle up with your dog or cat for extra warmth.
I hope my tips on How to be Warm in Winter will help you to survive the severest of cold days. I lived in Siberia for some time and experienced temperatures between -10C (14F) and -45C (-49F), so all my tips are based on my own experiences, however, if you have any concerns then consult your doctor or a specialist before following any tips in this article.
Stay Warm, Be Safe and Thank you for reading.
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