To Drive the Cold Winter Away

To Drive the Cold Winter Away

People tend to turn up the heat when they feel cold, not when it is cold. Here are some tips to help you feel warmer all over and spend less on heating your home between now and springtime.

Cover your windows unless they are in direct sunlight. It is significantly colder next to the average window than the reading on the thermostat.

Don't go barefoot. With most types of heating, your floor is also a lot colder than the reading on the thermostat. Take care of your feet and the rest of you will feel more comfortable. Thick socks or fleecy slippers are best.

If you have to sit for a long time in a cold room--working at your computer, for instance--warm up with a mug of hot tea before reaching for the thermostat. There are a zillion flavors, most cheap, all free of junk calories. I like caffeine-free orange spice myself.

Stay cozy! Cover your lap with a thick blanket and encourage your cat to sit there and "make bread" for as long as she likes. Wear socks to bed; no, it isn't sexy, but it's warm. Burrow down into the bedclothes the way you used to do when you were little and afraid of monsters: sleep with the sheet up around your eyebrows. Put on a hat before you go into your unheated basement to do laundry. Speaking of laundry--if possible, arrange to put on at least one of the day's garments fresh out of the dryer. If you know you'll probably get wet today, leave a fresh set of clothes near a heat vent and change as soon as you come home--and don't forget to dry your wet gloves and boot liners. DO NOT go out of the house with a wet head if you can possibly help it; chilling the major heat-radiating area of your body early in the day can leave you feeling cold all day long.

Serve meals that heat your belly. Oatmeal, soup, potatoes, yams, melted cheese, spicy foods, fatty meats, and dry legumes all tend to keep a person feeling warmer longer. If you use a slow cooker, you can eat a hot meal as soon as you come in from the cold. If you use an oven, leave the door open after you turn it off and let the residual heat radiate into the kitchen. (Parents: this is a good spot to put a baby gate.)

Keep an eye on the little ones. Be especially vigilant with babies too small to get themselves out of a draft. Don't ever leave them on the floor. Keep infants close, day and night; if possible, wear them in a sling or chest pack or have them with you in bed or a sidecar right next to the bed. This way you can share body heat (a little baby is as warm as a loaf of fresh bread) and be able to check them for overheating or chilling before things get serious. The tiniest babies will need hats 24 hours a day because they lose an enormous amount of heat out of those coconut heads--but don't wrap them up like mummies because they do need to lose some heat.

For anybody who can reach the thermostat, the rule is: If your fingers and/or nose feel cold, then you really are cold and you can turn up the heat JUST FAR ENOUGH to click on the furnace. Otherwise, go get a sweater.

I really do heart my room!

I really do heart my room!

This is the view when you first walk in

This is the view when you first walk in

Perhaps they’ll make me happy this year.

Perhaps they’ll make me happy this year.

cantaloupe

cantaloupe

ikea, red & white

ikea, red & white

Request!

Request!