How to stay warm in winter
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on a mission to figure out how to stay warm in winter. I feel the cold and don’t like it at all! I also live in a house that was built in 1914 and although we’ve done our best to insulate it, it rarely gets toasty.
When my aunt, who normally lives in India, asked my advice on staying warm during these winter months, I wrote her a long e-mail sharing my thoughts. She wrote back and said, “This should be a blog article, loads of people would find this helpful!”, and so here it is. In this post, I will share with you my best tips to stay warm in winter
How to stay warm with your clothing
It’s much easier and takes less energy to stay warm than to get warm, so notice when you’re getting cold before it happens.
Layers layers layers! Thin, tight, thermal layers are better than several big but looser jumpers or fleeces. This it’s somewhat counterintuitive I think. Covering your midriff with a long vest is important. I have also found that when I’m going out in really cold weather, it helps to wear a midriff warmer like this. If you get lower back soreness, use one of the disposable charcoal ones that will generate heat for 12 hours.
I always start with a string vest and then layer up from there to thermal base layers. I actually think some of the synthetic options like this are pretty good here as you can layer them up and they do seem to be effective. And they wash and dry quickly too.
For mid layer, cashmere is the warmest and delivers the best warmth to thickness ratio. Yes, it’s expensive but you can buy second hand on Ebay. I only have one cashmere jumper that I bought on Ebay but I wear it all the time in the winter. It doesn’t seem to need much washing because it’s naturally antibacterial and is so warm.
One little word of warning though: beware of moths as soon as it gets to spring though (you generally don’t need to worry about these in the winter) and put precious woollens wrapped up in the freezer. Moths love natural fibres like cashmere and putting the jumper in a plastic bag in the freezer for at least two weeks will kill any larvae.
For your top layer, and by this I mean your coat, or body warmer when in the house, I have found down-filled to be the warmest. Much warmer than wool. It’s like wearing a duvet!
The neck is like the thermometer of the body so always make sure that’s covered, again with a tight layer like this, even in the house. Then when you go out, put your thick scarf over the top.
I hope that hats, gloves and warm woollen socks are all obvious additions to stay warm in winter.
Boots, always boots in winter. I found some amazing Romika insulated ones.
How to stay warm when working from home
When sitting, put a hot water bottle against your lower back and a blanket or another hot water bottle on your knees. Standing generates more heat, which is where standing for some of your meetings or even having a standing desk can be really helpful.
As with our bodies, it’s easier and much more energy efficient to keep the house warm than to let it get cold and then have to warm it up. The best way to do this is with a thermostat that controls your boiler.
It’s much more efficient to have the boiler on a lower setting for longer than it is to whack it on high for a couple of hours a day.
I’ve experimented with this myself; having the house at 21 degrees for a few hours a day versus 17 or 18 degrees for 15 hours a day and the latter is much more efficient and more comfortable to live in. In the same vein, have a night time temperature of no less than 12-14 degrees.
Our old boiler needed replacing recently and I consulted energy efficiency experts, The Heating Hub, and they confirmed this. They were excellent and advised us on the best balance of warmth and energy efficiency.
Several pillar candles in holders can add a surprising amount of warmth and are an effective way to slightly boost the ambient temperature. Similarly, have warm woollen blankets scattered around the house so that if you get cold you can wrap one around you.
Here are my final few tips:
- In the winter, always always dry wet hair immediately.
- Always have your drinks hot, never cold. Hot drinks are your friend!
- Eat more fat in winter. Soups and spices are your friend, add extra fat to soup. Fat doesn’t’ make you fat (but that’s another post)
- At the first sign of a cold, make a big batch of warming chai tea to drink. You can find the recipe for this at my previous blog post.