Hibernation is boring, but I might have considered it once or twice when the winter chill has set in. In fact, I’m a fully signed up fan of Autumn and Winter (as long as it stays dry). One of the things I have come to notice is how easy it is to flip that switch from off to on, to reach for the app on your phone and put the temperature up a degree or two. We all want that cosy feeling, we’ve all read endlessly about Hygge and isn’t winter just about burying in and waiting for the thaw? Actually yes but no. When the temperatures plummet, and your breath starts to cloud the air, it’s time to arm yourself against the cold. You need to know how to beat the chill and there are some simple steps you can take.
While we might not be experiencing an energy crisis, energy bills have risen by 28% over the past three years according to the regulator Ofgem. What’s interesting though is that you might be feeling the cold more than the next person. Your age, gender and even your location may well have an impact on how chilly you feel. It might not come as a surprise to hear that women feel the cold more but did you know it’s because of oestrogen. Apparently, it makes our skin more sensitive. Our circulation grows weaker over time meaning that as we get older, we feel the cold more. So I must be about 142 then. Also if you’ve just returned from a balmier climate, you’ll notice the temperature more.
There are ways to beat the chill without turning up your heating, and they don’t involve shivering on the sofa. Some of them are even fun! Did you know that you can learn to tolerate the cold? Studies have suggested that people who are regularly exposed to the cold adapt over time to accommodate their environment. In fact, my friend Annie only posted today on Instagram about wild swimming in 7C. Brrrrr.
I’m not going to suggest you go to such lengths but doing some gentle exercise makes you warmer. One guaranteed way to make me feel warmer at home is actually to go out and walk the dog. Taking Milo for a yomp to the park means when I get home the house feels much warmer than when I left. It’s an essential how to beat the chill activity.
Invest in some good wool base layers or underwear. My favourites are by Icebreaker and Finisterre, but you can get wool base layers pretty much everywhere now. They offer proper temperature regulation and breathability. When you layer your clothing, you keep warm, and these layers do not need to be bulky either. The reasons layering works is that you form air pockets between each layer of clothes which insulates your body heat.
I never need an excuse for a hearty bowl of soup, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that hot food makes you warm. Starting the day with a hearty high energy food like porridge will “warm you from the inside” as my Mum liked to say. If like me you dislike porridge and it’s dark when you wake up for work it’s too easy to skip it for a hot cup of tea or coffee. Eating though is what keeps you warmer for long and while you may be less inclined to make a “real breakfast” it is worth it. Eggs are worth the effort, and so are pancakes in my book.
Snuggling up is the ultimate warming experience. Pile up the blankets and by all means, invite your loved ones to get a little closer. This includes your dog! Milo is my number 1 heating tip. He sits on my lap when I work from home (it’s sometimes awkward to type, but I always have a warm lap) and when it’s time to snuggle on the sofa he’s a heat-seeking missile under a blanket by my thighs.
Yes, it’s dull but true, good home insulation will help beat the winter chill. As will double glazing but beware of mini draughts from letterboxes, the catflap and your loft hatch/door. Remember to use insulating tape around these too.
This is a sponsored partnership with British Gas, but all views are my own. If you’d like to work with me find out more on my ABOUT ME page.