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Low Cost Ways to Keep Warm in Winter
Generally, when you read an article about lowering heating costs you will read about sealing cracks, adding insulation, or perhaps updating your heater. Those are all important ways to lower your energy costs. They are expensive, however, and there are simple things that can be done to achieve the same purpose.
Generations of humans have lived through icy winters without the benefit of a thermostat. Like so many old fashioned skills, people have forgotten how to keep warm in the winter time. There are many strategies for beating the chill of winter.
And most of them cost very little.
Dress in Layers
We have become a society that likes to wear the same things both summer and winter. We have lost touch with the seasons and the natural cycles of the earth.
Dressing in several layers will keep your body heat in and with the right clothing you don't have to look like the snow-suited kid in A Christmas Story to do it.
Your first layer should be a lightweight material that doesn't trap perspiration from your skin. It is the wicking layer. Rather than absorbing any sweat that occurs and leaving you feeling chilled and clammy, this layer should wick the moisture away from your skin leaving it dry. Look for items made from silk, wool, or even man-made materials designed specifically as a first layer.
Your second layer is the insulation layer. It is the part that will hold in the heat and hold out the cold. A soft wool sweater or a polar fleece top will trap air between the insulation layer and the wicking layer and help to keep you warm.
If you go out then you will want an outer, or shell layer, to protect you from the elements. Other wise you may only need the two previous layers.
If it is very cold you may want a shawl to drape around your shoulders. This adds another layer of warmth. Wearing warm socks, knee socks, or even leggings will help to keep your legs and feet warm.
All those winter comfort foods like soups, stews, and casseroles do much more than just fill you up. They help to fuel up your inner thermostat and warm you from the inside out. Tossing ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning means you will be treating yourself to a steaming meal in the evening.
Eat plenty of protein to keep the metabolism fired up and burning fuel.
Eating spicy foods can heat you up as well. Chili, foods with hot peppers in them, salsa; all of these things cause your body to run hotter than normal. Having a cup of coffee or tea will also serve to warm you up.
Cayenne, Ginger, & Cinnamon
Cayenne pepper has the unique ability to heat you up whether taken internally or externally.
Taken in tincture or capsule form cayenne increases circulation to all of the parts of the body which in turn helps you to feel warmer. The powdered herb can be dusted in shoes or mitten (don;t run your eyes!) to warm up the extremities.
Cinnamon and ginger also increase circulation and so warm up the body. A cup of ginger tea, or adding cinnamon to your toast in the morning can help you stay warm all day.
How to Keep Warm in Winter
Back in the day the people used to warm sadirons, rocks, and even baked potatoes to put in the bed to warm it. While you might not have a sadiron handy the idea is stil a good one.
There is almost nothing worse than getting into a cold bed. Get the heat going before you get there with a hot water bottle or a rice bag that has been heated in the microwave. Just place the warmed item where you feet will go, under the blankets and allow to warm the bed up for about ten minutes.
You can make your own rice bag very simply by folding an oblong of flannel in half and stitching up two sides. Three sides will be closed:
- the fold
- the stiches down one side
- the stitches down the other side.
Now fill the bag with rice, not so that it is bursting at the seams but so that it is about 1/2 to 1 inch thick when lying flat. Add some lavender, eucalyptus, orange peel, rosemary, or essential oil of choice if you like. Sew up the last side, hiding your stitches.
When you want to warm your bed or soothe aching muscles just microwave it for a few minutes. It will hold heat a very long time.
Use the principle of the layering in your bed, too. Use blankets that hold in your body heat, and use more than one layer.
Get plenty of exercise to keep you blood moving and you metabolism fired up. Take a walk on a sunny afternoon, go sledding or skating, or whatever you enjoy.
As you spend more time outdoors your body will become acclimated to the cold and within a few days it will be better able to tolerate it.
It may take your body a week or so to get used to the colder temperatures but it will soon be used to them. Bodies are very flexible and they learn to work within the parameters that we give them. By following these suggestions and giving yourself some time you will find that you are quite comfortable at a lower temperature.