The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for Winter
As summer draws to its end, we’re still living in a somewhat uncertain world. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, a realistic vaccine isn’t yet on the cards, new restrictions are being imposed as numbers rise, and none of us really know what to expect. But we do know that winter is coming. It’s already getting dark earlier, the leaves are falling from the trees, school is back in session, and the last few sunny days are upon us. It’s about to get cold.
Typically, this might mean getting cosy with a pumpkin spice latte, going Christmas shopping with friends and enjoying meals out with family in preparation for the holidays. This year, we don’t know if any of those things will be allowed. We don’t know if there’ll be Christmas parties, or if shops and restaurants will be able to stay open as they currently are.
Preparing for winter is always essential. It keeps your home comfortable (and affordable), protects your health and helps you to enjoy the season. This year, those preparations might be more important than ever. Let’s take a look at all of the things that you need to think about before winter hits.
Give Yourself a Health MOT
How’s your health? If you can go into winter fit and healthy, you’ve got a better chance of avoiding severe coughs, colds and any other bugs that might be doing the rounds (yes, even COVID-19).
You might have been putting off visiting the doctors over the last few months, even if you were due routine checks or struggling with symptoms. This is the time to do something about that. If you need to see a doctor, check online for any restrictions your surgery has in place, or phone up for a chat before heading in, but don’t put it off.
Aside from that, ask yourself how you are feeling. Are you getting enough sleep? Exercising? Eating well? Are you stressed out or depressed? Honestly, how do you feel? If you need help with anything, ask for it.
Get into Good Exercise Habits
Your exercise habits might have already been forced to change this year if your usual gym or health centre has been closed. But, in winter they might have to change again. If you typically exercise outdoors, while it is still ok to do so in the winter as long as you stay warm and it is safe, you might find that you start to use the weather as an excuse to stay home.
Find some great home workouts that you enjoy, or take a look at returning to the gym, and cold weather never has to be an excuse.
You might not always feel like exercising over winter, but remember, a little exercise can improve your cardiovascular health, boost your immunity and take care of your mental health. It could even help you to keep warm.
Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system is always working to protect you from illness, but this becomes more obvious in winter when sickness is more prevalent. So, sometimes, it needs a boost. Getting a flu vaccination is an excellent idea so that you’ve got one less thing to worry about but boosting your immune system by changing your diet could keep colds at bay. Some of the foods that you could eat more of to raise immunity include:
- Citrus fruits
Generally speaking, eating a well-balanced diet, with plenty of vitamins and minerals, and drinking lots of water can help a lot.
Prepare for Further COVID-19 Restrictions
Restrictions seem to change all of the time, both locally and nationally, and there’s no guarantee that what you can do will be the same in a week, as it is right now. Make sure you are always aware of the restrictions in place in your area, that you wear a mask in enclosed spaces, wash your hands regularly, and generally do your best to adhere to social distancing. Be prepared for further changes as the year progresses and get used to the idea of staying at home more as we enter the colder months.
Find Some New Hobbies
If you are going to be spending more time at home, you might be ready to try some new hobbies. Having already spent a vast amount of time indoors, you might be getting a little bored of some of the old ones. Playing online games like Fantasy Football can be a great way of passing the time and give your social life a bit of a boost when you can’t go out. Other home-based hobbies you could try include arts and crafts, baking, gaming and learning to play an instrument.
Get Your Winter Wardrobe Ready
Check through your winter wardrobe now to make sure you’ve got everything that you need before you need it. Paying particular attention to making sure you’ve got a hat and gloves, a waterproof coat and good boots.
Prepare Your Home
Your home keeps you warm through the winter, but if it’s not efficient, this can increase your heating bills massively. If you don’t want the choice between large bills and a cold house, here’s a look at some of the ways to prepare your home for a cold snap.
Check Windows and Doors
Our windows and doors get a lot of use. It’s no surprise that over time they become damaged, or the seals lose quality. Check now, to make sure no cold air can get in, and make repairs or book replacements if you need to.
Get Your Boiler Serviced
The majority of boiler breakdowns occur during the first few cold weeks of the season. Boilers haven’t been used for months, so we don’t know if anything is wrong until it’s too late. Get yours serviced now, and you’ll know it’s going to keep your home warm all season. You should also check radiators and bleed them if necessary.
Add Some Texture
Simple things like hanging thicker curtains, adding a high pile rug, and adding soft furnishings like blankets and cushions can help to keep your house warm and cosy.
Set Your Heating Timer
Your heating has probably been off for months, but if you use a timer, now is the perfect time to set it to suit your needs. Using a smart thermostat can help to keep your home at the right temperature while ensuring you never spend more than you need to.
Clean the Gutters
This is also a great time to clean gutters and check your roof, to make sure bad weather can’t cause any damage, or leaks, which could cause costly damage to your house.
Check Outdoor Lights
In the summer we don’t need outdoor lights. In winter, they can help us to stay safe. Check yours now, cleaning them and changing bulbs where you need to. If you haven’t already, switching to solar can be an excellent option.
If your home isn’t already insulated, you might be losing lots of heat (and so money) out of your walls and roof. Add insulation, and even lower budget options like homemade draught excluders before it’s too late.
Service Your Car
A car in poor condition can become dangerous on icy or wet roads, or when visibility is poor. Check tyre pressure and fluid levels book in for a service and consider winter tyres if you live in an area with particular treacherous roads.
The sooner you prepare for winter, this year more than ever, the more chance you’ve got not only of staying healthy, but also of being able to enjoy the coming holidays, cosy nights, and everything else that wintertime has to offer.