Last summer, I posted some great ways to save money, save energy, and save the environment during the summer. This winter I decided to write a similar post in regard to staying warm during the winter.  So, without further adieu, here are my tips for a warm and healthy winter!:

  1. Sleep or Cuddle with a Warm Water Sack: Warm water pouches, that you can buy a variety of styles and colored covers for, get filled with hot water and create little personal heat pouches for you to sleep with.
  2. Drink Warm Drinks: Warm drinks don’t just feel good in the moment, they actually increase your body temperature. Sip warm tea or water throughout the day to heat up from the inside out.   Try out herbal teas for added health benefits!
  3. Natural Heat: Everyone knows that running the heater all day and night can get pricey, and isn’t exactly energy efficient.  If you have a fireplace, or access to creating a bonfire, a natural wood fire is the best bet for saving money and energy this year.  Note: Closing the vent of the fireplace is even more efficient.
  4. Keep Your Blinds and Curtains Closed: even for those of us with newer two pane windows, hot air still manages to escape out of them. If you have older windows, usually single pane, the heat escape is even more extreme. This can be limited by just closing your blinds and/or curtains. If you have both, close both. This can be somewhat dark and depressing if you do not have an abundance of lighting in your home, but at least do it while you are away to hold some of the hot air in.
  5. Eat Warm Foods: When possible, try to eat foods that are naturally warming and heating.  Perfect examples are hot soup, ginger and chili. These produce the same effect as warm and hot drinks, heating the body internally.
  6. Wear Layers: I know, I know, this seems simple enough — but you would be surprised how many people forget how easy it is to wear warm pj’s or thermals over the usual next-to-nothing ensemble in bed. Often, its just a force of habit; we don’t stop to think of putting on something warmer instead of driving up the heater’s temperature — burning energy (and $) all night!
  7. Use an Electric Heating Blanket: This is not always a preferred option because of the lack of mobility, but if you choose to purchase one, it can be a great energy saver and one of the most warming options available.  For those that like electric blankets, this is a great option for you.  You can stay toasty warm at little to no cost, while comfortably relaxing or working in your computer chair, sofa or bed.
  8. Turn the Fan on In Reverse: WOW, this was a new idea for me when I first heard it!  Apparently, ceiling fans are actually year-round appliances.  If you keep it on low and set it to spin the opposite direction than usual, the air will be pushed up, pushing cold air up and warm air down.
  9. Have People Over: It seems silly to have a group of people over when your house is cold and you don’t feel moving, but body heat is one of the most effective ways of heating a room. The more people you have over, the warmer it will get — and the more fun you will have distracting yourself from the weather outside!
  10. Leave the Oven Open: Once you are done with your cooking or baking, leave the oven open so that the heat can help to warm the house instead of just being wasted in the oven space.
  11. Seal All Areas of Draft: This isn’t as necessary in newer homes but for many of us in older homes or apartments, drafts can be an issue. You can seal them by replacing with new parts or by just buying weatherizing strips that sit along the edge of the door or window.
  12. Close Doors to Rooms You Aren’t Using: Be sure to close doors to rooms you aren’t using. For example, maybe you have a study that you mostly use at night.  Keep that room closed off to the rest of the house during the day so the heat is not wasted on a room you don’t use during the day.