As winter weather approaches, those of us with sensitivity to the cold need to make preparations. For me, that means turning in my red plaid, fringed lap blanket (left over from college football games 50 years ago!) for the lovely, double-thick turquoise paisley fleece lap blanket my daughter made for me several years ago. In addition, I have an electric lap blanket that I keep nearby. Thick socks are a necessity, too. Because I have a problem with sweaty feet that really stink, I nearly always wear white athletic socks. I have a pair of wildly patterned fleece socks that keep me nice and warm, but I wear them OVER a pair of cotton socks.
My fingerless gloves, highlighted in the previous post, are also kept nearby.
It’s time to bring out the thick, fuzzy green robe that I mention from time to time. It’s made with a micro-fiber, and I originally purchased it for my husband. It turned out to be TOO WARM for him! So, I took it over. It almost comes down to my ankles, and wraps around me 1 1/2 times. The sleeves are long, and keep my wrists warm even when I’m not wearing my long fingerless gloves.
Warm foods help: hot tea, hot coffee, hot meals. I keep hot tea by me all morning in a large, insulated “to-go” cup. In the winter I make more tea right after lunch so I’ll have warm tea the rest of the day.
In these days of economic privations, we keep our home much cooler than we used to, so all the above are important for me.
Moving around generates heat in our muscles, so I move around a good bit in the winter. I have to keep the joints moving, and the muscles warm.
Now, here are the usual tips about keeping warm in winter:
Be sure your windows are closed properly. Heavy drapes help keep heat in and cold out. Existing, lightweight drapes can be hung back-to-back with another set of drapes, or even three sets of drapes can be used. Old sheets can be used to line drapes, or you can even use old quilts in place of the drapes. Use clear shrink-wrap for windows. You tape all around the inside of the pane and apply sheets of polythene wrap. You then blast the wrap with a hairdryer (much fun!) and it seals up the window keeping drafts out for winter.
If your floors are bare wood, as ours are, you may want to put down some occasional rugs to insulate the floor a bit. They are relatively inexpensive at Lowes and Home Depot, and you may be able to find some even cheaper at your local thrift shop or second-hand store.
If your attic or crawlspace is poorly insulated, adding the proper amount of insulation will help. Even putting extra heavy aluminum foil down on top or beneath the inadequate insulation will help amazingly. If you live in an apartment, you can even tack extra heavy aluminum foil across the ceiling. I know it sounds weird, but it really will help!
Be sure any air leaks around windows and doors are sealed. However, remember that your home needs to “breathe.” You need air exchange to reduce stale air problems and to reduce allergies.
Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss. Remember “Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap – had just settled down for a long winter’s nap?” This actually referred to the habit of wearing a sleeping cap or a kerchief to reduce heat loss from the head. Wearing warm socks in bed will help, too. Wool socks and cap is the best suggestion.
Interestingly enough, silk is a good insulator, and there are many types of silk winter underwear for both men and women. Silk and wool blend socks are very warm, and breathe.
You may want to wear silk tights – two pairs at a time – to help keep your legs warm. Rather than tights, I get knit leg warmers. Guys can wear tights, too. If you can knit, there are free patterns for making leg warmers.
A lap-cat or lap-dog will provide warmth, too. My lap-cat is Magnus. He’s getting old, and wants to keep his feet warm, so more and more, he wants to lie in my lap and purr – even when I’m typing. So, I keep him warm, and he keeps me warm! He, a harmless, necessary cat! [Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene I] Emmy is not a lap-dog – too large, and as a service dog, she cannot do that. But she comes over and puts her head on my feet from time to time.
One other suggestion – if you cannot afford to heat your home, go “visiting” to places that are well heated – the library, a senior center, a restaurant (order a coffee and sit for a loooooong time), a church, or a friend’s house. Other possibilities include going shopping in a mall, going to a bank, going to a gas station. Don’t forget, Dunkin’ Donuts!
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