Winter may not officially start until next week, but it sure feels like winter here in Minnesota. Luckily, there’s lots more ways to warm up besides putting on socks or turning up the thermostat.
Here’s 15 ways to beat the cold this winter.
- Drink something hot. Piping hot coffee, tea or soup will warm you from the inside out. Holding the hot cup will help too!
- Add some layers. You don’t need bulk as much as you need layers. The more you add, the better your clothes will trap your body heat. Think far past just socks. A fashionable scarf looped around your neck, an extra cardigan and some fingerless gloves can take it even farther.
- Tuck yourself in. Tuck your pants into your socks and otherwise block drafts from undoing all the benefits of those layers.
- Make some hot potatoes. In the old days, pioneers would often put potatoes or even rocks in the fire and then put them in their pockets to keep warm during long winter journeys. Hot potatoes are surprisingly effective hand warmers even in the 21st century! Microwave a couple of potatoes (or bake a bunch for supper in the oven) and then slip them into socks before putting them in your pockets. This is a fabulous way to keep your hands warm while you walk the dog or otherwise enjoy the outdoors on frigid days.
- Take an overly hot bath or shower. When the cold seems to be in your bones, warm up in a hot bath or shower. Just before getting out, make it as hot as you can stand and then towel off and get dressed quickly. This will significantly raise your internal body temperature and it will typically take some time for the effect to wear off (especially with layers to trap your newfound heat), plus the cool will feel almost welcome. Be cautious about doing this if you have high or low blood pressure, are pregnant or have other conditions that advise against hot baths.
- Get moving. Exercise is an ideal way to warm up in the winter, plus it improves circulation. Even jogging in place or doing side lunges while watching TV will do a surprising amount to chase away chills. Vigorous housework has the same effect.
- Make a microwavable rice pack. Rice packs are great for aches and pains and also stay warm for long periods, especially when kept under blankets or layers of clothes. For a small rice pack, simply fill a tube sock with white rice and tie shut (these are great for sore necks and shoulders!). For a large one, pour two pounds of rice into a pillow case and tie it shut. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then at 30 second intervals, checking and shaking often, until fully hot. If you like, add some dried lavender or a few drops of an essential oil you love, to make it smell wonderful too.
- Get cooking. Cold days are the perfect days for simmering soups, baking bread and otherwise putting the oven to use! We save our veggie scraps like stems from mushrooms and carrots, leftover onions and such in large freezer bags, then simmer them on cold days on the stove for broth (which can further heat you up later when you eat it!). When you’re done baking things, prop the oven door open to let the stored heat warm up the room, too.
- Use a space heater. If you tend to stay in one room, it can make a lot of sense to heat a small area part time and keep the heat lower for the whole house. Space heaters can be very nice under desks if you spend a lot of time working at the computer, for instance. Just be sure to follow safety precautions and try to find energy efficient models.
- Cuddle. Bodies are amazingly adept at warming other bodies up!
- Wash your hands in hot water. If you need a quick warm-up, just run hot water over your hands for a minute (or soak them in hot water in the sink). This is a mini-version of the bath trick. Washing dishes in nice hot water has the same effect.
- Try yogic breathing. Some types of breathing exercises in yoga are said to cool the body, while others heat it up. Here’s a simple yogic breathing exercise you can do anywhere that helps raise your internal temperature.
- Get a hot water bottle. These old fashioned helpers are a fabulous way to warm up a bed before getting into it or to keep you toasty while you watch TV. Pile on some blankets, tuck it in, and enjoy the comforting heat.
- Wear long underwear. Modern types come in all different fabrics (even silk!) and can be quite lightweight and comfortable, yet go a long way towards keeping you comfortable at much lower temperatures.
- Get spicy. Hot foods naturally heat us up from the inside out, and are also great at treating and preventing winter colds. Cayenne, turmeric, garlic and onions have been found to improve circulation throughout the body. Turmeric, cinnamon and ginger have also been found to improve circulation in the fingers and toes. Other warming spices include fennel, black pepper, anise and cardamom.