* A collaborative post //
It only seems like a few weeks ago when Autumn arrived with the crisp cooler mornings and golden leaves adorning the pavements but with the change of clocks and daylight savings, Jack Frost has arrived and it seems Winter is upon us. Have you thought about how you’re going to prepare for the cold weather? Here’s my top tips for getting ready for the colder months ahead.
Start in the kitchen
Clear away things like ice-lolly moulds to make way for all those stews you’ll be laying down in your freezer. Make sure you have a few cheap cuts of meat for the slow cooker or a low oven, as well as making sure that you have enough staples in so you can cook something nutritious and comforting if you get snowed in.
Stock up on lentils, tinned tomatoes, spices, onions, potatoes, barley, stock cubes and powdered milk – you never know, you might not be able to get to the supermarket for a few days.
Pay attention to the house
If you’ve been putting off fixing that cracked window frame, get on with it! Once the cold sets in, you’ll be wasting money as your heat will just escape through it! If there’s any loose roof tiles, or clogged gutters, then attend to them; you should also cut back any branches that have grown over the summer if they’re close to windows.
It’s a good idea to have your boiler served by an engineer – a broken boiler in winter can be expensive to fix – and check your insurance policy, to make sure you are protected for the full range of winter emergencies.
If you haven’t had your fuel delivery from Emo.ie, then hurry up and book it! You also need to get your boiler serviced if you haven’t already done so; we all know that a cold snap puts extra strain on a boiler, so make sure yours is in good order. You should also lag any exposed pipes and tanks, bleed your radiators and dig out those draught excluders.
Look after yourself
Your skin needs extra care in the winter months, too. It’ll need extra hydration to cope with dry centrally-heated air and biting winds. You might find that a richer moisturiser that’s specially formulated for winter does the trick, but if you tend to develop dry spots, you can always add a touch of lip balm over the top of your cream.
Don’t forget about the UV protection, though! You’ll want to head off out on those bright, sunny days, so make sure you have some protection against premature aging.
Many people are deficient in zinc, which is an important mineral for the immune system, so you can either eat more pumpkin seeds and seafood or take a supplement. A strong immune system will reduce the chances of succumbing to the dreaded winter cold and if you do get one, you’ll fight it off with more ease.
Another problem with winter is the reduction in the amount of sunlight we get and this can deplete our stores of vitamin D. Vitamin D is also an important immune compound as it helps to co-ordinate the “killer” T-cells. You can top up your stores of this nutrient by eating more dairy or by using a fortified margarine. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so if you use a supplement, take it alongside food or a glass of milk to help your body absorb it.
And finally…don’t worry, it’ll soon be Christmas and then spring will be here before you know it!