Winter is coming, and it’s time to think about ways to stay cosy and, more importantly, happy during the winter. With cold weather and long dark nights (and sometimes days) it’s no surprise that many of us start to feel a little down when December comes. But don’t worry – that seasonal slump can be overcome with a couple of simple solutions. Plus, you can stay warm in your home (without forking out on energy bills) with just a few easy adjustments. Our grandparents used to say “just put on an extra layer” to stay warm in the winter. But there are many other practical things you can do that don’t cost much but that will make a difference to the size of your heating bill in the new year. There’s nothing worse than a surprise energy bill dropping onto your door mat! It’s time to get used to lowering the thermostat to a level that keeps everyone comfortable but doesn’t end up creating a sauna effect,. Here are some tips to help you make it through the winter in comfort and with a smile on your face.Pile on the blankets Nighttime means everyone’s in bed and pets have found their warm spots for the night, so you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees without anyone realising that it’s cooler in the house. Increasing the temperature warms the entire home, which is essentially wasting energy, as no one’s moving around at night to benefit from the warmth. It’s also a great excuse to snuggle up under layers of duvets and wooly blankets. Well, I’d much rather tuck myself under a cosy throw when I’m reading on the sofa in the evenings than turn up the heating – it just feels so ‘hygge’! Bring back hot water bottles too (or microwave heat pads) to warm your body all evening long. It’s much more efficient to heat a relatively small surface area than to raise the temperature of the whole building. Combat SAD
Being comfortable in winter isn’t just about warmth and saving money. If you or a family member suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, you can help deal with this troubling subset of depression through activities such as sitting near sunny windows, planning more outdoor time, and using light therapy. It’s easy to wake up in the dark, work indoors all day and then come home in the dark. In fact, I read that the average British worker will only see 52 minutes of daylight in a working week, so make the effort to get outside on your lunch break (no matter how cold it is!) to make sure you get the benefits of daylight while it’s there.Seal those windows
No matter how new or highly rated your windows are, you can expect a bit of air exchange. When you know you’re going to close the windows for the last time until spring, use a temporary caulking material to seal the sash. You’re closing off the small gap that never quite seals all the way and lets air in. The temporary caulk can be easily removed when you want to open up the window again, and it won’t ruin the material the windows are made from. If you have older windows, go over the existing caulk and look for crumbling and/or peeling caulk. Remove this caulk carefully, and then lay in a fresh, new bead and let it dry. You’re creating a new seal that won’t let air in under any circumstances.Engage in zone heating
Zone heating is the act of heating one or two rooms and closing off unused rooms. If you find that you’re not going into some rooms very often, close them off by shutting the door and turning down the radiators. You do want to make sure the room gets some heat in order to keep it dry. The heating that would normally go into that room is diverted into rooms with turned on radiators, keeping them at a comfortable temperature. You can also use plug-in electric and oil heaters to keep a room warm while you’re using the space, but make sure to follow safety precautions at all times and unplug when you go to bed.You don’t have to turn your home into a refrigerator to save money on heating costs this winter. These are just some of the ways to help you stay comfortable (and happy!) without having to go to extreme settings on your thermostat or getting a scary energy bill in the new year. Let me know your own tips for staying warm in the winter and tell me what you get up to in order to keep that smile on your face during even the darkest winter days – leave me a comment below to share your ideas or tweet me @cassiefairy to chat.