Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ways to Keep Warm in a Cold House

I can't believe I'm writing a post with that title. Only a year ago, I was Miss Always-Warm. I lived in short sleeves almost year-round, except for a very small window of time in Jan.-Feb. I always felt bad that I couldn't enjoy all those lovely furry sweaters I had, but what can a girl do? If I wore "winter" clothes, I died of heat!

But, whether from "old age" (haha), some unknown physical reason, or because we are keeping our house thermostat set much lower this year (probably the later), I have been freezing most of the winter. It's the first year I've dealt with such a problem, and I find it quite bewildering. I've always wished that January first marked the first day of spring, but this is the first time I'm constantly equating "spring" with "heat."

At least I can finally enjoy my cozy sweaters...and several of them at once, as a matter of fact.

As winter has progressed, I've learned a few things that help me keep warm. If you are struggling with "freezing" temperatures in your house, maybe you'd like to hear some of them. And maybe you have a few to add! PLEASE do, if you have some!

By the way, I'd like to go on record as saying I'm all in favor of keeping the thermostat set lower. It saves money, and it feels more natural. My body never did know what to think when the house felt like July in January. I think it must kill some germs, too...Anyway, I like the idea. It's frugal, and I get to wear all my wardrobe! You just have to learn to work with the system.

Without further ado, here are some things that have helped me keep warm in a cool house:

~ Wear clothes! Lots of them. Learn to layer.

Skirts really are your best friend. A lot of people think pants are warmer than skirts, but that's only if you are thinking of those flimsy, dressy, skirts with only a slip and pantyhose under them. If you wear skirts in the winter on a regular basis, you'll soon learn to get sturdy everyday ones, made from denim, corduroy, flannel, and wool.

But don't stop there. Add a pair of leggings underneath the heavy skirt. I have two pairs of knee-length denim leggings that I've practically lived in this winter. They make all the difference. Add a pair of warm knee-high socks and you're set to go.

On the top half of your body, learn to wear cotton near your skin, and then add something less breathable, like wool or acrylic. Wear at least one shirt with a high collar, to keep your neck warm. And, if you're still cold, don't be afraid to go around the house in a thick hoodie ...with the hood up!

~ Try fingerless gloves. Daddy recently found a great deal on high-class gloves made from cashmere and wool. He bought quite a few pairs, and gave them to his wife and daughters. :) :) One of the pairs he gave me are fingerless, and I wear them around the house quite a bit. They're great for playing the fiddle. :)

~ Drink warm things. This was a new one for me, because I'm not a fan of hot drinks. I'll just take my water, thank you very much. But there's no denying that a warm drink helps you warm up, so I decided to "get into" warm drinks. I didn't want to overload my system with sweet coffee and hot chocolate, and we don't often get apple cider (which I love warm), but I do love hot lemon and honey, and it's good for you. And I'll occasionally have that cup of black (ugh!) coffee. (Though I take that back if it's black German coffee.)

~ Exercise. Spending at least 20 minutes getting your blood flowing in the morning makes all the difference for the next several hours.

~ Sleep warm. It's very important that you feel warm while you're trying to fall asleep, or you won't sleep well. Pile those covers on! I have...let's see...five covers on my bed, and I'm never cold when I'm under the covers. Just like with clothes, have a mixture of fibers, and keep the more breathable ones closer to your skin, and the less breathable ones on top.

~ Bake! The oven will make the kitchen warm and toasty.

~ Eat enough. Don't overeat, of course, but do eat enough. You'll be colder right after you eat, but in the long run you'll stay warmer. Believe it or not, this is one I've had trouble with this winter.

~ Laptops. Did you know it's actually bad for the skin on your legs if you rest your laptop right on top of your lap? The heat from the computer can actually create burn-like skin damage over a long period of time. But all that heat can be comforting on a cold night. Just be sure to put a pillow between the laptop and your skin - the heat will warm the pillow, which will in turn warm you - safely.

~ Pay attention to when you wash your hair. If you're like me and always let your hair air-dry, don't wash your hair at the coldest time of the day!

~ Move around more. Nothing will warm you up quicker!

And always remember - a cheerful spirit will warm your home better than anything. :)

Happy January to you all!


Ruth Ann said...

Thanks for sharing! I like your ideas! :) My problem is that I don't have many long sleeve shirts at all - I love my short sleeves... *sigh* But then I'm so cold and need something.

Anyway, I say wear socks! I am such a sandals girl year round and hate socks, but when you're cold socks are fabulous! Also, get a nice pair of boots and wear them! They are really nice for keeping your feet cozy when you go out and about. I love my cowgirl boots! [noooo, they don't *have* to be cowgirl boots, but I LOVE mine ;) haha]

Anywho, that's my two cents. ;)

Amber said...

Oh yes - I forgot to mention my boots! Thanks, Ruth Ann. :) The only pair of boots I own, I didn't pick out myself, and I haven't worn much in past years, because I wasn't crazy about them. But they've gotten a lot of use this year, because I've realized what a big difference they make in keeping me warm!

julia said...

Some good tips/ideas! My favorite one is to bake. If we turn on both of our ovens, the kitchen warms up really fast! I love my flip flops, so I have to force myself to wear socks or my feet will freeze. :D

Kathryn said...

Great post, Amber Sue!! I echo your sentiments about leggings... got a pair for Christmas and I wear them too often! I am also addicted to socks... I wear them so much they seem almost disposable. Also, Crocs or similar slip-on rubber shoes are excellent feet warmers. But... I must say that my favorite "winter warmer" is a vest. We wear these summer and winter, actually, and love them! If you have neutral colors, they go well on top of anything.
Oh, and how could I forget?? Herbal hot tea is a must-have!! With my herbalist sister (Amanda!!) around, we frequently have a pot of this brewing, and it works wonders when it comes to warming me up.