Ah, winter. It can be a wonderful time full of snowball fights, hot cocoa and happiness, or, alternatively, a miserable, cold and depressing season rife with viruses and discomfort. How do I ensure I feel all the happiness of the former with none of the sickness and excess nose-blowing of the latter? Glad you asked! We're here to give you some tips on how to stay comfortable and toasty during those chillier months of the year besides covering yourself with a few layers of fleece blankets.
Turn on that ceiling fan
For those of you who, like myself, had important candies to crush during high school science, let me give you a (very) basic breakdown of one of the laws of thermodynamics: heat goes up, cold goes down. That means that no matter how much energy and money you spend heating up the air in your humble abode, it's going to do its best to go up and away from you – because science. Luckily, there's a relatively simple little gadget that provides way of pushing it back down, one that might already be installed in your home, and it's the ceiling fan. Switch that bad boy on and let the good times roll as those heat waves are forced downwards onto your personal fort of fleece blankets.
Block the gaps under your doors
The wind is a cruel and unforgiving force, always looking to sneak in and steal your precious warmth for itself. Obviously closing all your doors and windows whenever feasible is a given, but that cold air is crafty and can find cunning, stealthy ways of getting in, especially if you're using heaters or a fireplace rather than a central heating system. For an added dose of protection against winter, you can use anything from a pool noodle to a towel or the almighty fleece blanket to keep those gaps under the doors securely blocked and keep the frigid air out with the wolves and abominable snow-men where it belongs.
Tricking your thermostat
It's a sad day when you realize technology has betrayed you, and one of the saddest betrayals is finding out that your thermostat locks out at a certain temperature and won't go any warmer. But don't despair; the machines aren't thinking for themselves yet and luckily it's still relatively easy to trick them and get around their defenses. Since the thermostat locks out by measuring the ambient temperature around, it's only natural that if it feels cold, it'll work harder to produce more warmth. A low-tech hack like putting a bowl of ice cubes near it should do the trick. Just remember to refill it regularly and be careful not to spill any of the resulting water when the cubes eventually melt.
Dress up your house
This one might sound a little strange at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. You wouldn't go around in the middle of winter wearing nothing but a tank top, now would you? Well your house deserves the same treatment. Thick rugs on the floor (especially if you have floorboards) will keep your feet from freezing, and thicker drapes and curtains will aid your windows in keeping the warmth in and the cold out. Failing that, that brave soldier in the fight against winter, the fleece blanket, can be used to cover up problematic windows and stop any wayward droughts from making their way into your home.
This one will, perhaps terrifyingly, require one or more trips outside at some point, but the payoff is more than worth it. Ovens do their thing by producing heat (who'd have thought?), but rather than just leaving yours on and risking a fire, you can bake something instead. For most recipes that's at least a guaranteed hour of oven heat right there or more, depending on exactly what it is you're making. The actual process of cooking will have you moving around and generating your own heat too, and it's common knowledge that eating something hot will raise your body temperature by a fair amount. So bake yourself a nice tray of muffins and enjoy the warmth they bring with just about every step of their creation. Tying nicely into this one…
Eat and Drink
Think of your body as a furnace for a moment. If you don't fill it up with fuel, it's going to have nothing to burn, and it won't generate heat either. Your body needs to burn calories in the same way to keep you warm, so making sure you're well-fed is a great way to also ensure that you're not shivering. Keep your belly full in order to keep your blood sugar up and thus make sure your warm-blooded body has the energy to keep you warm in the first place. Don't forget to drink plenty of (room temperature) water as well; dehydration messes up the way your body works in a lot of ways, so maintain a healthy balance between food and water.
I know, I know; even in the best of weathers, making yourself exercise isn't exactly fun. Why would you want to do it in the freezing cold? Well, technically, you don't have to. There's plenty of ways to raise your pulse and get your blood pumping, thereby generating body heat, right in your home. Do a few push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups - heck, jog around the house for a few minutes or just do some running on the spot. The movement and action will warm you up with just a little bit of effort, and comes with the added benefit of being healthy for you in the long run. If you take this one seriously, you can even be well on your way to a nice beach body long before everyone starts hitting the gym in the spring trying to get rid of their love handles.
Drink alcohol wisely
It's common knowledge that getting a little bit tipsy makes you feel a bit warm and fuzzy - emphasis on the warm. The medical explanation for this is that alcohol makes your blood vessels dilate, bringing that warm blood out towards outermost parts of your skin and a fair amount of heat with it too. It also means that your body is radiating more of that heat outwards, which means you're effectively turning into a bit of a human heater yourself and raising the ambient temperature around you. That's all well and good if you're inside, but if you're drinking outside, it means you'll lose your body heat faster and be both colder and more susceptible to getting sick.
Be strategic with your blankets
We've all had those mornings; you wake up, the house is cold, and all you want to do is just cover yourself up with every single sheet, fleece blanket and down cover that you own. And we fully support you! But there's an even better way you could be doing that, and all it takes is some basic organization. First of all, put a nice thick cover underneath yourself - you can lose heat in that direction too. Then, cover yourself with your thinner, fluffier blankets, and pile up the thickest and densest ones you have on top of those, and voila; what you now have, my good sir or madam, is the ultimate low-tech fortress of warmth to keep you happy and warm in bed or on the couch.