Athlyn Green is interested in common-sense approaches to health, quality of life, and planning for the future.
Do You Dread Feeling Cold in Winter?
Winter can be a real challenge if you happen to live in a place that gets snow and/or frigid temperatures. Fighting off the cold, if we are honest, can be downright miserable. Having to venture outside seems to become more challenging the older we get, too. Whereas kids seem largely oblivious, when we get older we may begin to dread having to leave our homes—and it seems that no matter how warmly we dress, we still come home chilled. We may spend hours afterward feeling cold, no matter what we do in terms of heating or layers.
Winter can truly be an endurance test, but there are ways to keep warmer when the winter winds blow and the snow begins to fall. This article will explore ways to keep your body warm. For those who are more susceptible to the cold and feel it to a greater degree, knowing what to do to stay warm can help you be more comfortable.
Do You Feel as Cold as a Block of Ice?
This is one trick that will seem obvious, and yet many never think of it. If your feet are cold, put on 2-4 pairs of socks--even when inside your home. Once they are pulled on, you truly won't notice a difference, except that your feet will feel warmer.
Keep them on if you have to go out.
This trick is especially helpful if you aren't in possession of thicker, woolen socks.
Wearing Slippers Can Make a Huge Difference
While socks help, you will notice a huge difference if you also pull on slippers. Crocheted or knit slippers that are worked in multiple strands or made with wool, can help to have your feet feeling toasty. And by all means, wear these to bed, if they are the kind that don't slip off.
Warm Leg Trick
One of the best ways you can keep your lower legs warm is to put on a pair of 100% wool legwarmers and wear them throughout the winter.
Many believe wool is scratchy but that has more to do with the chemicals used in cleaning the wool, than actually in the wool. A good-quality wool, cleaned without harsh chemicals, is soft against the skin.
If you are allergic to wool (and not the chemicals), crocheted or knit legwarmers from acrylic yarn are the next best thing. Why these instead of store-bought? Handcrafted legwarmers tend to be warmer. And a thicker yarn can be used, if desired.
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If you have trouble with achy knees, leg warmers can be made to go over the knee and a rectangle of felt can be sewn on the front side to keep both shins and knees warm. If you don't crochet or knit, you may choose to hire someone to make you a pair. If you do, get them to add a tie at the top, to prevent your legwarmers from sliding down, because they will loosen with wear.
Body Warmth Trick
This is another idea that will seem obvious and yet many never implement it. There's a reason you see so many seniors in long-johns or thermal underwear. They got sick of freezing in the winter months and finally decided to "live" in their long-johns.
Wearing these against your upper and lower body can contribute greatly to comfort levels.
All Pants Aren't Created Equal
We all love jeans, but did you know that standard jean material is awful in winter? If your legs are chronically cold, you might opt to choose different pants for wearing outside.
Jeans Are Not the Fabric of Choice in Winter
Jeans are a favorite for most of us but regular jeans truly aren't up to the task in winter. You need material that wicks cold away from your skin, and sadly, jeans don't do this. This is why your legs feel so cold when you wear jeans outside in winter. While they may be sturdy, they aren't warm, and if cold legs are a problem, you may choose to switch to fleece or some other material that will serve you better for conserving body warmth.
If you still prefer to wear jeans or if you have to wear jeans because you don't have pants in other warmer material, there are a couple of things you can do to reduce chilled legs. See capsule on right.
Buy Warmer Jeans
- Buy denim jeans with wool.
- Wear flannel-lined jeans.
- Wear fleece-lined
- Wear heat-tech jeans
- Wear thermal jeans.
Cold Hands Trick
Even with furnaces blasting, many find their hands get cold in winter. And wearing mittens inside the house isn't the answer because we need our fingers free throughout the day.
Solution? Put on a pair of fingerless gloves. Your lower arms, wrists and hands will feel much warmer but you will still have your fingers free.
Buy the knit or crocheted kind for better warmth. Many crafters make these and if you can't get a pair locally, Etsy is a great online marketplace for handcrafted items.
Both Inside and Outside
As can be seen, many of the items that we wear to stay warm outside, can also be worn to help us stay warmer inside.
Warmer = Better Sleep
Warm Neck Trick
Cowls aren't just for wearing outside, they are the perfect item one can wear indoors to keep the neck area warm. You'll be surprised how "cozy" wearing a cowl inside will feel--almost like having a blanket tucked around your neck.
And if you find your neck is cold at night, wear your cowl to bed.
Who says hats have to just be worn outside. We're talking warmth here, people, and wearing a hat inside is another idea that's time has come. Thinking outside the box can make a difference to warmth levels.
If you happen to have a hooded sweater, this is also an ideal item, and each time you feel cold, you can slip the hat on.
I wear a 100% wool sweater with a hat and on days when I just can't seem to get warm, on goes the hat.
Here's an even neater trick: when you go to bed at night, wear a hat. You'll be amazed at how much warmer you feel. Feeling cold at night can contribute to sleeplessness, so this is an important consideration.
Did You Know?
Wool, flannel, and synthetics will keep you warmer than cotton.
My Go-To Sweater
Use the Right Bedding for More Body Warmth
- Use flannel sheets in winter (high-quality flannel should have a weight of at least 4 ounces per square yard).
- Use wool blankets (wool keeps sheep warm and can keep you warm, too).
- Use polar fleece (air trapped in the hollow core fibers provides optimum warmth).
Warm Bed Tricks
If you don't have an electric blanket, there are a few things you can do to preheat your bed to make for a warmer sleeping experience.
- Fill a sock with rice and heat in the microwave 1-3 minutes until sock feels hot then tuck this into your bed, 10-15 minutes before you climb in.
- Fill a couple of hot water bottles and tuck between sheets, right before you go to bed.
- If you plan on staying in the room, turn on a blow dryer and hold it between the sheets, leaving space around it.
Hate Crawling Between Cold Sheets?
If you don't want to preheat your bed, as in the suggestions above, there's another trick that while not quite as "warm" will certainly reduce some of the cold feel. Beds that are neatly made, do nothing to warm the sheets under comforters. A simple trick to reduce that cold feel, is to simply fold back your bedding, so that the inside of the bed benefits from the heat in your home.
Warmth, Oh Warmth, Wherefore Art Thou?
With a little planning and forethought, you can keep your body warmer during the winter months. Sometimes, even simple changes make a world of difference. I hope you've found ideas in this article that you hadn't previously thought of—and that these will help you stay warmer and more comfortable during those cold, winter months.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Athlyn Green
What do you do to stay warm?
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 12, 2017:
I wish I had read this many years ago when we lived in central Wisconsin. It could get really cold there! We had real temperatures sometimes getting down to minus 20, 30 and occasionally even minus 40!
Now except for a short winter in Houston we are more attuned to staying cool rather than the reverse. Good article!
Theresa Sky on December 20, 2016:
You are welcom Athlyn Green. :)
Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on December 18, 2016:
Thank you, Raine.
T S Sky from Saint Louis, MO. on December 16, 2016: