As it gets colder outside, the cost of staying comfy inside starts to heat up. So it's at this time of year I stare at my thermostat, wanting to turn it up two or three more degrees, but knowing that I have to find other ways to stay warm. As much as I try to convince myself it's "fresh" inside and it's better for our world and saving money, I must admit it's simply very chilly... and I long for summer!
You don't have to freeze, but wouldn't it be nice to melt away a little of your heating bill while keeping the world cooler? Think about the following suggestions, add your own (more conventional ones perhaps) and stay warmer this winter!
1. Get up! Since I'm going to assume that you are sitting in front of your computer right now, I'll take the opportunity to remind you that moving keeps you a lot warmer (I am aware that this suggestion is overly hypocritical). Clean something, organize something else... you'll stay warm and feel great that you've accomplished something away from your monitor!
2. Convince someone in your home to cuddle with you. Hopefully it doesn't take that much convincing! Cuddling is WAY better than a blanket and a person's body gives off enough heat to almost immediately stop the shivers.
3. Make a big mug of organic tea or your favourite hot beverage. Get addicted to loose-leaf teas this winter, real hot chocolate, or make your organic, fair trade coffee with a French press. Just think of all of the garbage created from tea bags and coffee filters over a year... small things add up, as always.
4. Cook something. You'll not only be happy eating comfort food (yum), you can share the experience with your family (fun), avoid take-out (less waste, less cost, healthier) and a working kitchen adds heat (ahhh).
5. Open your blinds. And then close them. Open blinds on south-facing windows during the day to let in the sun. Close them in the evening to help insulate and to maintain your privacy, too (not that there is much to see when wearing multiple layers of clothes -- see the next point).
6. Bundle up! My mother always told me that shorts and T-shirts were not appropriate indoor wear in winter. Why does it take us so long to listen? Put on your coziest clothes and a pair of slippers. The slippers also come in handy at the front door... always take your outdoor footwear off to keep that outdoor gunk from being tracked inside for a healthier home.
7. Ditch the diet. Remember, you can justify your winter weight by stating that it's for the environment's sake... a little extra insulation goes a long way. (But a nutrition tip that will definitely help you ditch pounds/inches: avoid all corn, except corn itself... read your labels and you'll be amazed!)
8. Sit down -- and make a list. (I am aware that this contradicts my first point.) Do some research on the Internet, book an energy audit, get the fixes done throughout your home to stop drafts, minimize heat going to rooms you do not use and add a few carpets to your bare floors.
Remember, no matter how chilly it is inside, if you are outdoors making the most of this winter with your family, you won't notice as much! Laughing together and thinking happy, warm thoughts helps too.