Many individuals look forward to the cool snowy months but for others winter is the time of year that they dread most.
The cold, ice, snow, and depression of these gloomy months can make knowing how to get through the winter almost a necessity for some people.
If you or someone you know are one of the people who absolutely hate winter and want to make like a bear and go into hibernation at the first hint of frost, then this article is for you.
Pop on your slippers, cozy up in your snuggle blanket, and grab a nice hot cup of tea. It's time to chase the winter blues away with a few tips and gift ideas to help you and your loved ones survive the cold winter months.
Some People Really do Dislike Winter
There are some very logical reasons why some individuals have a more difficulty surviving the winter months than others do. Brrr...those winter months are cold.
Many seniors show an obvious dislike for chilly weather. Seniors and the disabled have a little tougher time in cold and icy conditions. Falls are dangerous and an ice build up on sidewalks and roadways can be very hazardous.
Driving can also be considerably more dangerous during the winter months. Weather conditions can change quite quickly making roads hazardous when you least expect them to be.
Flu and colds thrive in the drier winter months making the risk of complications due these illnesses an issue for many. Seniors, the disabled, and young children can be extremely vulnerable to flu complications and pneumonia. You absorb Vitamin D from exposure to sunshine so be sure to take a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months when you are spending less time out of doors.
Another large winter problem for many is seasonal depression or SADS. The dark gloomy winter months send many people into the winter blues. For some individuals this seasonal depression can be severe enough to cause thoughts of suicide. If you suffer from winter depression it is very important to find an appropriate way to deal with these seasonal emotional mood fluctuations.
So How do You Survive the Chilly Temperatures of Winter?
Besides going into hibernation mode there are other ways to help you survive the winter months. Let's take a look at a few of the most popular ways to get safely through those cold gloomy months of the year.
If you are prone to the winter chills then keeping your hands, feet, and house warm can help to keep you feeling a little more comfortable. Of course you don't want to break your bank account to stay warm so it is indeed time to bundle up and cuddle up.
Rather than turning up your thermostat wear slippers and a sweater to help you stay warm.
This is the perfect time of year to do some baking. That warm oven will help to heat your house.
Put flannel sheets on your bed as these help to lock in the heat. Extra bedding in the winter months will allow you to turn your thermostat down a few degrees just before you hop into bed at night.
Use Draft Stoppers by Doors and Windows
Invite the Wintering Birds to Your Home for a Free Meal
Set up a bird feeder in your yard to attract winter birds. For birds a little free food is always welcome and they can help make winter a bit more cheerful. Surround yourself with sights and sounds that are pleasurable.
Bake up something delicious to help heat your home in the winter
The heat from your oven can help to increase the warmth of your home. Home baked goods are always a cheerful aspect of winter so pull out your cake pans or cookie sheets and get baking. When cooking meals serve up more oven cooked foods such as roasts and casseroles.
After your food is cooked, and your oven is shut off, open your oven door an inch or two to allow the remaining heat to help warm your home.
Drinking hot liquids such as herbal tea or hot cocoa can also help to keep you warm. Avoid drinking a large amount of coffee or other caffeinated beverages in the winter as these can increase the incidence of Raynaud's syndrome.
Close your curtains at night to help lock out drafts and open your curtains to the morning sun around 10 or 11am to allow the warmth of the sunshine to help heat your home.
Target the Heat Where You Need it!
Keep Your Hands and Feet Warm to Prevent a Chill
Walking around on cold floors can send a chill right through your body so keeping your feet warm is priority number one. Use spot rugs in front of the bathroom and kitchen sinks, in front of the stove, under the kitchen table, and in any other high traffic areas.
Always wear warm socks or slippers to help keep your feet warm. Individuals with chronic illness, those who smoke, and the elderly can be more prone to having cold hands and feet.
This inability to deal with the cold can be caused by poor circulation but it may also by a symptom of Raynaud's Phenomenon. Raynauds is a syndrome where the small capillaries shrink when exposed to the cold or some other triggering agent. This restricts blood flow to the body's extremities and causes the entire body to feel extremely cold. Wearing mittens when getting food out of the fridge or freezer can help to keep your hands warm.
Snuggle up and Cuddle up to Stay Warm
If Prone to Falls Limit Your Outdoor Activities to Good Days
The most full proof method of preventing slips and falls during the icy winter months is of course to stay indoors as much as possible.
For most of us this simply is not an option so we have to use preventative measures to insure that we survive the winter months safely.
Keeping your walkway and parking area shoveled, sanded, and salted will help to keep the route to your vehicle as safe as possible. Use a handrail whenever possible.
If your health prevents you from shoveling contact your local city to ask if they know of programs in place to help you out with this task. Often neighborhood children are anxious to earn a few extra dollars and are more than happy to do shoveling or yard work to earn a little spare cash so canvas your neighborhood for help.
Wear a boot or runner with a quality rubber sole and winter track. Rubber shoe bottoms are less likely to slip on ice compared with plastic or plastic blend shoe bottoms. Good quality winter footwear is one of your best defenses against winter slips and falls. Read all the information available on the footwear tags, and ask salesclerks for information on the product, before making your purchase.
Avoid icy areas as much as possible during winter months and if you are able to limit your winter time trips. Plan to go outdoors on good weather days. Try to avoid going out shortly after heavy snowfalls when streets, sidewalks, and roads are more apt to be slippery.
There are Many Causes for Winter Depression
There is still some debate over the physiological basis of SADS but there is no question as to whether or not the condition exists, Seasonal Depression Disorder is very real.
The reasons why people suffer from seasonal depression are varied and many. Some forms of winter depression are biologically based while others have an emotional base to their moodiness. Some people may suffer a seasonal mood change because they are more isolated in the winter.
Feel good chemicals are released by the brain in the warmth of the sun, and these may be the reason why people are generally happier in warm summer weather, and more prone to depression in gloomy winter months. So what is the solution?
There are a number of things that you can do to combat the winter blues. Getting outdoors into the warmth of the sunshine can help, people are also now turning to sunlamps which give off the same rays as natural sunshine, to help to ease feelings of sadness and gloom.
Exercise also helps to ease depression and winter is a great time to begin an exercise program. Emerge in the spring like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon, beautiful, and strong.
Another reason that someone may suffer from depression is a lack of a feel good chemical known as melatonin. This chemical is produced in the dark while you sleep, but because there is now a great deal of lighting used in the home and in street lighting, that some people may not be producing enough of this melatonin to satisfy their body's needs.
For some people shutting off all household lights at bedtime, removing a lighted alarm clock from the room, and using darkened curtains may help to alleviate depression.
It's Important to Stay Social in the Winter Months
Cabin fever is a phenomenon that occurs when people are isolated from emotional stimulation. It generally occurs when a person is without human contact for a lengthy period of time.
Cabin Fever symptoms may include excessive sleeping, moodiness, restlessness, irritability, irrationality, frustration, crankiness, forgetfulness, sudden bursts of laughter or tears, and distrust of other individuals.
REMEMBER: It is important for most people to take a Vitamin D supplement in the winter and for those who suffer from the winter blues this sunshine vitamin is vital. It may help to lessen symptoms of depression.
When it's Cold Outside Let Your Happy Out to Play
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