Stay warm and keep your home energy costs down

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This is not another article on ditching your electric blanket for a hot water bottle and blocking cold breezes from under doors. There are far more exciting ways to get warm and stay warm in winter.

Winter is a season when many of us decide the best way to stay warm is to pull the doona over our heads and bunker down at home. *yawn*

The best way to get warm is to turn winter doldrums on its head and make this a season of temperature raising activity and fun. Take some inspiration from these mercury raising ideas for keeping warm, mostly on someone else’s energy bill, not yours!

Get cultural, stay warm

Museums, theatres, pubs, libraries, shopping centres, cinemas, art galleries, restaurants, cultural centres and event venues want to entice people inside, particularly in winter months when summer loving Australians go into hibernation. Guess what this means for you? Invitingly toasty, warm, ambient public spaces to escape to or meet up with friends at.

Winter is a fabulous time to become a tourist or cultural connoisseur in your own local digs. Here are some examples of how you can broaden your winter horizons and stay warm:

Buy a season package to the theatre, opera, and ballet or winter sporting clubs: encourage family and friends to do the same so you can socialise at an event rather than at home.

Plan to meet up with friends and family at a gallery or museum: not only does this give you a chance to chat and catch up, but its far more interesting than sitting around a table at home.

Follow your local library, museums and art galleries online: sign up to become a member or follow them on social media so that you’re first to know about exhibition openings or special events, some of which may even be free! And warm.

Follow your local shire council events: community organisations and local shire council websites and social media are a great way to find out about winter warming events on in your local area.

RSVP to networking or event invitations: a few free lunches or after work drinks and canapes with a bunch of like minded people at a warm and welcoming event venue is a great way to keep warm and connected through winter.

Get active, stay warm

There is no better way to get your blood flowing from your core through to your extremities than to get active during winter.

Join your local gym: if you’re lucky, your gymnasium may even offer a heated spa and sauna rooms. Are we getting warmer?!

Set your alarm for a refreshing and early start:  a friend of mine wears her walking gear to bed, so she can jump up first thing in the morning and head out for a walk before she even realises how cold it is. Regular walks, runs or cycling are a great way to get out in the weather, warm up for the day and increase your fitness at the same time. Remember, the more muscle tone you have, the warmer you’ll feel.

Join an early morning boot camp: if going solo isn’t appealing, join a local fitness boot camp. Before you know it, you’ll be eager to jump out of bed at 5am to go haul a tractor tie up a hill with a bunch of other delirious winter boot campers.

Join an indoor sports club or competition: if getting out into the weather isn’t your thing but you love a bit of competitive team sports, consider joining a local indoor sports team.

Get seasonal ‘warm’ food in your belly, stay warm

Your food choices, particularly your breakfast, can help to make you feel warmer throughout a cold winter day.  When your metabolism breaks down the nutrients to produce energy, carbon dioxide and heat are produced as by products. Complex carbohydrates act like slow burn fuel for your body, which is why porridge for breakfast is comforting in winter.

Chinese medicine practitioners categorise foods based on their thermal natures – cooling foods; warming foods; and neutral. For example condiments such as cumin, cinnamon, cloves and coriander – and you’ll be pleased to know, coffee and wine (in moderation) – are believed to help improve circulation and warm your body.

Get layered, stay warm

So while you’re out and about and making winter a social season of gathering with loved ones in warm places, layer your clothing to get the best thermal benefits. That also enables you to peel off layers as you nestle into your warm seat to take in a ballet, or consume a degustation feast of body warming foods at a cosy restaurant.

Of course, the other option is to skip the cold weeks ahead altogether and head north. That’ll keep your home energy bill down!

(main image: talgat-baizrahmanov-206220/

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