Written by: Cally Worden
With the sunscreen barely settled back on the shelf you may not yet feel like getting ready for winter. But avoiding the blues that those dark nights and damp mornings can create, is all about being prepared. It’s a bit like doing battle. Galvanise your winter army now, and when the clocks go back you’ll be fighting fit and ready to slash your way through the winter gloom in a blaze of optimism and positivity. Here’s how.
Fire up your Fuel Stores
Armies with happily full stomachs are always better prepared for the challenges ahead than those with grumbly tums. As summer comes to a close your kitchen is doubtless littered with the remnants of warmer days. Half-empty bottles of salad dressing clutter-up the fridge, and lonesome long-forgotten ice-pops can be found lying listlessly in the freezer. It’s time to clear these depressing reminders of the sun away and make space for some hearty winter fare.
Scour the supermarket shelves for cheap cuts of meat that you can lodge in the freezer. These are kind to your family budget and will be perfect for slow-cook hot pots as the temperature drops. Refresh your stocks of herbs and spices, shoving BBQ mixes to the back and bringing warming winter flavours like cinnamon and cumin to the front. Banish your salad-spinner to the back of the cupboard, and give your slow-cooker and bread-maker pride of place once more. There. Better already.
Prep your Garden
There is nothing more depressing that gazing out on a shabby garden under overcast skies. Tackling your garden now will leave it ready to bear the often sub-zero winter temperatures, and ensure that when Spring arrives once more, it bounces back with vigour. When the last of the warm weather strikes, it’s time to mow and trim the grass one last time. As the weeds dies down, get out in the muck and clear your borders to give your plants space to burst forth in Spring. Hang up your bird feeder, and plant any winter crops you fancy growing. Clear the lawn of leaves, and protect any delicate plants and shrubs. Then sit back and admire your handiwork from the warmth indoors, cup of hot chocolate in hand.
Attend to your Beauty Regime
Weatherproofing your skin is the key to achieving a satisfying winter glow. Cold, dry air will dehydrate and tighten the skin, so it’s important that you apply hydrating creams and serums rich in antioxidants and vitamins. A cream with a UV filter is also just as important in winter as in the summer – just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean it can’t see you.
Tend to your Car
Not the most exciting activity in the world, but preparing your car for winter could help you to avoid unnecessary problems when the snow and ice arrive. The AA estimates that more than 7500 incidents of cars stuck in snow, ice or mud last year could have been avoided if the cars had been fitted with winter tyres, which grip better in low temperatures. Apparently. They also brake better. So now I’m sold.
Additionally, it goes without saying that a regular service helps to keep your car in good health, and regular checks on screen wash, oil and lights are a must. But in cold weather it’s your battery that is most likely to suffer. Get it checked out now, and replace it if it’s old or losing charge too quickly. Better that than having to pay a premium in an emergency, or having to shiver in the car park after work while you wait for a jump start from the RAC. For winter travel where there is the merest hint of the possibility of snow, you should carry a hi-vis jacket, blanket, snow shovel and torch. Get these items now, stick them in the boot, and head out on frosty mornings, secure in the knowledge that you are well prepared.
Book a Holiday
Okay so we can’t all afford this, but if you can treat yourself to a getaway in the sun over winter then do. Just a few days of warm, sunny weather can boost your mood and energy levels, revitalising you ready to face the remaining winter months. Late November is a good time to secure a deal, as consumers are focused on Christmas, airline seats are empty and hotels are devoid of life. Holiday companies are keen to fill these gaps however they can, so there are many deals to be had.
Boost your Health
Staying fit and eating well will boost your energy over winter, and keep your immune system in tip-top condition. Fill up on fresh fruit and veg, especially the leafy green ones, and as mid-winter approaches boost your vitamin D levels with full fat milk and cheese. In moderation, of course.