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Preparing yourself and your home for winter – at this time of year it’s always a good idea to sit down and plan out a few bits and pieces and put a few things in place in preparation for the colder winter months.
I’m a great believer where possible that prevention is better than cure. As well as being as prepared as much as you can be.
I’ve listed a few tips below that might be able to help you prepare for winter. I hope you find the post useful; if you have any questions about anything then please do drop me a message.
I’m no doctor so please do check with a health professional before taking any types of medicines, even vitamins.
I was advised that it is a good idea for most people to take a vitamin D supplement in the winter, due to our lack of sun and it being difficult to get from your diet. As I said this may not be suitable for everyone, so do check first. It can be as easy as speaking to your pharmacist, telling them of any other medication you take and any illnesses and ask about the benefits of taking a vitamin D supplement.
Its also worth making sure you are getting enough vitamin C in your diet too at this time of year, it can be as simple as drinking a glass of fresh orange juice in the morning, instead of taking a vitamin, it all helps in maintaining a healthy balanced diet and ensures you are maintaining healthy levels of vital vitamins throughout the year.
The flu jab isn’t compulsory nor does everyone need it. However, there are various groups of people who are advised to have it due to the possibility of them contracting flu and it causing complications with there other long-term illnesses or weakened immune systems and the fact that flu can cause other complications which can be deadly to someone who is already ill.
I’ve attached a full explanation from the NHS website as I think it is so important to check out if you need one and if you do to actually go and get it.
Contrary to popular belief the flu jab does not give you the flu. It may make the injection area tender afterwards and sometimes you might get a little feverish or achy but this isn’t the flu, its a side effect of the injection and is much less serious than not having the flu jab at all and contracting the full-blown flu.
Heres the advice given by the NHS, please do give it a read. It also explains who is eligible and the process you need to go through to get it. The Flu Vaccine
I know this one isn’t always in the front of peoples minds but I always like to go through my wardrobe (and my sons and husbands) and have a bit of a clear out, of any clothes I know we don’t or won’t wear (Yes, I do check with both my husband and son before I throw or donate/sell anything!).
Then once the clear out has happened I make a little list on my mobile of things I know for sure we`re going to need to help us get through winter snuggly and warm. Having the list on my phone helps to remind me whilst I’m out and about what we need. I like to take advantage of sales and price reductions as much as possible.
As an example this year we all need a couple of new jumpers each, I could also really do with a new coat. So I’ve popped these on my list, making it really easy to glance at if I stumble upon a sale or good deal.
I know its not quite as big a tradition now as it used to be. Putting summer clothes away and getting winter clothes out but it can be handy to have a few choice pieces for each season that get rotated around the wardrobe depending on the time of year. (Christmas jumpers yay!)
As with any time of year, getting exercise and maintaining a healthy balanced diet is important. It could be argued that in the winter months it is ever so slightly more important due to having less motivation because of cold weather and craving unhealthy foods.
I’m no saint and can’t say, I’m, any good at getting the right amount of exercise or having a healthy diet, however, it is something I’m working on and have plans on improving.
Some people can feel a little down in the dumps and disheartened in winter with the shorter days and colder weather. I do understand, so having these plans in place can help lift those spirits. Exercise raises the endorphin levels and eating a healthy balanced diet helps us maintain our energy levels.
One of the most important things that the majority of people will need to do or should have done if you live in rented accommodation is have the boiler serviced and/or checked. This is the most important time of year to have a working boiler for all sorts of reasons. Especially if there are young children or elderly people in the house.
It’s a good idea to try to maintain a heat level of 18oC. This is what is classed as “room temperature” and is also an ideal temperature to have to stay fit and healthy but also comfortable. I do realise house temperatures are down to personal choice and ours does fluctuate depending on the weather outside but these are just rough guidelines to go by.
Do you know where your water stop tap is? It’s always a good idea to know this, its something that can slip through the net when we move into a new property but can be an invaluable piece of information to have in case of a leak or a flood.
Most are these days, but you need to check your pipes are insulated, this reduces the risk of frozen pipes. We live in quite an old house built around 100 years ago, so having this knowledge is imperative, should the temperature drop we know to keep an eye on those pipes that are at risk of freezing in temperatures below 0.
Check if you live in an area prone to flooding. It’s becoming an all too regular occurrence, areas which have not flooded in many years, even decades have unfortunately flooded in the last few years.
I understand it’s not possible to foresee into the future and guess if an area will flood if it has never ever flooded before. However, it wouldn’t take long to research if you live in an area that has flooded at some point in the past. Having this information could mean the difference between being prepared and not. I understand these things can take people by surprise, this cant be helped but a little research and planning never hurt.
Check all fence panels and garden furniture are secure.
Have a look at your roof, if possible and check all your roof tiles are secure. You can do this by either going across the road from your house and looking at your roof. Or venturing into your loft space and having a look. I’ve always found going in the loft easier at night time because once the light/torch is out you can see light (moon/street light) coming through any missing tiles/holes.
It’s important that you maintain your vehicle at all times, we know this but I like to make a special effort once autumn swings around. I make sure I check my tyres are a good depth (the minimum depth is 1.6mm)
I top up the washer bottle and add screenwash.
We also check our antifreeze levels. We`ve owned the car a few years now so we are confident we know what it needs and when. However, you can buy a little gadget for a few pounds that check the level/strength of your antifreeze.
If you do a lot of travelling especially long distance you should really consider having a winter car kit in your boot. This need not be expensive but could save your life if you break down or get stuck.
I would suggest at the minimum of having a shovel, blanket/sleeping bag, snacks – cereal bars and chocolate, ice scraper and de-icer, bottled water, torch and batteries and extra screenwash. If you are travelling with kids, it might be an idea to have a few toys/items in the kit to amuse them. Also, make sure you take enough items to go around everyone who will be travelling.
In the event, the weather is too bad for you to drive or you are just not confident enough and its too far for you to walk to your destination (work, shops, appointments) check alternative routes or modes of transport.
I know from previous experience that I can get a bus or taxi most times we’ve had snow in Blackpool. We don’t get it often, but when we do get it it’s quite a lot but the local buses are normally still running all be it the routes may change a little and I’ve also managed to get a taxi in the past too.
It will depend on where you live in the country as to what is running and what isn’t, but having a plan B is never a bad idea.
Do you have any routines you go through each year at the change of a season? Do you put things in place to be a little more prepared than if you hadn’t? Id really love to know if there is anything else I can do to prepare for winter and make it a little more organised.