As the nights draw in and the temperature begins to drop, the journey into the winter months can start feeling like a bit of a slog. It gets harder to motivate yourself to do the things we all know we need to do to look after ourselves. There are a few things you can check off to make it a little easier though. Here are our tips for staying warm and well this winter.

Close up divider image of some warm knitted blankets and a cup of tea in a c=glass teacup

Stay warm

Apart from being absolutely no fun, being cold can be extremely detrimental to your wellbeing. Many health conditions can also be made worse by cold weather.

The recommended temperature to heat your home to is 18°C. This provides enough heat to keep you warm and healthy but keeps it low enough to help your manage your energy bills.

We know many residents struggle to keep homes warm, and this may be made harder by increasing energy bills. If you’re vulnerable and have pre-existing health issues such as heart and breathing conditions, it is especially important to find out how to keep yourself warm and well throughout the winter.

The East Sussex Warm Home Check service can offer you free, impartial advice and support all year round. Subject to funding, the service may also be able to coordinate and source funding for the installation of heating & insulation measures.

You can apply online, at the  Warm Home Check website, by texting ‘WARM’ to 80011 or by calling 0800 464 7307.

For further advice, check out these DIY hints and tips to cold proof your home and save energy and have a read of our article, Winter is Coming, for other ways to stay warm

How prepared are you for a temperature drop?

Did you know you there’s a free alert service that can let you know if extreme cold is due? Between November and March, coldAlert can let you know when there are severe weather warnings in your area, allowing you to plan accordingly for snow, ice or blizzards. Once you sign up, if severe conditions are due you will receive notification via text, email, voicemail or app and will have plenty of time to stock up with food and medical supplies and turn up the heating if needed.

You can find out more, sign up and download the app at the coldAlert website.

close up divider image of a woman with long blonde hair, wearing a black parka and grey knitted gloves checking her phone

The V word

We weren’t going to make it through an entire article about staying well without having mentioning vaccines. This winter not only is your annual flu jab as important as ever, but you may also need think about your Covid booster.

Currently the Covid booster jab is being offered to frontline workers, those aged 50 and over and people over 16 who are at high-risk of infection. Keep an eye out for your invite as you will be informed when it is your turn.

Please do not let travel difficulties stop you getting your jab. Sussex residents who have no means to get to their COVID-19 vaccination appointment are now able to book a free return journey to help them attend. You can find out more at the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.

For more information on the Covid-19 vaccines or appointments, visit the NHS website.

snow scene of a path in a remote location, with a dog facing away and looking to the right

Stay active:

Getting outside when the weather is gloomy may not be high on your list of things you actually want to do. However, staying active through colder months will do wonders for both your physical and mental health, and helps you keep warm. First things first, don’t punish yourself if you’re not exercising as much as you think you should be. It will only make it harder to get going.

Bundle up, grab the dog and head out for some frosty, wintery walks – not only will the fresh air perk you up, but it’s important to get that vitamin D where you can on these shorter days. When it’s icy, be sure to wear suitable shoes with grip to avoid slips or falls.

If getting outside is difficult, lockdown life provided us with a wealth of online workouts you could dive back into from the warmth of your living room and if you have mobility issues even wiggling your hands and feet can help warm you up.

close up divider image of winter veg (onions, squash, peppers and herbs) in a roasting tin

Immune system boosters

Remember to eat well! It’s all too easy to resort to snacking and comfort foods when the weather turns chilly. And, while “a little of what you fancy does you good”, it is important to also eat healthy food that supports your immune system. Warm food and drink are also another excellent way to warm you up when the temperature drops.

Winter eating doesn’t have to be dull. There are many seasonal veggies and fruits that are full of the nutrients (such as vitamin C) you need to keep those defences up. Mushrooms, garlic, ginger, citrus fruits and dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach are all excellent immune-boosting meal additions.

Why not try something like this salmon and roasted beets recipe. It’s packed full of healthy ingredients, is rich in calcium and iron and makes up 4 of your 5 a day.

Or, for a veggie option how about a roasted cauliflower, grape and Wensleydale salad? A single serving of this will provide half your Vitamin C for the day!