This week it seems that the cold winter that meteorologists have been warning us about since the summer is finally materialising. When the long nights and frosty mornings set in, it can be hard to adapt, so we thought we’d share some tips on how you can help keep yourself and others warm this winter…
1. Eat Well
It’s not the most obvious thing that comes to mind when we think of protecting ourselves from the cold, but eating a balanced and nutritious diet and eating frequently will give your body the nutrients it needs to insulate itself and fight off all the nasty bugs that do the rounds at this time of year.
2. Stay Active
It’s tempting to just snuggle up on the sofa when it’s cold and dark, but staying active has the same kind of benefits for your body that eating well does. As well as keep you fighting fit and healthy, it releases endorphins which affect your mood and mental wellbeing. And let’s face it, we all need a little pick me up in the deep dark depths of the cold season.
3. Layers, Layers, Layers
You’ve probably heard this before, but wearing several thin layers of clothing is a very effective way of keeping warm as hot air is trapped in between each layer, keeping the body insulated. If you really feel the cold, it’s worth investing in some thermal underwear to provide a good base layer.
4. Don’t Forget to Check on your Neighbours
As Muslims, we have a duty of care and respect towards our neighbours. Allah clearly commands us to be good to our neighbours in the holy Qur’an, ‘…do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, and the companion by your side…’ (4:36). For those in our community who are most vulnerable, winter can become a daily struggle.
If you have an elderly neighbour who you know is alone or someone who is limited by an illness or disability living near you, don’t forget to check on them and see that they are getting on ok. Maybe you could offer to do a shop for them so they don’t have to go out in the cold? Or you could offer to drive them to a doctor’s appointment? Even if you can give just an hour out of your evening to have a chat with them over a hot drink, this small act of kindness can have a bigger impact than you know.
5. Keep your Home Insulated
Draw your curtains to trap warm air and keep cold air out, use draft excluders to stop heat escaping through your door and keep your bedroom window closed at night as breathing in cold air increases the risk of chest infections.
6. Use Aluminium Foil to Keep in the Heat
Grab a roll of good quality aluminium foil from the kitchen cupboard and attach it to the wall behind radiators, shiny side up. This isn't as bizarre as it sounds. It will reflect heat back into the room, ensuring that you get the most from your central heating.
7. Donate to the Muslim Hands Below Zero Appeal
This extends on from what we were saying about our duty to our neighbours near and far. Unfortunately, there will be thousands of vulnerable families around the world facing sub-zero temperatures with little or no protection this winter. No warm clothes to wrap up in, no nutritious food to keep them strong and no sturdy home to shelter them. We’ll be providing blankets, stoves and fuel, food parcels and clothing to those in need, from Syrian refugees facing winter in makeshift tents to poverty-stricken families in Asia and Europe who have to make the choice between heating and eating. You can keep them warm this winter by donating here.