Weather hacks to stay warm and healthy as clocks go back

Winter van life

As the UK prepares to turn the clocks back an hour on Sunday, it’s the time that many people start to prepare for winter weather.

This year, the Met Office is sharing a series of handy or often-forgotten #WeatherHacks to help prepare for the winter chill.

As last week’s Storm Babet demonstrated, autumn and winter weather can include some of the most disruptive conditions for people trying to get out and about in their daily lives.

While it’s too early to give a definitive forecast for the winter ahead, there are simple steps everyone can take to avoid mishaps and make the most of winter weather.

Met Office Head of Warnings Chris Walsh said: “When the clocks go back it’s time to prepare for winter weather. Whether it’s strong winds, cold spells or even ice and snow, there are simple and cost-effective things everyone can do now to prepare for winter weather.

“There are plenty of useful and creative weather hacks out there that can help people to avoid disruption, but also make the most of winter weather.”

Staying warm

Getting out and about in the winter can be especially important for health and wellbeing, according to health and wellness retailers Holland and Barrett.

Around 40-45% of body heat is lost through the head, so a swimming cap could make all the difference as an additional layer to keep warm.

For another useful hack to keep warm, place about 700g of ceramic baking beans in a suitable jug, microwave them on high heat for four minutes and then pour them into cotton ankle socks.

Pop the filled socks in your shoes to warm them up before putting on, and then use the beans as a hand warmer when it’s time to head out.

Seek sunlight

Studies show that vitamin D levels are at their lowest in the winter months since an important source of vitamin D is sunlight.

Vitamin D is important for bone health, particularly in growing children and preventing bone loss with ageing and menopause.

Vitamin D also supports the normal functioning of the immune system.

Thirty minutes of sun exposure can be enough to boost your levels of vitamin D.

Try to have plenty of food-sources of vitamin D in your diet such as fatty fish like salmon, sardines and fish liver oils.

In some cases, vitamin D supplementation in the winter months is recommended by government health authorities.

Holland and Barrett’s Retail Health Lead, Dr Anojan Arulananthan said: “Eating a healthy diet in winter is important for the normal functioning of the body, including the immune system.

“Many essential nutrients play a role in the normal functioning of the immune system such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, copper and selenium.

“However, our complex immune system is dependent on many factors for optimal functioning, rather than a single nutrient.

“Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and watching our stress levels will help to set us up for fighting those seasonal coughs and colds.”

Pet health

Managing pet health and wellbeing can also be a concern for some in the winter months.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) suggests an addition to your dog kit bag when surfaces are being gritted in the winter.

Grit or rock salt can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.

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katey jane andrews October 27, 2023 at 7:54 am

Full timer where i have nowhere to run to if things go bad unlike many I could mention. over 4 years fully off grid, no water or power hook up EVER!

My 10 tips on keep your and your van in good health.

1 if you can get a wood stove if will wup the ass of a diesel heater, collect dead wood wet or dry as its usable within hours if drying near the stove.

2 if wind is coming, head for cover, not near tall trees, look for something out of range from them, bushes that’s just taller than the van is fine.

3 if you have an inverter, 240 volt electric blanket. on low setting they run around 3-4 amps, if its very cold like frost it will be sunny to so if you have solar that will be fine with the batteries.

4 if you have windows, have thermal curtains

5 if you full time, fit a bulkhead, mine cuts down 100% of cold from the cab area and make the van look like a home

6 use circulation fans, if you have a stove use a fan, i make my own from 12 volt high flow pc fans on a heatsink which are driven by speed controllers.

7 if you have a overhead cab bedroom, it needs constant air flow so a fan fixed to the ceiling will be fine.

8 rase the matras to let air under Open cupboards as often as you can, there is no air flow and clotting will get damp.

9 have 2 10 lt emergency water cans as your water tank will freeze you can collect water from rivers. boil to drink so on and use filters.

10 monitor the weather, head for snow and things like that, don’t run go enjoy nature’s sights but learn as it can bite you badly.

Di October 27, 2023 at 8:22 am

Was a full timer from 2017 to June this year, use an electric blanket on the sofa where you sit mostly during day, buy snowboarding trousers and lightweight thermals and layer. Pretty much doing the same in my temporary bricks and mortar, will be back full timing in march once my van is fixed. Living in a house is colder as the cost of utilities is beyond affordable, roll on spring. All my best. Di


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