The Cape winter may be cold and damp but there are ways to counterbalance the dreary weather. We offer some winter survival tips to brighten up the home and keep everyone fit and happy.
Swop white LED light for yellow light
According to a University of Haifa study, white light suppresses the production of melatonin up to five times more than warm yellow light.
We need melatonin to regulate our sleep patterns. Melatonin also has antioxidant effects, and some studies suggest it’s useful for fighting infectious diseases and treating cancer.
People also automatically perceive yellow light as “warmer” than artificial white light, making it good for winter.
Open during the day, and close up at night
Even if you’ll be at work during daylight hours, tie back the curtains and roll back blinds in the mornings to allow in maximum light and heat. Then reverse the process in the early evening, throughout your home.
According to energy efficiency research at the University of Salford, which set up and monitored a test home, simply drawing blinds at dusk can reduce heat loss from a home by 13 to 14 percent. Drawing curtains is even better, reducing heat loss by 15 to 17 percent.
If you have a polished hard wood floor, you may also want to experiment with removing rugs so that when the sun is shining, beams reflect off the surface and into the room.
Add cheer with bright fabrics
You can create a semblance of summer in your home by replacing dark, gloomy slip covers, cushion covers and curtains with fabrics in brighter shades, from warming oranges or reds to bright green or turquoise.
Also consider adding clean summery colours like amber, yellow, cream or white.
Invest in a bit of comfort
A starkly lit, unheated living space is a miserable thing on a cold, wet evening.
Electricity isn’t cheap and shouldn’t be wasted, but it can make a real difference to quality of life in the winter months. Other alternatives are gas heating or, if you have a fireplace, wood, charcoal or anthracite fires.
It’s worth considering the most cost-effective ways of heating a room – and then invest in a bit of extra heat and light.
Give in to temptation
Steaming hot beverages; stews, soups, curries and hotpots; and hot puddings are time-honoured ways to fight off the winter blues. You can opt for hot chocolate or spicy gluhwein. A good oxtail stew, Lancashire hotpot or fragrant, hot curry is also excellent, for vanquishing the cold and boosting the spirits.
Don’t let the bad weather keep you indoors. Pull on a raincoat and boots, and head out for a brisk walk, jog or cycle, or a walk along one of the Cape’s beaches. There’s nothing more invigorating than getting out in the rain, provided you get dry and warm again once you’re home.
Foil the flu
A bad dose of the flu can be depressing and debilitating. To help reduce the risk of contracting influenza, wash your hands frequently, keep a distance (if possible!) from flu sufferers and investigate the option of getting a flu shot at a nearby pharmacy.
Mesotherapy or moisturise
Cold air contains 30 percent less moisture than hot air. This is why it’s common for people’s lips and skin to dry out and even crack in the winter months. A good lip balm, moisturiser or hydrating cream can do wonders.
If the damage is really bad, there’s always mesotherapy. This is an apparently painless procedure that involves micro-injecting nutrients and moisture into the deep layers of the skin.
Professional winter cleaning
Especially when combined with judicious use of light, heat and the occasional steaming cup of hot chocolate, being in a clean, pleasant space is key to overcoming the winter blues!