A few years ago I returned to New York, my birthplace, in search of colder weather. That may seem strange, but for me the heat and sunlight of South Florida literally was putting my body in a full-time flare-up. And while some spoonies relish the warmth (and actually feel better in it), my body seems to prefer the cold. However, colder weather comes with its own set of struggles.
Right now my husband and I live near the Canadian border, and fall is prime time for the weather to drastically change within a few hours. Just the other day it was 80 degrees in the mid-afternoon, and by nightfall it had dropped to 39 degrees. My body wasn’t quite sure what to do.
As many of us in the U.S. start to prepare ourselves for winter, snow, and chilly temperatures, it’s important to have a few tools in place to keep your body warm and as healthy as possible to combat infections.
5 favorite things I start to implement each fall
1. Never go to bed cold again
It takes a lot for my older Northeastern home to get really warm in the winter, and there is nothing I like less than getting into a freezing cold bed at night. So my husband surprised me with a heated mattress pad that has multiple heat settings.
I turn it on as I am settling down for the night, doing my skincare and pajama ritual. Within 15 minutes, my bed is toasty warm. There are also smaller heating pads for your bed that only warm up the area where your feet are located – perfect for those who deal with cold toes. Sunbeam makes a popular heated mattress pad you can find here, and here is the foot warmer by the same company.
2. Purchase clothing that can be layered
I never thought of layering clothing as an art form until I moved away from Fort Lauderdale and into a city that has one of the highest annual snowfalls in the U.S. Because of this, I’ve sort of became a master at layering. When layering clothing, it is best to build your foundation with the thinnest layer first. Think long sleeve, snug top and perhaps a pair of leggings.
When building your outfit, consider sweat-wicking, stretchy, and comfortable fabrics. I did some research and found that linens, rayon, and cotton are actually some of the worst in cooler weather as they quickly allow body heat to escape.
Once your base layer in on, you can build multiple layers with a chunky sweater, cape, wool tailored jacket, etc. Try micro-fiber, polyester synthetics, wool/cashmere/goose down if you aren’t allergic, or a polyester microfiber blend with Lycra. Top it off with hats, scarves, and gloves. I’ve been know to wear hats and scarves in my home throughout winter (even though everyone else around me is warm). I have found it helps me better regulate my body temperature on the really chilly days.
3. Warm up through liquids
When the temperatures drop, drinking warm liquids throughout the day and staying hydrated is one of the quickest ways for me to warm up. I am a huge fan of herbal and green teas, as well as golden milk recipes that contain incredible inflammatory-fighting ingredients like turmeric. Other options I love are chai maple cider and Mexican-spiced hot cocoa.
4. Invest in some heat packs
If you need another way to stay warm over the next few months, I highly recommended adding heat packs to your list. A variety of brands and sizes can be found on Amazon. These typically come in single use packs that you shake or squeeze to release the heat producing ingredients. Heat packs can generate heat for up to 12 hours depending on the manufacturer. I’ve been known to put these in between my shirt layers and in my pockets, especially on negative degree wind-chill days! Some of my favorites include these Hot Hands Body and Hand Warming Packets.
5. Protect yourself from germs
This isn’t necessarily a “warming” tip, but it is something I do consistently when the weather gets cooler to help protect myself from nasty germs. I make a shot-like drink that contains fresh crushed garlic, lemon juice, aloe vera juice, grated ginger, and honey. I have found that drinking this on a regular basis has really helped my already battered immune system stay in check. Sometimes I even add a dash of cayenne pepper for a little extra kick!
These are just a few ways I like to stay extra warm and healthy during fall and winter.
Have some helpful tips of your own? We would love for you to share them in the comments below!
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.