How to Feel Warmer If You’re Always Cold

How to Feel Warmer If You’re Always Cold
Photo: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

Cold weather is officially here (at least, it is in areas that typically get cold this time of year.) (I’m not talking about northern Australia.) (I am never talking about northern Australia.)

If you live in an area where the temperatures have taken a major dip, it’s important to keep yourself warm. Maybe you’re coming in from the cold, or you’re dealing with a broken heater, or you don’t want to have another fight about the AC temperature — sometimes all you need is a quick fix to get yourself feeling warm.

Aside from huddling by a space heater, here are some practical solutions and mental tricks to feel warm right away.

Bundle up the right way

It may seem obvious, but layers are the key to trapping heat and staying warm inside and out. The guiding rule with layering clothes is to wear your snuggest-fitting shirts closest to your body, and looser-fitting ones on top.

Avoid using cotton as your base layer, especially if you’re heading out into the snow; once cotton gets wet (like from the snow or your sweat), it stays wet. For your middle layer, turn to wool for one of the best natural insulators. Here are more of our tips for effective layering.

Layer your blankets

There’s a right way to layer your blankets, too. Mental Floss suggests starting with flannel sheets and then, even though it may seem counterintuitive, add your fluffiest comforter as a bottom layer, and use thin, dense blankets on top to prevent convective heat loss.

We also advise using any knitted or crocheted materials as a lower layer, not on top — knit fabrics have air pockets that can trap warm air and keep it in the bed where it belongs.

Keep your hands and feet warm

Our bodies prioritise keeping our organs warm; this leaves our hands and feet out in the cold, quite literally. Protect these extremities by adding a layer or two. If you don’t want to wear gloves, wrap your hands around a mug of your favourite hot beverage, or turn to hand warmers.

Make DIY hand warmers

In order to keep your hands nice and toasty, consider making your own instant DIY hand warmers. For the classic ice-melt pellets method, all you need is a large Ziploc bag, a smaller one, some water, and calcium chloride ice-melt pellets from the hardware store. Here’s how to make one:

Fill the large bag a quarter of the way with the ice-melt pellets. Fill the smaller Ziploc bag halfway with water and seal and then put it inside the bigger bag, squeeze out the excess air and seal. Now, squeeze the smaller bag until it breaks open and the water mixes with the ice-melt pellets, which should create a warming reaction between 20 minutes and an hour according to PopSci (how long will depend on how many pellets you use).

If you don’t have access to ice-melt pellets from the hardware store, try out this method that only requires some baking soda, white vinegar, and a stove.

Put your hands under your armpits

Armpits are the original DIY hand warmers. Stick your hands under those pits and hug your body for some instant relief from the cold.

Hack your mind (and breath)

I’m not suggesting you can instantly achieve the meditative feats of Tibetan monks (who can supposedly use their minds and breath to manually raise their body temperature). At the same time, this study shows that the practice known as “vase breathing” helps to help hack your inner heat. Here’s how to do it:

  • Inhale deeply
  • Hold your breath in for a few seconds
  • Contract both pelvic and abdominal muscles (so that your lower body takes the shape of a curved vase)

In addition to your breath, visualisation techniques can’t hurt. There’s something to be said for whatever placebo effect comes from picturing yourself tanning on a sunny beach, or even imagining an internal flame heating you up from the inside out. Try combining vase breathing with visualisation to achieve nice warming effect.

Sip something warm

In addition to soothing your soul, a hot coffee, tea, or soup is an effective way to feel physically warmer. Plus, while the hot mug helps your hands, the steam from your drink can warm up your face.

Take a warm bath

There’s nothing quite like a hot shower after a long day, but if you’re really trying to get warm quick, consider hopping in the tub. While a shower can’t hurt, a bath that covers your chest area is shown to better raise your body temperature.

Do some jumping jacks

There’s a reason it’s called a “warm up” before you exercise. Whether or not dynamic stretches and light calisthenics are actually useful before your real workout, they’re an effective strategy to start feeling physically warmer.

Need a longer-term fix?

The tips above come in handy when you need to warm up quick, but if you’re feeling a chill all day, every day, you might need a more permanent solution. Here are our tips to stay warm without raising your heating bill, and here’s our guide to managing the cold when your power is out.

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