Winter can be hard for freelancers. If you’re not careful you could slip on ice and break your wrist, spend months freezing your butt off or end up crying over a massive heating bill. But there’s no need to worry about staying safe and warm this winter because I have some fail-proof ways to get through it without falling foul to frostbite or fractures.
How I stay warm in Winter
Here are a few ways I keep warm without spanking the central heating or wearing every item I own:
- I close the door and just heat the room I’m working in.
- I place an old-school draught excluder in front of the main doorway to my flat. It has beach huts on it and it’s rather lovely.
- I swear by base layers. I have a thin LAPASA merino wool underwear set and a thicker Helly Hanson LIFA, stay-dry top with fetching go-faster stripes down the sleeves.
- I wear fluff-lined slippers inside and put lambswool innersoles inside my trainers when I go out. They are cheap as chips and make a massive difference to how warm my feet are. I usually buy some for my Mum too as she’s always complaining that her feet are cold.
- I sometimes wear a cheap but snug, fleece neck gaiter which I got from Amazon and long fingerless gloves from Turtle Doves. The gloves were not cheap but they’re cashmere and are soft as a kitten.
- I wear knee socks. Although, tbh I actually wear them for around seven months of the year. Because… England.
- I take regular breaks and do a few star jumps, lunges and squats. Freelancers can be pretty immobile and I’m lazy AF so any extra movement is a bonus. My flat feels like Greenland at times but when I’ve gone to the shop (for milk and not Maltesers you understand), I’ve discovered that it’s not that cold at all, it’s just that I’ve been sitting still for so long that it just feels cold.
- I have a wheat-filled, wraparound neck warmer that my chiropractor recommended. You pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes then velcro it around your neck and shoulders. People will mock you but after they try it they will refuse to give it back. They no longer sell the one I own, but this one is similar.
- Extreme weather calls for extreme measures and sometimes only an incredibly strokable, faux fur hot water bottle on my lap or under my feet will do. It’s cheap, cheerful and an area-focused heating solution. I have an electric blanket on my bed but I can take this bad boy all around the house!
How not to fall and break your wrist
It doesn’t snow often here in Brighton and the salty air means it rarely settles when it does. However, occasionally we get hit with a ton of snow which immediately compacts, freezes over and turns into a hard, skiddy death trap.
When it snows in Brighton, people tumble like skittles and A&E is rammed with weeping freelancers.
Brighton is also very hilly and I used to worry that I’d slip over and break my wrist or something equally painful and debilitating. When you slip your immediate reaction is to put your hands out to break your fall… but freelancers simply cannot afford to break their wrists.
But I don’t worry about that happening any more.
A few years ago, a ton of snow fell here. At first, I simply didn’t leave the house and just watched people crawling over the ice on their hands and knees (I kid you not) at the intersection. But then I discovered these Blackspur rubber overshoes and my life changed forever.
You just hook them over your wellies or trainers and you can actually run full-pelt on the ice or snow and not fall over. You make a fun-sounding clip-clop noise when you enter a shop, but under a tenner is a small price to pay for not breaking any bones.
In fact, I thought they were so good that I bought some for my Dad so I didn’t have to worry about him slipping over in the mud when he took the dogs for a walk in the woods. He never remembers to wear them, of course, but that’s beside the point.
I also use a Vicks nasal spray called First Defence when I feel a cold coming on. I kid you not, this stuff is phenomenal.
A friend recommended it to me and, one day as I felt a cold coming on as I was just about to leave to spend the weekend at my parents, I bought some to see if it would help. I felt awful and on the train I started to feel worse and worse – by the time I arrived at my folks my head hurt, my neck hurt and even my teeth hurt.
But, I kept snorting the First Defence (even though it’s disgusting and I didn’t truly believe in its power) every few hours and when I woke up in the morning I was right as rain. There wasn’t even a HINT of cold.
First Defence works like witchcraft, I tell you.
Being cold sucks and, while I know some of this stuff might sound obvious, a lot of it was trial and error for me. It’s far too easy to just whack the heating up but you’ll definitely feel remorseful when the bill arrives.
Obviously, you could also just put on another jumper and sit with your back up against the radiator, but these other things I have mentioned have made such a big difference that I wanted to share them with you.
Over to you
Your turn. What tips do you have for staying toasty and safe in the cold weather without turning the heating up to tropical, wrapping yourself in a duvet or wearing an eye-bleedingly hideous slanket?
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** This post was last updated in November 2020.