Winter is a great time to have a warrant of fitness! Check if you are eating well to combat the cold and any bugs that abound, plan an exercise regime, grab the sun when you can – the vitamin D is as essential to your own well-being as it is to your home’s. Opening your curtains and letting in the sun, weak as it may be, has multiple benefits: not only does it benefit your health; the sun shining directly onto your window provides free heating and has antibacterial properties! If you are feeling well and positive you’ll feel more inclined to get out and enjoy the beautiful city, take up some great winter activities and make the most of our stunning reserves and beaches.
Like any fitness regime, your home will need a baseline, a good diet and time to build up to full fitness. A Home Energy audit is a great place to start. It helps identify which rooms are generally at the healthy temperature of 18- 20ºC, where and why heat is being lost. Understanding and managing heat loss is crucial to the health of your home and whānau. You can borrow the free HEAT kit (Home Energy Audit Toolkit) from any Auckland library. It will help you work out where your home uses the most energy, how to block draughts and reduce moisture.
Here are eight useful tips to help you take the first steps for winter wellness:
- Check insulation (mandatory after July 2019 for all rentals) and wrap up warm including lined and fitted curtains, wrapping your water cylinder, plastic groundsheet, double glazing and wearing a hat and scarf.
- Clear any mould with a white vinegar and water mix. Spray affected area, leave for half an hour and clean off. Leave cupboard doors open to allow the air in and keep the mould out.
- Stop up any draughts with a door snake or V- tape (available from a hardware store)
- Install, maintain and use extractor fans correctly in the bathroom and kitchen
- Allow the sun to access your windows by trimming shrubs and use curtains or blinds to help trap in the heat by closing as the sun goes down.
- A thermostat on portable heaters is a good way to ensure the home is warm when you want it to be – just before getting up or returning from being out.
- Warm winter foods like soups from kumara, pumpkin, potatoes and spinach beet are fuels for your wellness. Buying up the cheaper seasonal food in bulk and making some soups to freeze and have ready when needed will ensure your fridge/freezer and family will be operating efficiently.
- Bursts of fresh air help to ventilate the home, fill the lungs and energise the body and mind – open doors and windows at least once a day and take some time outside – walk, cycle or plant some trees!