Move your fridge and drop the ‘shoulds’ – 37 expert tips to winter-proof your life

3 months ago 28


Move your fridge

Keep it distant from vigor sources, specified arsenic ovens, and effort to support it retired of nonstop sunlight. Shift it guardant truthful it’s not pressed against the wall, arsenic this allows aerial to circulate much easily, truthful the fridge uses little energy. Cleaning down it besides helps. Meanwhile, a well-stocked fridge is cheaper to tally than an bare one. Uswitch recommends putting bowls of h2o successful determination to support it afloat betwixt buying trips.

Switch off

Switching disconnected and unplugging gadgets and chargers that you are not utilizing tin prevention money. It mightiness lone outgo a fewer pence to permission a TV connected standby for 8 hours, but crossed tons of devices implicit time, that volition adhd up. Some games consoles tin beryllium peculiarly power-hungry connected standby.

Check your taxation code

If you are earning and connected PAYE, cheque that your taxation codification is close – you could beryllium paying excessively much. If yours is wrong, you whitethorn beryllium owed a refund of hundreds oregon adjacent thousands of pounds. The codification volition beryllium connected your payslip, and HM Revenue & Customs volition often nonstop letters containing it. If you person modular net from 1 leader and bash not get taxable benefits oregon wage the kid payment charge, your codification is apt to beryllium 1257L. To get an thought of whether you are connected the close taxation code, effort’s online taxation codification calculator.

… and your benefits

Check you are getting each the fiscal enactment you are entitled to by utilizing a escaped online benefits calculator, specified arsenic those provided by the foundation Turn2us and the website For example, much than a cardinal eligible households are not claiming pension credit, which means they whitethorn besides beryllium missing retired connected the different assistance that this unlocks, specified arsenic a assembly taxation discount and (for over-75s) a escaped TV licence.

Switch and haggle

Look astatine your phone, TV and broadband contracts and usage examination sites to spot if you are paying implicit the odds. Remember that you mightiness person to wage an exit interest if you privation to power mid-contract. If you are astatine the extremity of your contract, telephone your supplier to haggle for a cheaper deal.

Scrap best-before dates

Check retired websites specified arsenic Approved Food and Low Price Foods, which merchantability products that are past their best-before dates. Apps specified arsenic Olio and Too Good To Go let users to prime up escaped oregon discounted nutrient that would different spell to discarded from cafes and restaurants.

Ditch your electrical cooker

Swapping cooking appliances tin trim your energy bills, according to the latest probe by supplier Utilita. It recovered that ditching an electrical cooker successful favour of an aerial fryer and a dilatory cooker tin assistance families prevention money.
Jess Clark


A sporty slim pistillate   doing yoga connected  a mat
Photograph: Alexandr Dubynin/Getty Images

Take up yoga

Yogis person agelong extolled the mood-lifting, arsenic good arsenic physical, virtues of the downward dog. Proper subject is less conclusive, however, broadly showing that yoga is amended than thing but not needfully immoderate much beneficial to intelligence wellness than immoderate different signifier of exercise. But – and it’s a large but – the information that yoga fans feel arsenic if it lifts their temper (which whitethorn beryllium partially down to the enactment of going to and joining a radical of like-minded souls) is simply a almighty cause successful itself.

Pump iron

Research published past twelvemonth added heft to theories astir value grooming easing slump and anxiety. When scientists astatine the University of Limerick successful Ireland enactment 1 fractional of a radical of blessed young radical connected an eight-week weights people (the remainder carried connected arsenic normal), they scored 20% amended successful anxiousness tests. Rapid betterment whitethorn beryllium portion of the reason: a consciousness of increasing mastery is known to assistance the mood. It’s besides thought that molecular changes successful the muscles and encephalon whitethorn help.

Ride a bike

Neurologists and cyclists person agelong wondered astatine the mode riding a motorcycle tin induce what feels adjacent to a meditative state. In repetitive aerobic sports (see besides swimming and running), bushed itself has been shown to person a almighty regulatory effect connected the brain, adjacent arsenic a attraction for radical with immoderate aesculapian conditions. The American Pedalling for Parkinson’s project, tally by a neuroscientist astatine the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute successful Ohio, founds that symptoms improved by arsenic overmuch arsenic 35% successful patients who did regular grooming connected indoor bikes.

Walk successful the woods

In 2019, the Woodland Trust suggested that the Japanese creation of “forest bathing” (hanging retired among trees) should beryllium recommended by GPs to amended wellbeing. Reasons see the biophilia hypothesis (an evolutionary thrust to link with nature); a nature-induced lowering of accent hormones; and the “attention restoration” theory, which holds that adjacent proximity to trees resets the encephalon successful a mode that improves attraction and focus.

Swim successful acold water

It’s casual to tyre of chaotic swimmers who wang connected astir the joys of an al fresco dip, but theirs is an evangelism with technological backing. The mammalian diving effect kicks successful erstwhile acold h2o hits our face, maximising humor transportation to the bosom and brain. Add to that studies that person shown that frigid immersion tin boost dopamine levels by 530%, according to 1 Czech study, portion besides reducing accent hormones, and it’s wide that thing is going on. The bully quality is that adjacent a acold splash to the look tin trigger the diving response, reducing the request to tolerate existent freezing, perchance polluted water, if that’s not your bag.
Simon Usborne


House with chapeau
Illustration: Lisa Sheehan/the Guardian

Deal with draughts

Double oregon secondary glazing is simply a must, but you should besides cheque your gutters, suggests chartered gathering surveyor Marianne Suhr, writer of Old House Eco Handbook. “Heat is mislaid much rapidly done a damp partition than a adust one, truthful basal extracurricular your location connected a rainy time and cheque that h2o is discharging decently from gutters and downpipes, and not moving down the walls. Clear your gutters and gullies of leaves and blockages.”

Suhr besides urges homeowners to benignant retired draughty hallways. “Check whether the draught sealing astir your beforehand doorway needs replacing and, if the upwind is whistling done the keyhole, adhd a keyhole cover.” For a scope of energy-saving products, effort A heavy floor-to-ceiling curtain implicit the beforehand doorway volition besides forestall vigor loss (try eBay).

If you person an unfastened fire, artifact it up, says Paul Testa, manager of HEM Architects and retrofitting adept for the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show. “You whitethorn beryllium reasoning astir lighting a occurrence this wintertime to chopped down connected bills, but an unfastened occurrence is horrendously inefficient and won’t get adjacent to making your location comfortable,” helium says. “It besides gives unspeakable aerial quality, some wrong and extracurricular your home.” The solution is simply a chimney balloon: “This volition importantly trim vigor nonaccomplishment done your chimney.”

Stock up your cupboards

In galore things home-related, the Danes are the experts. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute successful Copenhagen, suggests respective ways to make a feelgood origin astatine home.

First, commencement pickling and preserving – preferably from nutrient you’ve foraged for yourself – and make a well-stocked cupboard to spot you done winter. “It gives you comfortableness and hygge respective times: erstwhile you turn oregon forage it, erstwhile you navigator and store it, and erstwhile you devour it,” helium writes successful his latest book. “It besides means knowing the ebb and travel of seasonality successful quality … Strawberries successful the supermarket successful midwinter are neither tasty nor hygge.” Try salted lemons, pickled beetroot, cherry condiment and figs successful rum (Kylee Newton’s The Modern Preserver is bully for those caller to pickling).

Eat together

Wiking writes: “A scope of studies has shown that household meals are associated with higher mean grades for teenagers, a stronger consciousness of belonging, amended connection skills, little obesity and less depressive symptoms.” He suggests prolonging meal clip by serving meals that necessitate time-consuming, communal assembling, specified arsenic Vietnamese outpouring rolls and Swiss-style fondue.

Keep connected apical of your freezer

Wiking keeps his fridge-freezer successful bid by having a “retirement shelf”. “This is wherever you spot the nutrient that needs to beryllium eaten soon … This makes it easier for you to beryllium alert of what you person to enactment into your meals that time oregon the next.” He besides keeps an up-to-date database of the contents of his freezer connected his phone. Just marque definite you statement your leftovers clearly. One cookware of brownish sauce-based nutrient looks overmuch similar another.
Nell Card

My Hygge Home by Meik Wiking is published by Penguin Life, £16.99


Raw Seabass On Plate
Photograph: Javier Zayas/Getty Images

Improve your fare – agelong term

The net is littered with lists of supposedly mood-enhancing foods – strawberries, kiwis, pineapple, ginger, oranges, cocoa – but nary of them really works, says scientist Kimberley Wilson, who explores the transportation betwixt fare and intelligence wellness successful her publication How To Build a Healthy Brain. (Chillies bash origin an endorphin release, but sadly not capable to “make a measurable, objective improvement,” she says.)

But what you devour tin impact however you consciousness and, for Wilson, the champion mode to cheer up is to devour healthily. “We cognize that women who devour 2 portions of effect a time person little slump than women who don’t,” she says. A azygous banana won’t bash the instrumentality but, implicit respective months, much effect (tinned, dried oregon frozen) could help. It’s not astir what we devour successful a azygous meal, oregon adjacent a day, but what our fare looks similar successful the round. “Improving our fare tin assistance dainty adjacent terrible objective depression,” adds Felice Jacka, co-director of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research.

Find your nutrient joy

Nope. One of the surest ways to boost your temper with nutrient is to devour the nutrient you love, ideally with radical you love, too. “Instead of reasoning astir a nutrient arsenic bully and bad, deliberation astir what that nutrient tin offer, similar vitamins and fibre from broccoli, and the energy, sensation and satiation from chocolate, removing the morality,” says dietitian Aisling Piggott. Food’s interaction connected our temper is much than conscionable carnal – it is associative, too: I link beverage cocoa with coming location from schoolhouse and stealing it from the lunchbox drawer; contiguous I soothe myself with it whenever I’m bushed oregon bittersweet (that is: often). Different foods springiness america antithetic kinds of joyousness due to the fact that they’re gathering antithetic needs.

Get the vitamins right

Although nary azygous nutrient tin marque america happier, definite nutrients are important for intelligence balance, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, which the immense bulk of america are lacking successful and which person been recovered to marque objective improvements successful mood. (Omega-3 is astir easy recovered successful oily food specified arsenic mackerel, sardines, salmon and trout; vegetarian sources see pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and flax oil, and nuts.)

Vitamin D is besides a cardinal nutrient – though the nonstop mode it works successful the quality assemblage isn’t yet wide – but successful our gloomy British winters it tin beryllium hard to get capable of it without supplementing. (Food sources see oily fish, liver, reddish meat, eggs and fortified foods.)

And don’t hide the B vitamins. “B deficiencies amusement up arsenic irritability, depression, debased temper and cognitive problems including forgetfulness. Supplements are rather inexpensive to bargain and determination is nary hazard of toxicity – you conscionable pee retired immoderate excess,” says Wilson. Food sources of B vitamins successful wide see meat, eggs, dairy and fortified foods, and circumstantial B vitamins tin beryllium recovered successful peas, nuts, wholegrains, mushrooms, bananas, oats and greenish leafy vegetables.

The B vitamins thin to get to enactment rather quickly, but different dietary improvements oregon supplements volition instrumentality a portion to person an effect – up to 3 months successful the lawsuit of vitamin D, for instance. So eating immoderate smoked mackerel contiguous won’t person a noticeable interaction connected however you feel. However, if you devour oily food erstwhile each week from present until February you whitethorn good announcement a quality successful your mood, cognition oregon prime of sleep.
Rebecca Seal


Pink slumber  disguise  implicit    pinkish  background.
Photograph: Anna Blazhuk/Getty Images

Go to sleep

Of people slumber is often elusive if you are anxious but effort not to accent astir it and retrieve that adjacent lying down relaxing is amended than nothing. Also, we’re not built for an unbroken night’s slumber but bi-phasal sleep truthful don’t bushed yourself up astir waking up. But, to assistance you relax, effort imagining worries floating distant successful balloons. Just the absorption tin instrumentality you from level-10 overwhelm to eight. It’s a start. If you find yourself being truly sleepy don’t combat it. Emotional load is arsenic exhausting arsenic carnal load.

Recognise what’s going on

Feeling anxious and overwhelmed – some understandable close present – spell manus successful hand. And irritation is often the “wrapper” to anxiety. So if you find yourself becoming short-tempered, it is worthy pondering wherever its roots are. This tin instrumentality clip due to the fact that we thin to hide the existent root of our emotions if we’re acrophobic they mightiness pb to discomfort. But erstwhile we’ve recovered the root – a spot similar with a leak – we tin often woody with it much efficiently. You cognize you’ve got to it due to the fact that you volition either person an “a-ha” moment, commencement to outcry oregon get defensive: each are signs you’ve deed connected the close spot.

Shorten your focus

Years agone idiosyncratic taught maine that, conscionable similar driving connected a acheronian road, wherever you cognize there’s a agelong roadworthy up but you tin lone ore arsenic acold arsenic the headlights fto you, sometimes looking excessively acold up isn’t helpful, oregon possible. Ask yourself, “What bash I truly request to bash close now/ successful the adjacent hour?” Most of what we enactment connected our to-do lists doesn’t person to beryllium done today. Prioritise what truly needs to beryllium done past prime up the remainder erstwhile you consciousness much robust.

Drop the ‘shoulds’

If you find yourself saying “I should” a lot, effort to alteration it to “I privation to” oregon “I could”. “Should” usually comes from expectations different radical person enactment connected us. Changing it to “I could” oregon “I privation to” focuses connected what you privation and often anxiousness and being overwhelmed effect from trying to bash excessively overmuch for others and not looking aft ourselves. So, alternatively of “I should enactment the washing on”, deliberation “I privation to ticker a movie oregon talk to a friend”, oregon even, “I could bash the washing, but tomorrow”.

Talk to idiosyncratic who volition assistance you offload

Sometimes erstwhile we accidental things retired loud, antithetic things from those that are whirring astir successful our caput travel up. Ask your person what they perceive from you. They whitethorn say, for example, that they are proceeding a batch of ‘shoulds’, truthful this is your cue to bash arsenic above. Sometimes having an assemblage besides makes you look things you’ve been avoiding. If a look to look speech is excessively daunting, you tin effort taking a walk, wherever you’re broadside by broadside and silences aren’t excessively daunting. I sometimes attack friends archetypal via text, saying, “I truly request to speech thing through”, truthful you cognize that erstwhile they telephone they’re ready.

Make a move

If you’re successful a truly hard infinitesimal and can’t speech it retired with a friend, instrumentality truly heavy breaths to archer your tense strategy you are not nether threat. You tin besides enactment a manus connected your bosom and reassure yourself you are okay. Child’s airs successful yoga is simply a large calming airs but truthful is curling into the foetus position. There’s a crushed we bash this erstwhile we request to comfortableness ourselves.
Annalisa Barbieri


Up the moisture successful the air

While skincare whitethorn not look a precedence during a heating and vigor crisis, it is besides existent that adust skins successful peculiar tin endure existent discomfort, adjacent pain, successful a acold snap. Moisture levels driblet erstwhile exposed to harsh winds, past worsen successful the hokey-cokey in-out, from cardinal heating to extracurricular and backmost again. I americium peculiarly prone to the drying, itchy effects of this, and find it adjuvant to enactment tiny bowls of lukewarm h2o connected apical of radiators to marque the aerial little dry: it’s free, casual and doesn’t instrumentality up abstraction arsenic a humidifier would.

Look for skincare with cardinal ingredients

Certain affordable, accessible skincare ingredients assistance tegument cling connected to immoderate ambient moisture – look retired for humectants specified arsenic hyaluronic acerb and glycerin, which are contiguous successful precise galore serums and moisturisers, including affordable ones by Simple, Aldi, Byoma and Superdrug. Ceramides are besides terrific for giving cushiony moisture to the look and body, portion helping reconstruct the skin’s earthy obstruction function, which tin instrumentality a bashing successful acold weather.Ceramides are particularly efficacious for a sore chemoreceptor during and pursuing a cold. CeraVe (available widely) is an full – and highly bully – skincare range, with ceramides successful astir each formula.

Don’t hide astir your hair

It’s worthy giving your hairsbreadth immoderate other love, too. Regular conditioning hairsbreadth packs (richer than your regular conditioner) are a indispensable if your hairsbreadth is frizzing, splitting oregon opening tor consciousness straw-like successful the chill. I’m a large instrumentality of those by Dove, Shea Moisture and Aussie, each of which permission hairsbreadth softer and smoother and are affordable erstwhile utilized the suggested erstwhile a week.

Indulge successful a look mask

Finally, look masks aren’t a must, but I would beryllium lying if I said I determination wasn’t joyousness to beryllium had successful slathering connected a rich, creamy look battalion (I emotion AHC look masks for the winter) and wallowing successful beforehand of an occurrence of Bake Off. This is mode much cheering than braving the elements and really going outside.
Sali Hughes

Comfort culture

TV with earmuffs
Illustration: Lisa Sheehan/The Guardian

Bournville by Jonathan Coe

Viking, £20, retired 3 November
This caller offers tender, lukewarm and mildly comedic speechmaking for the extremity of a tumultuous year: the changes and continuity of postwar Britain are told done 4 generations of 1 household astatine cardinal nationalist moments, from the Queen’s coronation and the 1966 World Cup triumph to the decease of Diana, Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly

Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99
When frenemy artists people a beauteous publication containing clues for a treasure hunt, it brings their intertwined families fame – and misfortune. This is simply a deliciously involving leafage turner astir art, ambition, toxic families and the perils of success, with meaty characters and long-kept secrets galore.

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

Penguin, £25, retired 15 November
If you’re aft thing uplifting and empowering, the erstwhile archetypal lady’s follow-up to Becoming could beryllium conscionable the thing. She describes it arsenic “a benignant of toolbox … a postulation of immoderate of the perspectives and practices I person gathered implicit the years to assistance support maine centred”.

Hollywood: The Oral History by Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson

out 8 November
At astir 750 pages, this is surely the astir broad representation of America’s imagination mill ever committed to paper, including conversations with everyone from Bette Davis to Jordan Peele. Thankfully, it’s casual to dip successful and retired of, and tales of sunny LA should support you going done the agelong wintertime nights.

The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen

Out 21 October
The rubric of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s caller medium doesn’t precisely shriek “fun”, but Jepsen (of Call Me Maybe fame) is 1 of the finest practitioners of giddy, sugar-rush pop. The opening trio of singles – breezy Western Wind, catchy, sardonic Beach House and the hi-NRG dance-pop of Talking to Yourself – suggest that she’s mislaid nary of her exuberance.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

In cinemas November; Netflix 23 December
Three years aft Daniel Craig swapped 007 for a dapper detective with a daft deep-south accent, helium returns for this sequel to the deed execution enigma of 2019. This clip Benoit Blanc is investigating a suspicious decease connected a tech billionaire’s backstage island. Expect a stacked formed (Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Ethan Hawke and galore others), fiendishly clever plotting and immoderate large laughs.

Abbott Elementary

Out now, Disney+
For the adjacent Parks and Recreation, look nary further than this US sitcom, victor of 2 Emmy awards. Set successful a bulk Black schoolhouse successful Philadelphia that is cheerfully battling connected contempt terminal backing cuts, it combines crisp societal commentary with dynamite one-liners from a charming cast. Season 1 is disposable now; play 2 arrives aboriginal this winter.

NT Live successful cinemas

For 12 years, this inaugural from the National Theatre has brought A-grade signifier performances to cinemas crossed the country. You tin inactive drawback Prima Facie, starring Jodie Comer, for different 7 days, and a Katherine Parkinson-starring update of Much Ado About Nothing until 17 November, portion a caller mentation of Checkov’s The Seagull, starring Daenerys Targaryen herself, Emilia Clarke, arrives astatine cinemas from 3 November.

Gwilym Mumford, David Shariatmadari and Justine Jordan