Written by PDA WA Associate Director Melanie Hawkes
There’s nothing worse than being cold! I find it really difficult to warm up. I take at least 20 minutes to get dry and dressed after a shower and can’t wear thick jackets or extra layers as it affects my arm movements. I still need to be capable of driving my wheelchair and feeding myself on cold days. My hands and feet are like ice blocks most days. It makes me miserable, and I can’t sleep if I’m too cold. Nobody likes grumpy Mel, so here are my top tips for surviving winter:
#1 Heated throw rug – I got one last year from a friend, and I love it! I have it plugged into a smart Wi-Fi plug and use my voice to turn it on and off through my Google assistant. So handy when I go to bed freezing, or wake up shivering during the night. The smart plug app has built in timers, so I can set it to switch itself off. It usually only takes 15 minutes, so I warm up quickly. I wish I could hide under it all day!
#2 Bake – find any excuse to put the oven on! My favourite thing is to roast pumpkin. I take my time turning each piece over, enjoying the warmth on my face and hands. And always leave the oven open when you turn it off. It’s a great way to warm the house. Just be careful not to burn yourself.
#3 A warm bath – I love my bath! I have it as hot as I can tolerate. I got TADWA to make me a comfortable bath seat, and I have a wooden table for my magazine and a drink. And bath bombs are the best. The longest bath I’ve had was three hours, and yes, I had to add a kettle of boiling water after two hours as I started to get cold.
#4 Find the sun – my house was designed to maximise the winter sun. I go from window to window as the sun moves throughout the day.
#5 Hand warmers – I have an electric hand warmer that warms up to approximately 50°C, but I really like the Hot Hands hand warmers too. It is a lot lighter, they always come in sets of two, but unfortunately they aren’t reusable. Most chemists sell these, and they’re the only way my hands don’t freeze at the footy.
#6 Hairdryer – I always have cold hands while using my computer. So I put my hairdryer on my desk! I have it plugged into a wifi plug so I can turn it on and off with my phone. And it blows hot air right onto my hands! Great for when my support workers have freezing cold hands and they have to undress me. The only downside is it’s loud, so can’t use it during zoom meetings.
#7 Heated socks – yes they exist. I bought mine from Amazon. Mine have a pocket for the rechargeable battery to sit in while wearing. It has a remote control too! On the lowest setting the batteries last all day, and my feet are no longer purple ice blocks.
#8 Mulled wine – when all the above fails, mulled wine it is for me. I found Zenzen Gluhmein, a German Christmas wine, at Dan Murphys. A small amount in a mug in the microwave for a minute and I get toasty warm.
Good luck with keeping warm this winter!