As we look ahead to the winter, it is hard not to feel a little overwhelmed. There has been so much news over the summer about things that we need to be worried about, and there have been very few signs that anything is going to be done to help. With soaring energy prices, the increase in the cost of food, and the worry about extreme weather over the winter, anyone who looks after a family is going to have their hands full keeping everyone happy and healthy.
However, there are always going to be things that you can do to ensure that you, your children, and your parents can get through the winter with minimal disruption and as much fun and happiness as possible. When you have a family member with mobility issues, this can be particularly tough. Whether you are caring for elderly relatives who may be struggling with mobility or thinking about how you can keep your children’s diet varied and healthy, we have put together a series of tips that will help you make the most of this winter. Let’s get started.
Make A Budget
First things first: everyone needs to look at their finances to get a better idea of what they are going to be dealing with this winter. Anyone who has been paying attention to the news will know that money is going to be one of the biggest concerns over the next few months. With costs going up and up, you need to remember that any budgetary plans that you may have made over the last few months may no longer be relevant.
With that in mind, sit down with your bank statements from the last few months and look at where your money is going. Once you have identified the big regular costs (we are talking about mortgages, rent payments, car payments and so on), you can focus on the smaller ones. Once you know where your money is going, you can think about where you can make cuts.
Work Up Some Healthy Meal Plans
One of the easiest ways that you can go over budget as a family is by not knowing what your meal plan for the week is. This is when we can be prone to impulse buying expensive items at the supermarket or simply giving up and ordering a takeaway. It is also the case that the easiest meals are very often not the healthiest. Sadly, the cheapest meals are often not particularly healthy either.
What you need to do if you want to make sure that your family is eating healthily over the winter without breaking the bank is to make a weekly meal plan. Think about what recipes you enjoy making and what you and your children enjoy eating. Think about cooking enough so that there can be leftovers, and make sure that you use them too. Try to keep your cupboards well stocked with tinned vegetables as this is an easy vitamin win.
Help Your Parents Stay Active
It is always much easier for all of us to stay active during the summer. When the days are long and the weather is good, we can talk ourselves into squeezing in a quick jog before work or going out for a long walk in the evening. However, now that we are heading into winter, we are heading for short days and cold and rain. Making sure that you are getting enough exercise is one thing (and we will get onto that in just a moment), but if your parents are older and have mobility issues, you may be worrying about how they can stay active. Even a short walk can become a challenge, but it is so important that they continue exercising to keep strengthening their muscles.
Exercise is also crucial for mental health too. If you are worried that your parents are not getting out enough, you could buy a Rollator or mobility scooter. Rollators are comfortable and stylish mobility tools that allow people to walk longer and more often. They are easy to manoeuvre and control, and they offer excellent support to help with posture. Rollz offers a range of different rollators to suit specific needs, and you can find out more by visiting their website.
You And Your Family Need To Stay Active Too
It can be tough to think about where you can find the time for exercise when you are over-tired and over-stressed. If you look after a family, then the chances are that you will be both. However, in addition to the health benefits discussed above, exercising regularly also helps to keep your immune system going. The best place to start is by creating a routine. Look at your daily scheduled and identify a slot that you can dedicate to exercise. Even a quick jog in the morning can help.
Try to pick an exercise that you enjoy and set yourself some realistic targets. If you try to do too much too soon, there is a much better chance that you won’t stick to it. It is also important to remember that exercising can be a great family activity too. Think about what sports and exercise you could all enjoy on the weekends. This is another area where Rollators can be particularly useful, as they are incredibly versatile. Rollz also offers models that can transform from walking aids to wheelchairs quickly and easily.
Make Mental Health A Priority
The winter is always a tough time for anyone who struggles with their mental health, and a lot of us have been through the ringer lately. If you are worried about how you or a family member may be able to cope through this period, start thinking about the steps you can take now. For example, trying to factor in some time that is just for you will help, as will staying away from too much caffeine or alcohol.
Try to make sure that you are getting enough sleep (between seven and nine hours a night, depending on how much you need), and think about investing in a SAD lamp if you know that you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. You should also think very carefully about whether you might need additional support. There is no shame in reaching out and talking to your GP about your mental health or talking to a therapist. Keep talking to your family members about how they are doing.
Watch Your Energy Usage
Turning to one of the biggest concerns of this winter: energy bills. There are a lot of people out there who are worried about how they are going to be able to afford their bills this winter. You should start by thinking about easy changes that you could make, such as making sure that big appliances like TVs and computers are turned off at the wall instead of staying on standby all night.
You could also think about upgrading your major appliances such as your washing machine and dishwasher to more energy efficient models. This is obviously an expense upfront, but it is a long-term investment. Finally, make sure that you keep an eye on any help that the government is offering to anyone who is struggling with their bills. You will of course be worried about your parents, particularly if they struggle to get around, so watch out for any new benefits plans. The situation is continuing to unfold at the moment, and you need to be aware of what you could be entitled to.