How to fight the winter blues: easy ways to keep you and your family warm and sickness-free this winter

June 26th, 2015

Appliance Talk Heaters Heating & Cooling

It’s wet, cold, and all our coats and scarves have come out of hiding. Yes, winter is definitely upon us, and with winter usually comes colder temperatures, and the dreaded man flu!

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Below are few of my favourite ways to beat the winter blues, as well as tips and tricks that will help you and your family.

Soup glorious soup!

Nothing beats the warmth of scrumptious hot soups dripping down your throat when it’s so cold outside your fingers freeze as soon as you step outside your front door. Soup is definitely a simple  and affordable way of heating up. Try this easy pumpkin soup recipe the whole family will love:




Roasted pumpkin soup recipe – Source:


  • 1.5kg edible pumpkin
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock


Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil.

In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramalised at the edges.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.

When the squash is ready, add to the pan with the hot stock. Blend with a stick blender, adding a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.

Ladle into bowls and add you favourite toppings


Don’t forget to make the most of your pumpkin by roasting the seeds – they make a great topping for this soup.

Start working on your summer body

Not only does exercising help maintain your weight, but it also helps relieve stress and keep you healthy, which in turn helps your body fight off sickness easier. Daily exercise helps your metabolism stay elevated, as well as helping your mind by releasing those “feel good chemicals” that improve your mood. As if we needed another reason to get fit!

Image courtesy of photostock at

Image courtesy of photostock at

Try some of these easy at home exercises to get you started.

  •  Chair Dips Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair, with hands next to hips. Slide your bottom off the edge and bend elbows to 90 degrees. Be sure to keep your back close to the chair, and then push back up. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.
  • Chair Squats Stand in front of chair, feet hip-distance apart, toes forward. Lean chest slightly forward. Bend knees, tap (don’t sit!) bottom on chair, and then stand up. Keep your weight in your heels and keep knees over toes. Do 10 to 12 reps.
  • Butterfly Abs Lie on back and place soles of feet together; relax knees out to the side. Place hands behind head, with elbows out. Tightening abs, lift chest and shoulders up, then release back down. Do 10 to 12 reps.
  • Oblique Crunches Lie on back, with knees bent. Cross your left ankle over opposite knee. Place right hand behind head and lift right shoulder toward left knee. Release down. Do 10 to 12 reps, and then switch sides.
  • Modified Push-Ups Get down on all fours, knees together. Walk hands out and lift feet; move hands slightly wider than chest. Head, neck, back and butt should be in alignment. Keeping your abs tight, bend elbows and lower chest toward the floor. Press back up. Do 10 to 12 reps.

Read more here

Heat up my life new school!

Ahh yes, the wonderful invention that is the heater. Below are our top heater picks; I also threw a few electric blankets into the mix. These are great for homes that don’t have central heating.

Dimplex Electric Fire Heater  


 Delonghi Electric Ceramic Tower Heater 

Dimplex Electric Eco Column Heater


 Sunbeam Heated Throw 


 Sunbeam King Electric Blanket

Let the sunshine in

As our serotonin levels are lower during winter, it’s crucial to try and get as much sunlight as we can. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, memory, and mood.

Image courtesy of Exsodus at

Image courtesy of Exsodus at

To make the most of your wintertime sun exposure:

  • Open all the curtains in your house as early as possible to ensure enough natural light can shine through.
  • Even though we all want to, try not to spend the entire winter stuck inside. If the day is nice enough, head outside for a stroll, or sit out in the sun at the park on your lunch break.
  • And if there are days that have no sun whatsoever, invest in a light box. Light boxes simulate the sun’s natural rays. They work by reducing the release of melatonin in the brain. For best results, use a light box daily, in the early morning, and for 30 minutes to two hours at a time.

Stay away germs!

The best and most effective way of eliminating the spread of germs is to ensure your hands are washed regularly. As winter is known as the cold and flu season, it’s vital we all step up our hygiene procedures.

Image courtesy of jackthumm at

Image courtesy of jackthumm at

  • Cough into disposable tissues.
  • Have hand sanitiser close-by.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after every bathroom visit.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands.

Another great way of keeping the germs away is to take daily multi-vitamins. These will help strengthen your immune system and to fight all the bad bacteria.

Close your eyes and drift off to dreamland

I understand how busy people are these days, with work, personal commitments, as well as family time, but it’s still crucial we all get a good night’s sleep. When we don’t, our bodies are extremely vulnerable to illness. The average person needs 6-8 hours of sleep per night. If you find yourself struggling to get enough sleep, try some of these great tips.

Image courtesy of yingyo at

Image courtesy of yingyo at

  • Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.
  • Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. As with your bedtime, try to maintain your regular wake-time even on weekends.
  • Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days.

Read more here

Nothing beats Grandma’s home remedies

If you’re anything like me and you hate taking pharmacy -bought drugs to fight off colds and flus, then you’ll love this next part.

I love reading and hearing about home remedies and natural remedies. They tend to be a lot better for you and can usually be made with ingredients you already have in your pantry and cupboard.  And if you can’t get Grandma’s recipe, there’s always heaps floating around on the Internet.  We thought we would get you started with this natural cold fighting remedy:

Hot Toddy

The hot toddy is an age-old nighttime cold remedy. Since you won’t want to drink black tea before bed, make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add a teaspoon of honey, a small shot of whiskey or bourbon, and a squeeze of lemon. This mixture may ease congestion, soothe the throat and help you sleep. Limit yourself to one hot toddy. Too much alcohol can disrupt sleep. Read more here

Image curtsey of

Image curtsey of

I hope I can help you and your family beat the dreaded cold and flu viruses this season. Feel free to add your own tips and tricks to beating the winter blues in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

All the way from the land of the flightless bird, Krissy brings a part of New Zealand culture to the Appliances Online content team. And although she is adamant she does not say 'fush and chups', she can't deny her continuous use of the term 'sweet as' and her ongoing argument with her team on the correct name for jandals (thongs). One thing is for certain, however, her passion for her kiwi slang is matched with her love for sharing news, hacks and buying tips for all things appliances! Krissy's favourite appliance is the Tefal Cook4Me multi cooker, as she believes it's ok to let an appliance do all the work for you.

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