Most climate models are predicting that the weather pattern known as “El Nino” will cause the majority of the United States to experience above-average temperatures this winter. Temperatures forecasted for the northern portion of the country are being described as “much above average.” While it may be warmer than usual where you live this winter, you still need to prepare your apartment and yourself for the colder months that are fast approaching.
How to Protect Your Apartment
To prepare your apartment for the cold, start with these few items:
- Pipes — Even if you live in an area where temperatures are expected to be higher than usual this winter, it doesn’t mean the temperature will be above freezing throughout the season. If the temperature drops too low and remains below the freezing mark for too long, your pipes may freeze and burst. You can prevent a flood in your apartment by putting foam insulation that’s readily available at a hardware store around your pipes — especially those that run along exterior walls — to protect them from freezing temperatures. Setting your faucets to drip slowly when the temperature drops to a dangerous level can also prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Living Space — While insulating your pipes will protect your pipes from freezing and your living room from becoming an ice rink after a flood, it’s not enough to protect your entire living space from the cold. The cold can creep in through gaps between your doors and the floor and cracks around your windows. You can keep the cold out by applying weather stripping to the base of your exterior doors and using caulk to fill in cracks around your windows. You can also apply a treatment to your windows to eliminate drafts.
While you can fix up your apartment to help it keep you warm, it won’t completely shield you from the common cold or flu viruses this winter. Before the winter approaches, prepare to focus on your physical and mental wellbeing:
- Physical Health — Living in an apartment means there are a lot of surfaces and areas you might share with others who are carrying germs. Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it after you touch a doorknob or elevator button. As a courtesy to others, make sure you carry tissues with you so you can cover your nose when you sneeze and your mouth when you cough. After you sneeze or cough, also make sure to use your hand sanitizer to avoid sharing your own germs with innocent victims. No one deserves to get sick simply because he or she happened to share an elevator ride with you, after all.
- Mental Health — According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a well-known and respected authority who researched recurring mood patterns while working at the National Institutes of Mental Health, approximately six percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Rosenthal estimates that another 14 percent experiences a milder form of depression often referred to as the “winter blues” or “winter depression.” If you suffer from SAD or winter depression, make exercise a part of your daily regimen to boost your mood. Using light therapy for just 30-90 minutes per day can also help minimize the effects of SAD.
Expand Your Horizons
Another easy way to not only stay warm, but to also stay active and inspired even in the dead of winter, is to expand your horizons. You can try:
- Traveling — Just because the winter’s going to be warmer where you live doesn’t mean you can’t look for even warmer destinations to spend part of the winter. According to Expedia.com’s 2015 Travel Trends White Paper, long-haul flights departing on Thursdays and returning on Mondays are about 20 percent less expensive than flights departing on Fridays and coming back on Saturdays. The same report shows that short-haul trips are the most affordable on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays regardless of whether you’re leaving your home or returning to it. Stay warm and keep your travel costs low by traveling on the days where airfares are the lowest.
- Shopping — The best time to get a deal on an apartment is during the winter because most Americans who are looking for new homes change residences between May and September. With apartment managers eager to fill vacancies and fewer people looking to move in winter, a building manager might be willing to let you move into a new apartment for less than you would pay if you decided to rent the same space during the summer months. If you’re interested in moving and spicing up your life with a new space, winter is the perfect time to shop for a new apartment!
Whether the temperatures are above or below average where you live, use the winter months wisely! Invest time in protecting yourself and your apartment from the sometimes chilling effects of winter. Consider investing your money in a living space that’s more affordable than your current apartment, too. By paying less rent, you’ll free up some money that you can use to escape winter all together by traveling to a warmer, sunnier destination.