Winter needn't be a dull, dreary and shiver-inducing time of year; let our handy guide to staying warm and entertained during the colder months show you how to bring the sunshine back to your days:
Don’t feel trapped indoors: if you can get out for some fresh air it's a good idea to do so as the exercise will boost your well-being and help you sleep. If you'd like to get active, be sure to discuss your new exercise plan with your doctor before you start.
If you're heading out, dress for the weather. Lots of thin layers will trap heat most effectively, so go for clothes made out of wool, cotton, cashmere or fleece to stay cosy out there. Choose shoes with a gripped sole to avoid slips.
Check weather forecasts regularly so you can plan activities around milder weather. Make sure you're aware if the Met Office issues any weather warnings.
If it really is raining cats and dogs, make sure you don't feel like a prisoner in your own home by ensuring you have enough to do. Why not write to friends or get online and send them an email? Getting in touch will make you feel good and quash feelings of loneliness which can set in over winter. Why not sign up to Facebook or Twitter and share your thoughts with the world?
Crafts offer a great way to stay busy, and they don't have to be a solitary activity. Why not look out for advertisements about any craft clubs in your local area, or even set up your own with a few friends or neighbours?
Look into any social activities that may take place in the local community centre or a similar location. This will provide the opportunity to make friends and at the very least it'll be a (hopefully) warm room to enjoy for free!
You might want to get a mobile phone in case the phone lines go down in bad weather. Be sure you have numbers for your neighbours, not only in case of emergency but simply to stay in touch when the weather's too bad to venture out.
Rather than feeling negatively about them, see those cold dark evenings as opportunities to get your affairs in order. You might want to sort out your insurance policies with a company such as InsureMe-on-Line, or even look into writing a will.
Stay warm and healthy by eating regular hot meals. They'll keep your energy levels up and help you to fight off infection. Cookery can be a great way to keep yourself entertained over winter, but even if you're not a wiz in the kitchen, it's important to plan healthy meals and eat a varied diet to get all the nutrients you need.
If you need financial help over winter, you can find out about cold weather benefits here.