Cold feet are uncomfortable feet. Worse, they can even be painful. Keeping your feet warm even at home can be difficult for some of us, even when we have the central heating on full blast. This winter, when we are all trying extra hard to keep our heating bills down, it is perhaps more of a problem than ever. So, what are the best ways to keep your toes toasty?
- Keep moving
Keeping moving is absolutely the best way to keep your circulation, um…, circulating and your feet warm. Getting outside for a stroll, even if it is just around the block, will get the blood flowing to your feet, warm them thoroughly and keep them warm for a good while after you get home. At home, sitting still too long is a recipe for cold feet so if you are working at a computer or just sitting and relaxing, try to get up and walk around the house for a few minutes every hour or so. Go up and down stairs if possible.
Of course, keeping active throughout the day has other benefits too. If you are working, taking yourself away from the task at hand for a short while might even help you complete it. Moving around will get the blood flowing to your brain too. That will help your concentration and creativity, and the rhythm of walking can stimulate your thinking. Even if you don’t consciously think about the task while you are away from it, your mind will be working away on it in the background. (Apparently, some of history’s biggest thinkers were great walkers: Aristotle, Darwin and Nietzsche for example.)
It is worth making a conscious effort to include as much movement as you can into life at home. You might try walking around the room when talking on the phone, for example.
- Eat plenty of iron-rich foods
Making sure that your iron levels are topped up will help you fight off anaemia, boost your red blood cells and circulation and help keep you warm all over. Good sources of iron include spinach (just ask Popeye), lentils, eggs, liver (which, despite what you may remember from childhood, really is delicious if you cook it properly) and dark chocolate (hurrah!).
- Warm slippers and socks
Aside from keeping the circulation moving, you also need to keep your feet well covered. Good quality socks and warm slippers are key here. Socks should not be too thick. They need to be thin enough to allow for a little space between your socks and your slippers in order to trap some warmed air around your feet. For the same reason, doubling up (wearing a second pair of thinner socks) will keep your feet warmer than a single pair of thick socks.
Your slippers should have a good outer sole and a soft inner sole to protect your feet and raise them above any cold surfaces. Slippers should have a warm lining that is snug but does not stifle the feet.
- Foot bath
Soaking your feet in a bath of hot water is wonderfully luxurious. The Chinese believe soaking the feet has health-giving properties. In China, a foot massage always starts with plunging your feet into a tub of piping hot water infused with herbs and a head and shoulder rub – before they even get to your feet.
Of course, lugging a tub of hot water around the house is not terribly easy or practical. If you are looking for a regular foot bath, you will probably need to invest in a foot spa.
If you suffer from cold feet and have not discovered the wheatbag then you are missing out! A wheatbag is pretty much what it says on the box: a cloth bag of buckwheat. Heated for two minutes in a microwave, a wheatbag will stay warm for a good couple of hours. Most wheatbags are tubular and marketed as neck/shoulder warmers but work perfectly well as feet warmers. Other shapes are available – even wheatbag bootees. You do need to be careful not to overheat a wheatbag to make sure that it is not a fire hazard and does not cause burns but, used properly, wheatbags are a godsend to cold feet.
Persistently cold feet? Check with your doctor
If you are having persistent trouble with cold feet, it is worth checking with your doctor to make sure that it is not caused by any underlying problem. Certain conditions, such as poor circulation, diabetes, anaemia, hyperthyroidism and Raynaud’s can cause cold feet.
Keep feet warm at night
Whether you are a socks-on or a socks-off person when you go to bed, make sure that your feet are warm. According to sleepfoundation.org, if your feet are warm, that will help you nod off and some research shows that it even aids the quality and duration of sleep. (Further note for us ladies of a certain age(!), sleepfoundation.org also reports that wearing socks in bed reduces your core body temperature and can help decrease hot flushes.)
We do not recommend wearing our luxurious Shaffay slippers to bed of course (even though they are so comfortable that you won’t want to take them off) but their soft furry lining, memory foam footbed and supple nappa leather upper will keep your feet warm, snug and supported throughout these winter days.
To your best health!