How to look after you and your family this winter

Essex ActivAte

As the evenings start to get darker and the temperature slightly drops, we understand we’re all feeling the pinch in some way or another at this time of year. We’ve put together some tips to help you during these times, as well as some free activities to do this winter with all the family!

Low-Cost Activities

This time of year isn’t all doom and gloom! With the seasons changing, the autumnal palette glowing and nature currently at its finest, there’s still plenty to do before the days turn darker.

  • With conkers, acorns, mushrooms and more finally making their appearance, what better way to get everyone out of the house than a scavenger hunt. The first one to find all items on the list, wins! Download our free scavenger hunt here.
  • Dewy mornings mean damp grass and wet paths, therefore grab your wellies, and go for a welly-walk. How many puddles can you find?
  • Head to your local nature park and see if you can spot any wildlife. Flocks of birds start to fly south to search for food and warmer climates, robins tend to perch on fences or posts, and you might be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel or some deer!
  • ParkPlay offer free, community physical activity and fun every Saturday morning in multiple locations across the county, find your local ParkPlay here.
  • Create your own autumn, sensory tray with different nature items such as conkers, acorns, pinecones, and leaves, it’s perfect for exploring all the senses!
  • Don’t throw away those food scraps or seeds, re-grow them or dry out seeds for spring. Scraps such as potatoes, onions and garlic can be potted on again to create more delicious foods.
  • Take a trip down to your local supermarket and grab some pumpkins to carve! Cut out scary or funny faces but keep the inside of the pumpkin to create a delicious soup or curry. You can also put your pumpkin outside for wildlife to eat and enjoy!
  • Have you had to give up your gym membership? Jump onto our #FindYourActive YouTube channel and discover some of the free activities we have available for all the family. From workouts to dancing and yoga, there’s lots of new things to try!
  • There are endless arts and crafts to get your fingers stuck into, especially with all the free, natural resources we have surrounding us. From nature picture frames to pinecone animals and bug hotels, there’s something for everyone to create.

Did you know that even 10 minutes of physical movement such as going for a walk can increase your mood, alertness, and energy levels? Being mindful of where we spend our income is becoming more apparent across the country, however it’s still important to take care in looking after our physical and mental wellbeing.

One of the most worrying increases of the year so far is gas and electricity costs, and whilst the winter slowly creeps in, the looming fear of putting the heating on has probably crossed all our minds. We’ve put together a few top tips to help you cut back where you can at home.

  • One of the easiest and most simple ways of reducing your energy costs is to turn down your thermostat, even by just a degree or two. Colder weather means cosier clothes, right? So instead of turning that heating up, why not add an extra layer? Grab a thicker jumper, put on some socks, or get comfy in a blanket.
  • Batch cooking your meals is a cheaper and quicker way of saving on food and energy costs, as well as wastage. You can plan your meals ahead and use the microwave to heat your meals up when you fancy. Swap your oven for your slow cooker if you can!
  • Hot water bottles are also a fantastic way of keeping you warm when watching the TV or winding down in bed, due to them holding heat for a long period of time.
  • If your home seems a bit draughty, make your own draught extractors from old towels or cloths. This should keep out that chilly, unwanted breeze and make your home feel slightly warmer.
  • Are your windows only single-glazed? Make sure to shut your curtains early around 3pm, it’ll stop that chilly draught coming through in the early evening.

If you want to find out more information on energy saving tips, click here.

Active Essex have highlighted some of the ways you can still participate in physical activity for a small cost or even free through Find Your Active 4 Free. Essex ActivAte are also running free activity clubs during October half term and the December holidays, who are available for eligible young people and children. We also offer free, online resources to use throughout term time and beyond, whether you choose to get active, mindful or need some extra support, we have something for everyone.