Hi guys, I’m Amelie, a final year BA Communications student here at the University of Exeter Streatham Campus. I split my time mainly between Exeter and my home-town Bristol, so I am no stranger to west-country weather, and while it is one of the warmer pockets of the country for most of the year, it can be surprising how cold it can get – especially at this time of year. After all, how could we forget the blizzard of snow that saw us all falling down Forum Hill in January 2023, or Storm Eunice in February 2022 that literally blew us from one lecture to another. Nobody knows what this year’s instalment of climate change induced chaos will bring us this winter season, but one thing is for sure – temperatures are quickly dropping. This can be daunting for students in particular – sometimes it seems like your only options are increasing your payments to your energy providers, or going cold, neither of which are particularly appealing. While keeping the costs low is important for many, it is also extremely important to keep yourself warm, both for your physical health and your mental health. So, I have come up with a few tips to help keep yourself warm on a budget both on campus and at home.  

Hot water bottles and blankets

Sometimes when your bills are rocketing, only the good old-fashioned hot water bottle and blanket will do. I use my blanket when I am working, when I am in bed, or when I am watching something on the sofa with my housemates, and it keeps me warm every time. Bonus points if you have fluffy socks or slippers (or both) to keep your feet warm, as you lose most of your heat from your feet and your head. A hot water bottle is also a good investment as it does the same thing but gives you more intense heat which can last a long time. I tend to use these at the times of day when we don’t have the heating on, and I keep it next to me when I’m working so my hands don’t become cold and stiff. One of my housemates even told me recently that she knows somebody who takes a hot water bottle onto campus and fills it up with the hot water taps there as and when she needs it. Although campus is well-heated, you never know when you will find yourself sitting by an open window in a shared study space! 

Hot food! 

Hot food is the saving grace of wintertime. There is no better time to cozy up with a big bowl of hot carbohydrates, or spicy broths and soups. I often try to have a hot meal in the evenings, as this is not just healthy and good for me at the end of a long day, but it also really warms me up from the inside out. However, keeping warm might require you to do this throughout the day. Porridge is a great hot breakfast for giving you long lasting energy, and something like soup, beans on toast, or warmed up leftovers is cheap and warming for the middle of the day.  Even a snack of toast and butter can really help. Whatever you have, make sure it is filling and nutritious, as the cold can often zap your energy. If you’re struggling to make your own hot meals, there is a £2 meal available every day in the Students’ Guild, which is always filling and hot. There is always a vegan option, so it caters for most. If you’re on St Luke’s Campus, the multifaith chaplaincy provides soup and bread for free on Thursdays. So, wherever you are, there is a hot meal available for next to nothing.  

 £2 meals in (a very quiet!) DH2

Work in cafes or on campus

It’s really easy to get cabin fever when it’s cold. Even if your uni house isn’t the warmest place on earth, facing what’s beyond the front door can feel even worse. However, working either on campus or in a café is bound to get you out of a winter slump and keep you warm in the process. The University certainly doesn’t scrimp on heating, and most places are so toasty that some people even open the windows! I find the “hot-spots” on campus are Forum Library, Queen’s Café and the Peter Chalk Café. Plus, in these places, there is no obligation to buy anything if you want to sit in there. Off campus, any coffee shop will do, but you can’t go wrong with the Waterstones Café, The Undergrad, or Grow Coffee House. Either way, you save on heating your house and can get a nice hot drink or panini if you fancy. 

 Camper Coffee Co in the Queen’s building 

Consume plenty of warm liquids

Not only is consuming lots of warm liquids brilliant for banishing the winter sniffles, but it also really warms you up. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy Pret hot drink, sometimes hot water with a slice of lemon can be really refreshing, but anything from tea, coffee, hot chocolate or even soup (I know I keep mentioning it, but it really is a winter cure for me) will make your body feel warmer. If you’re heading on campus, fill a thermos flask up with something from home and take it in with you (yes, soup included!) it will keep warm for lunch and if you find yourself running low on your drink, the Forum Market Place has a coffee machine which help you get your fix at a reasonable price, and serves tea and hot chocolate as well if that’s more your style. Even holding a hot thermos will keep your hands warm, so it’s worth investing in one if you haven’t already. And, as a plus, you will have a delicious hot drink with you wherever you go. 

Berocca (or any other vitamin/energy release drink)

I know this isn’t nice as a hot drink (or not for me, personally), but you would be surprised at how much the cold can really drain you of your energy. Of course, this is completely normal – for most things in nature winter is hibernation time, but as much as we would all like to hibernate at this time of year, uni calls. You often don’t release how much energy you have lost trying to keep yourself warm until you are tucked up under 15 blankets, cozy in bed. Berocca (or the like) is one of my top fixes for this, as it gives you fuel to combat the energy you have lost trying to keep warm. In my opinion, this can’t be substituted for an energy drink, as you actually get vitamins as well from the drink, which help ward off any winter colds. Admittedly, it’s not always the yummiest beverage, but you can use your hangover cure to help cure your “winter-over”, and trust me, if you just give it a go you might see a difference in your energy levels, helping to give your body that extra nudge to keep you warmer in the long run.  

So, there you have it, just a couple of top tips on how to keep warm this winter. This time of year is often tough, especially straight after the holidays, so take care and look after yourselves.

Remember: the University has plenty of resources to help with the temperature change (and all that comes with it), so pop in at any time if you need it.