Wellness Wednesday: Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter
It's possible to get sick during any season of the year, but winter is notorious for bringing about the absolute worst cold and flu cases. On top of that, more people find themselves fatigued, stressed, and downright depressed in these colder, darker months. Here are a few ways to ensure your body and your mind stay in tip-top shape this season.
Boost Your Diet
Eating foods rich in Vitamin C, like oranges, carrots, broccoli, berries, and dark, leafy greens, will help to strengthen your immune system so it can fight against cold and flu viruses better. In addition, up your iron intake by eating foods like poultry, beans and legumes, and fortified cereals, breads, and pastas, to help maintain good muscle and brain function and efficiently transport oxygen to your body's cells (a lack of Iron causes you to feel weak, fatigued, and foggy.) If you're not already, consider taking a multivitamin to ensure you're getting a proper dose of vitamins everyday. | Related: Best Foods for Every Vitamin & Mineral
Regular exercise is important all year round, but sticking with your workout plan through the winter is key to keeping up your energy levels, enhancing your mental clarity, and helping get you in a good mood (hello, endorphins!) Plus, we tend to eat more carb-heavy and fattening foods to stay warm and full in the colder months, which can easily result in weight gain. A consistent exercise routine will help to keep your metabolism going. | Related: How to Keep Working Out in the Winter
Make sure you wash your hands regularly. As always, give them a good scrub after using the restroom. In addition, wash up after blowing your nose, shopping, handling cash, hanging out with young kiddos, and before you eat. You might want to invest in some hand cream since skin is already more prone to drying out in the winter and the extra washing can make it worse. Don't forget to wipe down your mobile phone, countertops, door handles, and steering wheel with a disinfectant on a regular basis, too! | Related: Clean Hands Save Lives
Catch Plenty of Zzzs
Just don't go overboard. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to optimize their health. But it's easy in the winter, with cold weather and darkness creeping in earlier and earlier, to want to crawl into bed and stay there as long as possible.Getting too much sleep has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and depression. Get on a regular sleep schedule and stick to it - even on days you don't have to be up for work or class. Getting the just the right amount of sleep results in more clarity and focus, a better memory, lessened risk of injury, a decrease in pain, weight control, a positive mood, and a stronger immune system. | Related: 20 Ways to Sleep Better Every Night
Again, with crummy weather and fewer hours of sunlight this season, it's common to want to just cuddle up at home in front of the TV and zone out in your free time. Make a point though, to stay connected with your social networks - friends, family, and coworkers. We're not saying you have to spend every spare moment socializing, but dedicating even just one night a week to a social setting outside of your home and workplace will help keep your spirits high and ward off depression. Plan to make regular phone calls, write e-mails or snail mail, and stay connected via social media, too.
A big, cold bottle of water doesn't sound nearly as appetizing in the winter months as it does in the summer, but it's crucial that you focus on remaining hydrated all year-round. In the winter, the dry air and the cold can really do a number on our skin and eyes. And even though we're not sweating like we are during those heatwaves of August, our bodies continue to lose water quickly. Not feeling motivated to gulp down your 8 glasses of water a day this season? Consider that you can also get your fluids through foods - like soups, fruits, and smoothies. Try drinking a glass of H20 before each meal and cut down on coffee (which is a diuretic.)
It's also important to keep your skin hydrated this season. Invest in hand cream, lip balm, body lotion, and a deep conditioner. And break out the humidifier, too! | Related: How Hydration Protects Your Health This Winter
Cut the Stress
There's a lot of additional stress that comes along with winter. The stress of the holidays, quarterly reviews, taxes, hazardous weather... Take the proper measures to cut down on these stressors by coming up with a game-plan for each potential issue that may arise because of them and visualize how you'll handle each situation should it happen. Also, find a stress-management method that works best for you. Consider meditation, journaling, yoga, talk therapy, or a weekly pizza and movie night with the kiddos. | Related: How to Relieve Winter Stress