For many of us, winter is just... blech. It's cold. It’s dark, especially at higher latitudes. And there’s just so little green in the world. That can make maintaining physical, mental, and emotional well-being a challenge. But with a few simple, but powerful habits, staying healthy in winter can be a breeze.
Let’s look at five tips you can add to your routine today!
#1 - Stay Active: Exercise is one of the most important factors to consider in your wellbeing plan. Factor in physical activity wherever you can – at home, at a gym, or outdoors. Anything will do, and it doesn’t have to mean strict cardio or strength training. Playing with your kids, walking the dog, shoveling the driveway (ugh), and similar, everyday things count. What’s most important is that you’re moving your body rather than cocooning on the sofa.
#2 - Stay Hydrated
Water plays a huge role in maintaining optimal health. It has a place in nearly every chemical process and is found in nearly every tissue and cell in the body. Whatever your individual wellness goals are, being proactive with your hydration should be near the top of the list for success. Waiting until you feel thirsty isn’t a good strategy. If you need to, set an alarm to tell you when it’s time to get a drink.
#3 - Sleep Well
Seasonal changes may impact the body’s circadian rhythm – or the sleep-wake cycle – because it works closely with light and dark or day and night. A single night of poor-quality sleep can suppress the immune system and affect energy, mood, and motivation. Try to keep a consistent schedule by going to bed and waking up at similar times each day (including weekends and holidays) and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
#4 - Consume Antioxidants
Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants – each with a unique responsibility to the immune system. Antioxidants are found in many foods, especially in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, whole foods. In many ways, staying healthy in the winter starts with smart, balanced nutrition. Eating a rainbow of foods every day and the addition of immunity-supporting supplements for winter can help ensure that you have an adequate intake of antioxidants each day.
#5. - Consume Vitamin D
Limited sunlight available during winter makes it difficult for your body to produce enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the production of serotonin. So, you can see where this is going. Consuming vitamin D rich foods and supplements can help you keep levels where they should be.
Bundling it All Up
It’s important to consider overall health year-round, but it can be especially challenging during the cold, dark winter months. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to stay healthy this winter. Beyond the five tips above, it’s also important to consider your overall nutrition and consume a diet that focuses on balance, variety, and moderation – even during those holiday feasts.