Tips For Staying Healthy All Winter Long

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Winter is a challenging period for many individuals. The short days and bleak weather can be tough on the body and mind. Add in the global pandemic and isolation this year, and you have a recipe for poor health.

Fortunately, there are small things everyone can do to stay healthy. Here are some of the best tips for staying healthy all winter long.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Now more than ever, the importance of handwashing cannot be understated when it comes to protecting someone’s health. It’s all too easy to pick up germs from a door handle, gas pump, or check-out pin pad during the winter.

Follow the 20-second rule when washing your hands, opting for warm water and soap over sanitizer whenever possible. Try to avoid direct contact with high-traffic areas by using a keychain hook apparatus or your sleeve.

Take Vitamins and Supplements

With the absence of fresh produce, it can be easy to fall into a nutritional rut. The right combination of vitamins and supplements can help boost your immunity and fill gaps in your diet.

Start with a high-quality multivitamin to ensure you’re getting all of your basic essential nutrients. Look for a brand that doesn’t have a waxy coating, as this inhibits nutrient absorption.

Speaking of nutrient absorption, taking probiotics can make your body more efficient at deriving nutrients from food. They also play an integral role in digestive health and can have profound impacts on your immune system.

Vitamin C is another important nutrient for the winter months, as it aids in immunity as well. Getting enough vitamin C can give your body what it needs to fight off the cold and flu.

Finally, consider supplementing with a Vitamin D suspension to make up for the lack of sunlight. Vitamin D helps offset seasonal depression, boost your immunity, and strengthen your bones.

Learn to Embrace the Outdoors

You know the old saying, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” This applies to surviving and thriving in the winter months. If you don’t have the luxury of moving somewhere warmer and nicer, then learn to love the outdoors in the winter. There are plenty of activities to keep you and your family moving, from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing to building forts and having snowball fights.

Invest in warm, moisture-wicking gear and get outdoors for some fun. Create a winter bucket list of activities that keep your mind and body occupied until spring.

Set a Minimum for Exercise

While the recommended weekly exercise amount is a minimum of 150 minutes, there are still benefits to doing less. Exercise has a dose effect, meaning even a little bit counts. Sure, 10 minutes of exercise may not be the same as an hour, but it’s better than nothing.

Set a personal daily minimum and stick to it. This approach is partially about the movement but mostly about creating a sustainable, consistent exercise routine.

Monitor Your Mental Health

The winter months are rough on mental health. Even the happiest people can fall down the slippery slope into Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). While Vitamin D supplements can help offset the effects of SAD, it’s smart to monitor your mental health every day.

Set aside five minutes a day for a check-in with yourself. Consider using an app like Sanvello or Reflectly to track your moods and process your emotions. Make time for self-care, socializing, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.

Create a Sleep Routine

There’s a primal part of your body that’s naturally inclined toward sleep during the winter months. The shorter days trigger your circadian rhythm and tell you it’s time to get some rest. This natural tendency makes winter the perfect time to create a healthy sleep routine.

Start by perfecting your environment, making it dim, calm, and cozy. Consider using blackout curtains to shield yourself from nearby lights and a fan to block out ambient sounds. Turn off your screens an hour before bed, cut back on caffeine, and focus on getting some deep, restorative sleep.

Sleep plays an integral role in your immune system function and hormonal regulation. Getting enough quality sleep is a must for staying healthy during the winter.

Do a Deep Clean

There are many benefits to deep cleaning your home during the winter. First and foremost, it’s best to do this when there’s nowhere else to be, so it feels like less of a chore. Secondly, it’s a great way to get moving without focusing on exercise. Finally, deep cleaning will remove germs, allergens, and toxins that could impact your health.

Break your deep cleaning project into smaller segments, focusing on one task (like scrubbing the baseboards) or one room at a time. Deep cleaning makes it easier to maintain a basic level of cleanliness during the darker winter months. You can also use this time to declutter things that no longer bring you joy.

Eat Fruit and Vegetables

While vitamins can fill nutritional gaps, they’ll never replace the real thing. Try to get some real fruit and vegetables in your diet to give your body what it needs to thrive. Don’t hesitate to use frozen fruit and vegetables. Contrary to popular belief, they’re often healthier than what you get on the shelves in the off-season.

Winter is a great time to make soups, stews, and sauces with hidden vegetables. Pick a few recipes from Pinterest and get cooking.

Take Care of Your Skin

Between the handwashing and dry winter air, your skin may be unhappy and dry. Set aside time each day to moisturize and nourish your skin. Create a skincare routine to help you wake up in the morning and unwind before bed. Try to use perfume-free products to avoid agitating any cracks in your hands.

Get Some Sun

Finally, try to get some sunlight. Consider investing in a UV light for your home to get a few minutes of sun each day. It’s this form of natural light that helps offset SAD and keeps your vitamin D levels regulated.

If possible, try and get some real sunlight from the outdoors. Even standing on your doorstep or balcony for a few minutes can make a big difference. Close your eyes, face the sun, and take some deep breaths.

With these simple tips and tricks, you can stay healthy all winter long. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or professional mental health service if you’re struggling.