Health Wellness Winter
With shorter days and colder weather, winter can be a trying time of the year. Many people find themselves developing unwanted habits such as staying seated for long periods, eating junk food, or watching television and movies all day long. Although winter isn’t associated with health and wellness, it is important to stay an active participant in your health journey all year long. When it comes to health, there are several aspects to examine to ensure that all boxes are checked. Maintaining a 360 degree perspective on health will help you better understand what you need to do to stay safe during this holiday season.
Here are a few tips you can use.
Vitamins to add to your diet for a healthy winter
Even when you feel like you’re doing everything to stay healthy, it is better to be safe than sorry. One way to keep all of your organs and vitals in working order is to add vitamins to your daily diet. While it may seem tedious, vitamins provide the body with micronutrients it needs to maintain proper functioning of its metabolism. With a proper and healthy diet, a person can obtain optimal quantities of essential vitamins.
And while there are a plethora of vitamins out there, when it comes to those that can keep you healthy during winter, there are two major ones to keep in mind.
Found in foods like tomatoes and leafy green vegetables, vitamin C is important to bone, muscle, and blood vessel health. During colder months, having a strong immune system is important. One of the reasons vitamin C is heavily recommended to children and adults during winter months is due to its positive effects on immune system functionality.
Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells otherwise known as lymphocytes and phagocytes. These cells help protect the body from foreign invaders and infection. Vitamin C is also beneficial to the skin, which is the body’s most impressive source of protection. The vitamin is transported to the skin and builds a larger defense by acting as an antioxidant.
People with low vitamin C levels tend to suffer from frequent health issues from the common cold to pneumonia.
To learn more about vitamin C and how it affects health, this article provides an in-depth breakdown.
Another essential vitamin to keep in your back pocket is vitamin D. Nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is easily able to be absorbed through sunlight. However, in winter, the sun’s availability becomes much less reliant. According to the National Institutes of Health, the main job of vitamin D is to promote calcium absorption. Calcium helps strengthen bones and prevents osteoporosis or bone brittleness.
Several studies also show that vitamin D helps build and sustain the immune system. Vitamin D, has been linked to preventing the spread of illness and bacteria. By creating a stronger immune system, the body is better equipped to fight off illness. During winter months, the probability of contracting an illness increases. When you’re most vulnerable, having a vitamin-rich diet helps to offset any risks.
Stay fit by exercising
When it’s cold outside, the last thing a person wants to do is put on a heavy jacket and go into the windy or snowy weather. Cold weather has the ability to make normally active people feel lethargic and unmotivated. While those feelings are totally valid, taking the time to exercise helps keep your body and mind fit.
Even if you don’t feel like going to a gym, at home workouts are becoming much more popular. With YouTube videos and exercise applications to choose from, all you need is a little space and imagination to work up a sweat. From doing pushups to jumping jacks to a brisk walk, the aim is to get your heart racing for at least 30 minutes a day. Regular exercise also has the added benefit of lowering stress levels and should become a part of your healthcare routine.
Just because the air is cooler does not mean that hydration is less important. In winter, the body loses a lot of fluid because the air carries less moisture. This is why chapped lips and dry hands are common when it's cold. Keeping the body hydrated allows for the proper transfer of nutrients and oxygen to organs.
Although outdoor activity is something many of us want to avoid, getting outdoors to get fresh air is vital in staying healthy. Depending on where you live, there will be certain days when the sun comes out, and the temperatures are a little warmer. During those moments, take advantage and go for a quick walk around the block.
While staying inside can help ward off infections, there are several studies that suggest that the immune system works at an optimal level when challenged on a regular basis. Going outside exposes a person to different irregular elements, helping it fight off diseases.
Keep your hands clean to fight flu and bacteria
Hand hygiene is always important. Whether in an office building or at home, your hands touch several objects. Oftentimes, these surfaces are touched without the person being aware. During those moments, a person may unknowingly put themselves at risk by rubbing their eye or touching their mouth. At that moment, bacteria could spread from your hands to your bloodstream causing an illness.
One way to ensure that hands stay clean is by adopting proper hand hygiene practices. When possible, use soap and water. Making sure to clean between fingers and under nails, antibacterial soap will fight off diseases.
For those moments when soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer containing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended 60 percent alcohol concentration is best. MUSE Health has a hand sanitizer that contains 62% ethyl alcohol and kills 99.9% of germs.
Get a flu shot
For those who want an extra layer of protection during flu season, the ultimate way to ensure your safety is by getting the vaccine. Covered by most insurance and relatively cheap without it, a flu shot offers peace of mind during the end months of the year.
Practice good sleep health this winter
Sleep has a direct correlation with health. During winter months, it isn’t uncommon to suffer from lack of sleep or the need to sleep more than normal. For the average adult, a good night’s sleep is around 7-9 hours every night. When a person doesn't get enough sleep, the body does not have enough time to recover, leaving it vulnerable.
If you have issues falling asleep, go to a doctor. They may be able to help you understand what is going on internally and address a potentially bigger problem.
Visit your primary care physician
Regardless of the state of your health, a visit to your primary physician can also help you stay healthy. Even if it’s just for a consultation, speaking with a professional about your health and other concerns allows them to come up with a plan of action for your individual issues.
Mental health tips for the winter season
Winter weather can also cause mental health issues for some. Without nature’s alarm clock otherwise known as the sun, it becomes harder for people to discern what day it is. Because the weather is cold, it’s easy for people to stay secluded and withdraw from outdoor activity. If you’re finding that your mental health is affected during winter, there are activities you can partake in.
Meditation is considered one of the most effective methods of keeping the mind healthy. When you remove yourself from devices, the internet, and other distractions, you’re able to spend time with your own thoughts. Meditation isn’t something that needs to take hours. Finding half an hour a couple of times a week to meditate can help you feel more centered and ready to face the day.
Do some daily self care
Self care is often ignored in the conversation of mental health. It’s important to take time out of your day to do something you love. This activity could be learning a new language, watching a film from your favorite director, baking, or exercising. When a person incorporates fun into their schedule, it gives them something to look forward to. You can also use that time of self care to plan for the future and better understand the goals you wish to accomplish.
Having a balanced social life is also great for your health. The end of the year can be a rough time for a lot of people. If you have friends that you haven’t seen for a while, call them or even plan a zoom hangout. While meeting in person is the best option, in an attempt to stay safe, social gatherings on a virtual platform are becoming more popular. As humans, we are naturally socially creators.
Finding local clubs and organizations to join can help you feel less lonely.
Staying Healthy takes work
The journey to a healthy body and mind takes effort. During winter months, it may seem impossible to get going as the winter blues are a real thing. Although those feelings are normal, making a conscious effort helps keep you healthy year around. And if you’re in the mood to begin your wellness journey now, here is a list of 10 items to add to your grocery list.