Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

This time of year is exciting. There are gifts to buy, mince pies to bake, and homes to decorate. We’re surrounded by Christmas lights and decorations, and the first hints of snow are in the air. There’s a buzz about Christmas time, and even though this one might be a little different, there’s still some magic to enjoy.

Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter, Winter Tips, Winter, Health
Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter
[ image: pexels by tim gouw ]

But winter isn’t all about the joys of the season. In wintertime, and especially once the Christmas trees and lights have been packed away and normal life has resumed, many of us find it much harder to stay fit, healthy, and even happy than we do in the warmer months. It’s easy to lose motivation with diet and exercise when it’s cold and wet and we’re craving comfort. Many people find that their mood suffers on long grey days, and coughs and colds are far more common when it’s cold. This year, we’ve even got a global pandemic to avoid.

While it can seem harder to stay healthy in the wintertime, it’s certainly not impossible. Here are some of the best tips to help you enjoy your winter without feeling tired, unwell, or unhappy.

Stick to Social Distancing Guidance

It’s been a tough year, and if we’re honest, most of us are getting bored with social distancing, face-covering, and other restrictions. But, they keep us safe, and as a bonus, we’re less likely to catch colds and other bugs while we’re avoiding COVID-19. Check restrictions in your local area, and stick to them.

Get into Good Hygiene Habits

Good hygiene is very much a habit. We wash our hands when we go to the toilet. It’s just part of the experience that we don’t have to think about or remind ourselves to do. Make other good practices, like hand washing before eating and after wiping your nose routine, and they become much easier to maintain.

These good hygiene habits should extend to your cleaning practices at home too. Use an antibacterial spray to wipe down sides daily, and consider a cleaning rota or schedule to keep on top of household chores.

Wash Bedding and Towels More

If we’re honest, most of us aren’t washing bed linen and bathroom towels as often as we should be—these linens host bacteria and germs, which multiply in their warm, damp atmospheres. Ensure you are washing yours at least once a week, and more often if someone in the house is unwell.

Get a Thorough Check-Up

Sometimes, the symptoms that we attribute to regular winter bugs are more severe and could be a sign of an underlying problem. It’s always a good idea to get a thorough check-up as we move into winter so that you know what to watch out for and are aware of any specific needs your body might have. This is even more crucial if you have a chronic or long-term condition. If your healthcare practice uses ChartSpan, you may be offered an annual wellness review. These reviews put together a tailor-made plan for preventative care, as well as treatment.

Make Exercise Part of Your Routine

It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise when it’s cold. No one relishes the idea of going out for a run on a rainy day, and even driving to the gym can feel like more of an effort. But, like hygiene, it’s easier if it’s a habit. Make exercise a part of your daily routine, and it’s easier to stick to. Writing it in your diary, planner, or online calendar can help too.

Find Home Workout Routines You Love

Even when it’s routine, there will be days when you can’t get out to exercise, so make sure you’ve got some great home routines that you enjoy to fall back on.

Make Some Small Changes to Your Diet

Generally, eating well is about balance. A few treats and indulgences won’t hurt you as long as you eat a well-balanced diet filled with nutrients from fruit and veg. A few comforting treats might even improve your mood and help you to relax. But, in the winter, adding some extra immune-boosting foods won’t hurt. Foods high in vitamin C like citrus fruits and sweet potatoes are great, but a supplement can improve immunity and well-being if you are worried about nutrition.

Get More Rest

Life seems harder in the winter, so it should come as no surprise that we are more tired. Exercise and a healthy diet will boost your energy levels, but get some rest if you feel tired. Go to bed earlier, sleep in when you can, and spent time merely relaxing.

Practice Self-Care Every Day

Another thing that should become a daily habit is self-care. Sometimes, this will be something big like a lunch with friends or a trip to the spa, but don’t underestimate the mental health benefits of much smaller acts of self-care. When you are busy and tired, giving yourself a little bit of your valuable time to enjoy a hot drink and read a book can be a massive boost.

Prioritize Your Mental Health

Self-care, rest, and exercise will help your mental health. But, you still need to give it the same care and attention as you do to your physical health. If you are struggling, try spending more time outside and investing in a vitamin D suppliant or a lightbox. Spending time with friends and even talking on the phone or social media will also help you feel more like your usual self.

Remember, coughs, colds, and other winter bugs are normal. Most of us get between four and five colds every year, and most of these come in the autumn and winter. As much as you try to avoid them, chances are, you’ll have at least a minor cold at some point. But, with the right precautions, you can limit your symptoms, recover much faster, and avoid further problems. If you are doing everything you can to protect your physical and mental illness but still feel frequently unwell, or depressed, see your primary care provider for further advice.

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