Author: Paige A. Mitchell
Winter is a wonderful season—snow, decadent hot cocoa, candles and a flickering fireplace, cozy layers, and naps. But winter can also take a toll on everyone’s mental wellness. Family dynamics have been tested over the holidays, it’s easy to lounge more often in the winter and lose energy, and some of us have set New Year resolutions that aren’t attainable or sustainable. If this sounds like you, here are some ways to stay healthy and be well this winter.
When it’s dark and cold outside, it’s easy to feel tired and it’s tempting to stay in pajamas all weekend. However, exercising regularly is most important in reducing stress, increasing energy, and ensuring an overall healthy winter season.
If going to the gym sounds super dreadful, ease into exercise by stretching, walking, and pushing yourself a little more everyday. The following steps to winter wellness will support your gradual get-back into a regular workout regimine.
The three C’s of Christmas are over—casseroles, cookies, and cocktails. OK. Maybe not the last one. But the New Year is always a refreshing time to detox from the calories we stopped counting in the past three months.
Some easy swaps that won’t hold your hunger hostage includes a nutritious smoothie (P.S. it doesn’t have to be green) for breakfast, a limit of one coffee per day, some extra veggies for dinner (“meatless Monday” is a new thing these days), and saving your wine consumption for the weekends.
If you’re introverted, you may be a-OK with spending quality time with yourself for the majority of the week. But after a while, we all need to get out of the house and socialize.
If you tend to fly solo, try to spend one night a week in some kind of a social setting. If you don’t feel like going out, you could invite some people over to watch TV or play games. It can be as low key as you want and could even prove to be a relaxing part of your week.
But also spend time alone
If you’re extroverted and can’t get enough of your friends, family and coworkers, start scheduling some alone time at least once a week. Take this time to revel in all of your favorite things—face masks, reality TV, journaling, jamming to some 90s hits … For extroverts, this might seem boring and unfulfilling at first, but it’ll likely become a much-needed ritual to recharge mid-week.
Germs abound in the winter with a nasty soundtrack of sneezing, coughing, and sniffling. Go back to the basics by washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding work and public places when you, yourself, aren’t feeling 100%.
Start taking a multivitamin and supplement it with a generous dose of vitamin C and D. Elderberry is the not-so-new but trendy fix for a weakening immune system. If you feel the flu coming on, be gentle with yourself, soak in a hot bath, and stay hydrated.
Take a good look around your house for culprits of sustained sickness too. Dirty HVAC filters could be affecting the air quality at home while hard water could be causing dry skin and acne, which leads us to our next point.
There are a few winter skincare tips to combat dryness this season. The first, and perhaps most obvious, tip is to moisturize. Note: you’ll want an oil-based lotion rather than a water-based one. Visit a dermatologist and a cosmetologist before buying cleansers, serums, and make-up to make sure you’re getting the best stuff for your skin. You might also be surprised to learn that you should still be using sunscreen on a daily basis, even in winter. Look into buying a humidifier too. If your home has less than 30% humidity, it’s like affecting your skin and your respiratory system.
Society around us is constantly buzzing with cell phones, emails, news alerts, podcasts, music, and more. Taking constant data hits like these can take a serious toll on our health. Don’t forget to carve out time to simply just be. Meditating, even for five minutes, can be beneficial in starting or ending your day mindfully. If meditation isn’t your thing, that’s OK. Give yourself the silent treatment instead. Resist the urge to fill your space with music, television, or talking. This small break should have a big impact on your mental and emotional health.