During the winter time, the days get shorter, nights are longer, and it can be frighteningly cold, depending on where you live. If you’re working full-time and going to school, there might be days where you leave the house when it’s still dark, and then get home after dark, missing the sun completely. The shorter days can make us feel glum or sleepy, and we might be battling never-ending sniffles or colds, especially if we’re stressed – and of course finals come right smack in the middle of all of that!
Here are some tips to stay healthy this winter. Let us know your favorite ways you stay healthy!
- Keep up a healthy diet. When it’s cold outside, we naturally reach for comfort foods, and especially during the holidays, it’s easy to overindulge. That, combined with less motivation to go outside and exercise, can make us feel sluggish and unwell. Being mindful of the foods you put in your body, however, can help with stress, attention, and immunity. (Check out our blog post on this here). Drink lots of water (it will also keep you hydrated while being inside with all that dry air), and while it’s perfectly fine to enjoy your mom’s yummy pumpkin pie, you don’t have to overindulge. Have a slice, and the next day, resume your healthy eating. If you’re craving comfort foods like mac n’cheese, use reduced fat cheese. Stock up on low-fat, veggie-filled soups, and look for healthy recipes of your favorite meals.
- Stock up on Omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids. These are naturally found in fish, nuts, and seeds, and have anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help ease depression and joint pain and stiffness – which can all flare up in the winter. These fatty acids can also help lower blood pressure and have protective properties against cancer.
- Spice it up! (Your food, that is). Adding certain spices to your cooking can not only add delicious flavor, but also help boost your immune system. Spices like ginger, turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon can help target cold viruses, tout antibacterial properties, promote cell health, reduce inflammation, and soothe sore throats.
- Wash your hands. This seems like a no-brainer, but frequent hand washing can help reduce spread of germs and protect your immune system.
- Practice meditation, relaxation, or mindfulness. The winter time is a perfect time to look within and start a meditation or mindfulness practice. Check out our blog on mindfulness here.
- Reconnect with others. Especially during the holidays, when many old friends might be around, visiting their families, take some time to get out and be with friends, even if you want to hibernate inside or feel like you have too much work. Socializing can help boost your mood and will be a nice change of pace. This blog post of ours talks about the benefits of connection.
- Don’t let the cold stop you from being active! If you can’t bring yourself to exercise outside, no problem! Some gyms let students join for a month while home on break, or if you can’t do that, there are plenty of online videos or apps that let you develop an indoor exercise routine. Check out our post on yoga videos and apps for some inspiration.
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