Winter is quickly approaching, and with that comes colder temperatures, the move from outdoor to indoor activities, and the temptation to hibernate until springtime. What if, instead of backsliding on our health and wellness this winter, we THRIVE during these chilly months? Let’s take this opportunity to stay healthy and develop a new habit or two!
Last winter, we were not allowed to do much of anything, thanks to COVID. This winter things are looking a bit more “normal,” but winters still coincide with an increase in other viruses, such as the flu. It’s also a time where we see an increase in depression and a decline in mental health. Let’s look at some ways to keep your health in tip-top shape in the upcoming months.
1. Wash your hands and sanitize your surroundings.
We have heard this a million times. But sometimes it’s good to have a friendly reminder. Remember to wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash with soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
2. Bulk-up your immune system.
An important part of staying healthy is keeping your immune system in check. Ways to do this are getting the appropriate vaccinations as needed, eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, getting adequate sleep, and staying active. If you are having a hard time getting enough fruits and vegetables throughout the day, try adding a smoothie! It’s a simple way to pack in a BUNCH of fruits and veggies.
3. Stay Active.
Staying active will help promote bone and muscle health, improve sleep patterns, and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle. The stronger your body is in general, the stronger it will be to fight off illnesses. You can easily incorporate exercise into your daily routine (if you haven’t done so already) by doing exercises, like chair marches or leg kicks from your chair while you watch your favorite T.V. show.
4. Practice Your Balance!
It’s important to practice your balance – as they say, “use it or lose it!” Working on your balance daily can help with your ability to catch yourself if you slip on the ice, preventing a potentially serious fall from occurring.
5. Make time to relax.
This may sound counterintuitive but making time to unwind is just as important as staying active. Being rundown can compromise your immune system and leave you susceptible to viruses and infections. Activities to wind down can include Yoga, meditation, journaling, or reading a book.
6. Make connections.
This could mean video chatting with your family or having a meal with a loved one. How you spend time and connect with others is up to you, but we are social creatures who NEED those physical connections. In addition, talking to someone else can also help with feelings of loneliness or depression.
This winter, let’s focus on taking care of ourselves, rather than just “getting by.” Put your mental and physical health first and dive into the colder months head on!
–Brittany Austin, National Director of Health and Wellness, Functional Pathways