Five Tips for Winter Wellness
Sometimes we take “getting comfy” as our wellness mode for the winter, and kind of shut off all the other switches. It’s tempting to do that and not eat so well or take care of ourselves in other ways, but during the winter, because it’s so easy to ignore our body’s signals, it’s all the more important to heed them. Here are five ideas to help you take care of yourself this winter.
Minimize carbs like pasta and white bread during the winter, and opt instead for winter squashes, citrus, dark leafy greens and pomegranate. You can get these fresh because they do well in the winter. You’ll get plenty of necessary antioxidants, fiber and nutrients in these foods, and they may help reduce your risk of cancer.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
That cold winter air is also dry, and that combination is terrible for our skin. This can combine with hot, dry air from indoor heating and scratchy warm clothing to make it even worse. Using moisturizer – an oil-based, heavy one – is a great way to make sure your skin stays supple and properly hydrated. Be sure to stay hydrated overall, as well, drinking plenty of water at regular intervals (not just when you think you’re thirsty). Omega-3s are also very helpful, and can be found in walnuts, salmon or simple supplements.
Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a huge part in how our immune system functions. If you’re not getting enough sun, you’re getting less vitamin D than you should be, which means you could be subjecting yourself to more illnesses, winter and otherwise. You can certainly fix this by, firstly, getting more sun (yes, even in the winter) and also take a vitamin D supplement. Wellness isn’t all about not getting sick, but it’s easier to concentrate on yourself if you’re not always recovering from an illness.
Stay Heart Healthy
If you’re exerting yourself more than usual and dealing with extreme cold temperatures, you’re stressing your heart more than usual. Heart attack rates tend to increase the colder it gets, and if you’re suddenly exerting yourself during that cold weather after a period of being sedentary, the risk is even higher. If you have to shovel, for example, do it in pieces – small areas at a time. If you do shovel, or do any other physical activity, and feel chest pain, contact a medical professional.
Stay on a Sleep Schedule
Our sleep gets messed up when the days are shorter, there’s no way around it. If you find yourself using screens, which emit artificial light, this can throw you off even more, inhibiting your body’s release of melatonin, which helps you sleep. You should avoid using screens at night and, if you have trouble sleeping in general, you can try a melatonin supplement. Your doctor may have other suggestions as well, but the most important thing is to stick to your normal sleeping routine, for the sake of your brain and body.