As winter blankets our surroundings, it’s essential to safeguard our health against the seasonal challenges that come our way.
The holiday season is often filled with many wonders that make us feel warm and cozy: putting up lights, having more get-togethers with families, and taking time off from work. But during the winter season, many people may also find it difficult to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Let’s explore nine winter health tips for navigating the season with resilience so that you and your loved ones can thrive during the colder months.
Tip 1: Stay Hydrated During Winter
Winter may not evoke the same feelings of thirst as summer, but staying hydrated is just as crucial. The dry, cold air can deplete your body of moisture, leading to dehydration.
The solution? Sip on water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and your immune system in top shape.
Herbal teas are also a great way to stay hydrated, and these cozy drinks can also help keep you warm. Herbal teas such as green tea are filled with antioxidants, making it great for boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation, and promoting cardiovascular health.
Tip 2: Fight the Cold By Boosting Your Immune System
A robust immune system is your best defense against winter illnesses. Ensure your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to provide essential vitamins and minerals for your body.
You should also ensure that you’re getting a steady supply of vitamin D in your diet. Contrary to popular belief, most fruits and vegetables don’t come close to the recommended intake of this important vitamin.
Here’s where you can find Vitamin D:
- Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines
- Orange juice fortified with vitamin D
- Diary and plant based milks fortified with vitamin D
- Vitamin D supplements
Tip 3: Dress in Layers for Winter Comfort
Dressing in layers isn’t just a fashion choice—it can be the difference between staying warm and avoiding overheating.
The balance of how you dress during the winter isn’t always easy, especially in the Greater Houston Area where the weather can fluctuate from being cold to warm in less than 24 hours.
If you want a dynamic level of comfort, here are three winter health tips for dressing in layers:
- Start with a moisture-wicking base layer (such as synthetic socks, shirts, and underwear) to keep sweat away from your skin, as moisture-wicking clothing does not absorb liquids.
- Add an insulating layer for warmth, like a cardigan or lightweight jacket.
- Finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to shield against the elements.
Tip 4: Prioritize Your Mental Health During Winter
If you are somebody who struggles with winter on an emotional level, you’re not alone. Winter blues are not uncommon, and the lack of sunlight can contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
You can combat these winter feelings of sadness and melancholy by spending time outdoors during daylight hours, engaging in activities you enjoy, and considering light therapy if needed.
It’s important to remember that you should reach out to friends and family for support. Seek professional help such as therapy if you’re struggling with your mental health.
Tip 5: Exercise Regularly, Even When It’s Cold Outside
Maintain an active lifestyle even when the temperatures drop. Exercise not only helps you stay in shape but also boosts your mood and strengthens your immune system.
It’s beneficial to do at least 10 minutes of exercise that elevates your heart rate each day.
If you’re exercising indoors, your routine can include any variety of push ups, leg lifts, planks, squats, and core work (like butterfly kicks, bicycle crunches, and reverse crunches). Even running in place can go a long way in helping your body burn off some natural steam!
You can even check out video games like Ring Fit Adventure, which introduce fitness into a fun, modern video game setting.
Tip 6: Practice Good Hygiene During Flu Season
Winter is synonymous with flu season, so practicing good hygiene is paramount. Wash your hands regularly, especially after being in public spaces, and avoid touching your face.
If you do become sick, be mindful of those around you by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
You can even wear a face mask, which not only prevents the spread of viruses and contagions but can also help keep your nose and face nice and warm on blustery days!
Tip 7: Get Enough Sleep During Winter
Adequate sleep is a cornerstone of good health. Make sure to get enough rest each night to support your body’s recovery and immune function.
Try staying off of your phone for at least an hour before bedtime to help yourself wind down.
Taking a warm bath, practicing deep breathing, and reading a cozy book are great ways to slow your mind down and drift off to relaxing sleep.
Tip 8: Stay Safe on Slippery Surfaces
While we typically don’t have to worry about ongoing snow days and icy weather in the Taylor-Longview area, we have experienced more and more freezes in recent years. On icy days, it’s important to be careful while walking on sidewalks and slippery surfaces so that you don’t accidently slip and fall. Wear appropriate footwear with good traction and take your time while walking.
Look for shoes that offer good grip such as hiking boots. You may also want to consider using ice cleats that attach to your shoes to give yourself some added stability when you’re out and about in slushy conditions.
Tip 9: Stay Informed about Wintertime Health Services
Being prepared is key to addressing health concerns promptly in any season. But given winter’s distinct challenges, it’s important that you stay informed on the weather and the resources available to you in case of an emergency.
First, stay tuned into the weather forecasts in your area and pay attention to State of Texas warnings and reminders as well as any alerts made by your city’s alert watch. Feel free to check out additional stations like Space City Weather for reliable, “hype-free” forecasts.
Next, know the location of the nearest emergency clinic, like Hospitality Health ER, and familiarize yourself with the services offered. In case of unexpected winter emergencies, having a plan in place gives you the best chance for a speedy and full recovery.
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