Winter is always a tough time for general health and wellbeing. A lot of people end up getting more colds and viruses than they do at other times of the year, and many individuals suffer mental health issues relating to the drop in sunlight. This winter, we also have the coronavirus pandemic to deal with, which means that it’s even more important that we all do whatever we can to stay happy and healthy as the nights grow longer and the weather takes a colder turn.
With that in mind, here are a few simple things you can do to boost your health this coming winter:
Practice social distancing
It may not be ideal, but practicing social distancing as far as is practically possible will be really important this winter. It will help to slow the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses such as winter colds and flu for the whole population, and it will also lower your own personal risk of getting sick too.
Wear a mask
Face masks are here to stay and that is no bad thing in the wintertime. Again, they will help to slow the spread of a whole host of bugs and viruses that could make you feel very unwell. Wear one whenever you’re likely to come into close contact with other people and help to protect us all.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands regularly is another simple measure you can take to cut down your chances of getting colds, flu, or coronavirus this winter. As well as washing after using the bathroom and before meals, try to wah each time you come into contact with other people, touch objects outside of your home or...well you know the drill.
Take a vitamin D supplement
If you live in a part of the world that doesn’t see much sunlight in the heart of winter, it’s a really good idea to supplement your vitamin D intake with a high-quality vitamin pill. Vitamin D deficiency is a really big issue in winter and it can cause a range of health conditions including Seasonal Affective Disorder which can be terrible for mental health, fatigue, muscle pain, and even an increased risk of brittle or broken bones, which isn’t ideal in winter when conditions can get icy and slips and trips are more likely to occur.
Boost your fruit and vegetable intake
Eating more fruit and vegetables is important for your health at all times of the year, but particularly so in wintertime when having a decent immune system is even more important for fighting off those winter bugs. Ideally, you should aim to eat between 7 and 9 portions of fruit and vegetable each day, maximizing the number of different nutrients you take in. leafy greens and red or purple fruits and veg are particularly rich in immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, but anything is better than nothing, so it’s fine to have your favorites as long as you are eating a variety.
Get out and walk
Walking may not seem like the ideal winter pastime, but it’s a great way to get a little exercise, plenty of fresh air, and hopefully, a little sun which will help with boosting vitamin D levels, maintaining good physical health, and boosting your mental health too, In fact, walking has been shown to be one of the best things you can do for your mental health, especially if you walk in nature. It calms your nervous system, reduces anxieties, and helps you to feel more positive about life in general. A daily walk really is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
Reach out to others
With the coronavirus pandemic still affecting us all and the cold weather that winter brings, it could be tempting to lock yourself indoors and hide away from the world, but that isn’t going to do your mental health much good. We all need social connection to feel happy, healthy, and content, so this winter, make time for other people, even if you are only able to video call them. Make covid-safe plans to see friends and family over the holidays, join in regular Zoom chats and online quizzes, talk to your counselor, or do whatever you need to do to have some meaningful connection with other human beings.
Getting the flu vaccination, if you are able to do so, is probably a good idea this winter, even if you haven’t bothered before. Getting sick right now really isn’t ideal (not that it ever is) due to the coronavirus pandemic and the extra strain that hospitals and healthcare professionals are under. The flu shot is cheap, effective, and will mean that you have one less thing to worry about healthwise.
Eat more omega-3
Eating foods that contain omega-3, such as oily fish, nuts, and seeds, or taking an omega-3 supplement is a good idea if you’re prone to seasonal depression in the wintertime. Not only will it boost your brain health and improve your mood, but it’s also great at tackling inflammation, which could be good if the cold tends to affect your joints, making them stiffer and more painful than usual.
Be careful when you’re out and about
If the place where you live tends to see a lot of extreme weather in the winter, it’s really important that you take whatever safety measures you can when you’re out and about. Whether that means having a winter inspection for your car or ensuring that you wear the best footwear to avoid slipping in the ice, make sure you are as safe as you can be. Accidents are more likely to happen when the poor winter weather and darker nights are a factor5 and right now, the last thing you need is a broken bone and a stay in hospital.
You should make looking after your health a priority this winter due to everything that’s going on in the world, and because you deserve to have the best possible holiday season you can manage in 2020. Stay safe out there.
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