The holidays are a time for cheer and celebration, but this is only true if you are in good mental and physical shape. The freezing temperatures and the often gloomy winter atmosphere make it easier to catch a cold and just retreat to our rooms for warmth.
However, studies suggest that cold air and lack of ventilation in homes make it easier for colds to spread amongst people living under the same roof. When it is too cold to go outside but unhealthy to lock ourselves indoors, how does one stay alert and active during the wintertime?
While it is easy to have health take a backseat during this season, there are also simple steps you can take to make sure you and your family get to enjoy the holiday festivities without any worries.
Five Ways to Stay in Good Shape in the Winter
Prioritizing your health during the winter is not just a matter of physical fitness. Your health has a lot to do with your happiness, too, so it is important to take good care of it during the holiday season.
1. Keep your surroundings clean.
A cluttered environment can be a great source of stress. It hampers your ability to focus and dampens your mood throughout the day. It can also activate your fight or flight response, which can dull your survival instincts.
A messy space is also generally dirtier since it keeps you from noticing and disposing of trash and putting used clothes in the laundry. Cluttered homes present both emotional and physical setbacks for people in the household.
Clutter signals the general health of people in the home and continues to affect it if nothing is done about it. Employ the help of everyone at home to maintain common areas and your own rooms clean daily.
Pay attention to outside factors, too. Purchase mosquito lures to protect your home from mosquitoes when the hotter months set in. While many mosquitoes die in cold weather, they may lay eggs that hatch during warmer months.
2. Exercise during the day.
Winter makes you want to avoid going outdoors, but getting your daily dose of vitamin D is essential, especially during the holidays when the days are shorter. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which keeps your bones strong. It also supports the immune system in its usual functions.
When you exercise outdoors in daylight, your workouts gain extra benefits from exposure to natural light. Natural light helps keep seasonal depression at bay, which usually kicks in during these colder months. It has a positive effect on mood, too, as more sunlight exposure boosts the production of serotonin, the hormone that keeps the mood stable.
3. Take extra care of your skin.
Cold, dry weather leads to skin issues caused by a lack of moisture. Do not let it get to the point where your skin suffers from itchiness and dryness before you act against the effects of winter.
During winter, put more emphasis on moisturization for your skincare routine. This can mean switching to a gentle hydrating cleanser and oil-based moisturizer or makeup to amp up hydration. And always put on sunscreen, as this remains an integral step despite the shorter days.
Be mindful of your daily practices, too. Drink lots of water and use a humidifier to help your skin retain moisture while indoors.
4. Practice good hygiene.
Do not let the temptation to hibernate keep you from maintaining your hygiene routine. Colds and the flu are common during winter, not to mention that the threat of the COVID-19 virus still exists. To ward off germs and viruses, always wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth and eyes.
Adjust your showering habits during winter to prevent skin dryness. Instead of hot water, use warm water when you shower and try to finish within 10 minutes. You can also close windows and doors when you bathe to help the buildup of steam.
5. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Sleep is one of the more challenging parts of winter, as the weather makes staying in bed much easier. But you need to keep a consistent sleep schedule of six to eight hours to stay healthy. Poor sleep leads to a weaker immune system, which makes you more vulnerable to illness during the winter.
Wintertime health practices are not too different from healthy practices during other seasons. It just takes a bit of tweaking to help you stay in pursuit of a healthy mind and body and enjoy the beauty of the holidays.