Whether he creeps in gradually via fluctuating climate patterns, or he gushes forth in a sudden snowy frenzy, Old Man Winter can sure wreak havoc on your health. Staying ‘in the pink’ during those frosty winter months can be extra tough, especially if you spend a significant amount of your time around children or in close quarters with coworkers. That’s why it’s almost more important to stay on top of your daily health habits in winter, since infectious illnesses such as colds and flues can get passed around more readily during harsher weather. Here are some daily health tips from healthcare professionals that will help you fight off all that winter has in store for you this year.
It’s so important that it bears repeating… and repeating. When it comes to staying healthy, washing your hands and washing them often is perhaps the most important thing you can do during winter months (and any other time of the year, for that matter). Viruses and bacteria are on the prowl for vulnerable victims, but they’ll pass you by more often than not if you wash your hands thoroughly periodically throughout the day. If you can’t always wash with soap and water, keep plenty of antibacterial hand sanitizer around and use it often, especially after touching objects or shaking hands.
Stress not only puts a damper on your psyche; it can weaken your immune system as well. While eliminating stress altogether may be an impossibility, there are things you can do to lessen the stress you experience in your life in order to stay healthy through winter. Don’t make too many big changes at once; try to set aside a night every week or so to do fun activities. Oh, and try not to take yourself so seriously that stress overtakes your life.
Somehow you knew you’d see this one on the list. Eating a healthy diet is vital during winter months in order to keep all the systems of your body functioning optimally. Try to get at least four servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Additionally, it’s important to keep sugary foods and other empty calories to a minimum this time of year.
Water is one of the miracles of life. Of healing properties, it has many, and if you’re not drinking enough of it through these colder months of the year, your body can shut down and your good health will go with it. In fact, if you normally drink the recommended 8 glasses of water daily, try adding 1 or 2 in the winter months for added protection against disease. Water will help to flush out bacteria and viruses that are working overtime for a piece of you this time of year.
Though still hotly debated in the healthcare community, millions of healthcare professionals and medical researchers recommend increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and zinc during winter in order to protect against disease.
The good news about winter is that all those short days that make you feel like resting more might just be there for a reason. Many folks complain in winter that it’s dark when they’re headed to work and dark when they’re headed home again, making them feel like resting more this time of year. But the fact is that getting a little extra rest during cold and flu season can actually give your body extra time to repair each night, making it more able to fight off illness.
Jack Frost… he can see you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. Okay, so maybe that’s not Jack Frost, but the fact is that the effects of winter can grab you any time of the day or night. One day you’re feeling great, and the next you’re down for the count with a flu that’ll take a week or more to run its course. And you just don’t have that kind of time to give to any illness. Your job, your family, your friends… they all need a piece of you just about every day. But that’s just the half of it. What about you? You can only give of yourself to all those people who need you if you’re feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. So this winter, be sure to put some of these daily health tips to good use. Do it for yourself, and you’ll soon see the positive effects serendipitously spilling over into every area of your life.