Winter time can be a trying time of year. It’s dark, cold and often wet or icy out.
Coming down with a cold or the flu is a commonplace and depression often looms. Energy is also in short supply, so staying motivated to do anything other than sitting by the fire under a warm blanket can be a task in and of itself.
With all of this in mind, I have constructed a list of simple actions which are often overlooked that can help to banish winter tiredness, boost immunity and increase one’s overall mental and physical health and vitality during these arduous months.
- Stay Hydrated – Dehydration isn’t something that people commonly associate with winter time. However, dry winter weather can cause the body to lose fluid and wreak havoc on your skin and kidneys. To combat this, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids. And no, coffee does not count – it only dehydrates you more than you already are. Next time you find yourself reaching for the coffee bag, consider drinking hot milk, water or an herbal tea instead. You should be consuming anywhere from 6 to 10 cups of liquid (preferably hot) each day.
- Stay Active & Get Outside – It can be especially difficult to maintain your workout routine during the winter months. However, getting outdoors in the natural sunlight as much as possible is a must! Put your long underwear and North Face jacket on and go for a walk or hike. Take your family to the ice-skating rink or go skiing or snowboarding. You need to be doing something that will induce eustress (positive stress). This will help keep your energy levels and will help to stave off feelings of distress (negative stress) that are commonly associated with the winter months. Moreover, the vitamin D you absorb from the sunlight will boost your immune system, reduce depression and help raise your energy levels.
- Relax, Don’t Stress & Socialize – Keeping your immune system as strong as possible is vital during the winter. Stress can destroy your immune system. If possible, make it a priority to refrain from overworking or overextending yourself. Spend as much time as you can with friends and family. Relax and socialize with those who are dear to you over a nice warm cup of l-theanine rich green tea. Socializing with loved ones has been shown to help boost the human immune system and increase positive emotional states. Take time out of the day for you. Meditate, if that’s what helps you to de-stress.
- Maintain a Nutrient Rich, Healthy Diet – It can be difficult to maintain healthy eating habits while being surrounded by the comfort foods and free-flowing alcohol that come with the holiday season. This year, try to incorporate phytochemical plants into your holiday recipes. These plants are nutrient-rich plants that are naturally infused with vitamins that assist in balancing immune system health and the health of your gut’s internal environment. Phytochemical plants include dark green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, as well as yellow, orange and red colored fruits and vegetables that can help to load up your system with the Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene that it needs for peak vitality.
- Get Some Sleep – In the modern world, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to achieve everything that we would like to achieve. Many of us try to get around this painful truth by cutting the number of hours that we sleep each night. While this may work for some, getting less sleep over a prolonged period of time does have its consequences for most people. Lack of sleep can exert negative effects on blood pressure, cardiovascular health, mental health, and hormone regulation. Getting through the winter is hard enough without these problems, do yourself a favor and get some sleep. Your mind and body will thank you for it. You will be more productive in work and school too. Each night, try to shoot for seven to nine hours of sleep.