Winter, schminter. You’ve got this, along with our nine tips to stay healthy, positive, and active through—for some of us—the cold and sunless season.
- Raise Your Intake of Vitamins and Minerals - Healthy eating is key to feeling well during the winter months. Consuming foods high in Vitamin C may enhance your body’s immunity against colds and other seasonal illnesses. Eating foods rich in Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," can give your brain a performance boost and increase overall feelings of well being. Livestrong made a list of 15 Foods to cure the winter blues. Psst—it includes chocolate!
- Sip Tea - Antioxidants can help you stay hydrated and may support your body's immunity. Green tea is rich with them. Need a decaf option? Rooibos is also high antioxidants and caffeine-free. While the FDA recognizes green tea as generally safe, it can interfere with certain medications or exacerbate certain conditions so please talk with your doctor before adding green tea to your health regimen.
- Sleep A Little Longer - Best news you’ve heard today, right? People who live in colder regions tend to sleep longer in the winter. It’s our bodies’ response to shorter daylight hours. This article from Men’s Fitness explains why winter has so much influence over our sleep cycles, and why it’s okay to get a little more shut-eye during this time of year. If you want to improve your sleep hygiene, check out Huffington Post’s 37 science-backed tips for better sleep.
- Make Plant Friends - Mother nature may have shed her leaves, but it doesn’t mean our homes have to go without the numerous health benefits plants provide us. HGTV put together a list of common, easy-to-maintain houseplants and how they may purify the air of harmful toxins, reduce stress, and improve mental well-being.
- Get Sunlight Even When There’s No Sun - If the grayness and lack of sunshine in the winter months get you down, try using a sunlight lamp. Sunlight lamps simulate natural light given off by the sun. The light from these lamps may enhance mood and energy and help ease symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Cozy Up With a Book or Two - Grab some chocolate and your sunlight lamp and start crossing books from your reading list. Studies show daily reading can make you a more empathetic person and keep your brain sharp.
- Give Back, Feel Better - Aside from helping the community, giving back may also benefit your mental health. Not only is it fun and fulfilling, it also increases your sense of connection. Go volunteer at an animal shelter. Or, donate an hour of your time at the local soup kitchen. The ways to give back are endless. Find opportunities on VolunteerMatch or Idealist.
- Break Out Your Winter Workout Clothes - We feel you on this—it's dark, cold, and wet outside. Finding the willpower to run or go for walks in the winter is no easy task, especially when curling up under a warm blanket is much more appealing. But studies show regular exercise can do wonders to naturally lower stress and raise serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter that makes us happy.
- Make Time for Friendships - You can get by with a little help from your friends. Huffington Post explains how friends can increase your sense of belonging, improve your mood, and may even help you live longer—what are friends for?