The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health. If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for new ideas to help you feel your best–especially during the rigors of the winter season. Winter can be a trying time both mentally and physically. The days are darker, colder and shorter and our bodies become more susceptible to all kinds of winter nasties like cold and flu. While it sounds tempting just to stay inside and hide from it all, being proactive about your health and well being will help ensure that you make it through the cooler months cold and flu-free, and in tip-top shape to enjoy the summer. Here are some tips for supercharging your winter wellness.
- Wash Your Hands – Sounds simple but it’s the number one way to stop the spread of germs. Experts recommend washing hands every few hours and in particular after using the toilet and before meals. Give them a wash after touching someone else’s phone or keyboard at work.
- Get Vaccinated – The seasonal flu jab provides 12 months of cover against the major strains of flu including the 2009 pandemic swine flu. If you’re considered at risk (for example over 65, pregnant, or have a chronic illness), the government picks up the tab.
- Vitamins & Minerals– Iron, zinc and vitamin C are also key to a healthy immune system. But before popping supplements, boost your dietary intake of these substances. Look for dark, leafy greens and red and yellow vegetables, which are all high in antioxidants.
- Hydration – Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If cold water is unappealing when the mercury dips, try boiled water with a slice of lemon. The moisture will also help make mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses, more resistant to bacteria.
- Rest – Regular sleep is vital to staying healthy. Don’t let yourself get run down. Those who aren’t well rested are more likely to get sick.
- Save Your Skin – Cold air, wind and heating will dry out your skin, so keep your face and body well moisturized.
Everyone wants to get into the holiday spirit. But spending too much time at the buffet and bar at parties, stressing out about finding the perfect gifts, and skimping on sleep and exercise can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to a grab bag of winter illnesses. Above all, be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow the above suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes. Whichever healthy steps you take this year — remember they’re an investment in you and your future. So follow these steps toward better health — or take your own. Bank a little more sleep this year. Set aside stressful differences. Stock a healthier pantry. Salt away … a little less salt. It’s your body — and your future! Wishing you a Wonderful Winter!