Winter Wellbeing: Looking After Yourself During The Colder Months

Let’s be honest: now isn’t the time of year that most of us are thinking about getting healthy. No one wants to go out in the snow or rain to run, and when the mornings and evenings are both so dark it’s hard to convince yourself to go to the gym before or after work. Warming winter food and drinks aren't necessarily the healthiest things in the world either but let's face it, who can resist a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a rainy evening?! However there are ways to keep healthy over the winter that aren't too difficult. Here are a few things to consider.

Check Out Winter Fruits And Vegetables
It’s so much easier to eat healthily during the summer. Fresh salads for dinner and fruit for dessert are just what you need when the weather is warm. During the winter it’s a lot harder. The best thing to do is try and eat foods that are as clean as possible. Pre-packaged food and premade sauces have a lot of sugar and additives in them, so cooking from scratch is always better. Keep an eye out for seasonal ingredients: you could try pomegranates, grapes and mandarin oranges for some added sweetness to your everyday diet. You can make soups that are both delicious and healthy with butternut squash, celeriac, sweet potatoes and leeks.

Keep On Top Of Your Mental Health
The cold dark winter nights can start to have a negative affect on mood. As nice as it is, staying cosy and warm at home it's easy to miss the fun and freedom of the longer and lighter summer days. If you're particularly affected by the winter blues, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that recurs on a seasonal basis. If you think that might be the case, talk to your doctor about the way you feel. Therapy and medication are usually advised, special equipment such as a SAD lamp for your home may help too. If you have had problems with depression in the past, monitor the way you feel carefully during the winter.

Get Active
It’s important to stay active all year round, but even more so in winter. You’re more likely to drive and take public transport than walk to places because of bad weather, so you have to make an extra effort to keep fit. Try to add some fun into your workouts. Instead of going to the gym and using the machines alone, take a Zumba class with a friend, or join a sports team. That way you get some fun and socialising in at the same time as exercise. You could even get in a bit of last minute gardening, before the winter hits, which will keep your outside space looking near while burning calories. If you don't want to brave the cold at all, consider trying out a yoga or aerobics video at home.

Quit Smoking
We all know that smoking is detrimental to health. It can lead to lung diseases such as cancer and emphysema. During the winter it’s very easy to pick up chest infections, bad colds and flu anyway, so it’s a good idea to choose now to protect your health by quitting smoking. If you’re finding it tough, something like nicolites electronic cigarettes could help. Something like this could help you lower your nicotine intake until you're ready to quit cold turkey. You could also try nicotine patches and gum, or you could even go for hypnosis if it’s still too difficult. Most GPs will offer stop smoking advice too. Either way, thinking of the money you’ll be saving will make you feel happier!

Sleep Well
The cold weather makes us all want to hibernate! Winter is a great time to make up your sleep debt, and it should be easier to sleep late in the mornings each weekend now, as dawn doesn’t break as early as it does during the summer. If you’re having problems sleeping, try taking a warm bath before you go to bed and switching off all electronics at least an hour before you get in bed. Remember to unplug your TV if you have one in your bedroom – they often have lights on even when they’re on standby that could keep you awake. Finally, make sure you invest in good quality bedding. Your body tends to be sore during winter because your muscles are more tense from the cold, so you might get back and neck pain. A good pillow will rectify that, you could look into getting one made out of memory foam if you want something extra supportive.

How do you maintain your health in winter?