05 Jun Five tips to banish the winter blues
There’s a lot to love about the cooler weather.
Crisp early mornings, warm hearty meals, beanies and scarves and the excuse to cosy up with a good book in front of the heater.
It’s a wonderful time to grab a cup of cocoa and Achoo! – oh, that’s right, a big box of tissues! The cold change is coming; and, with it, peak season for the ‘winter blues’.
Though winter can be a wonderland, its longer nights and unsettled weather can bring about colds, flu, sore joints, dry skin and a susceptibility to gloomy moods that match the gloomy sky outside.
Winter can make everything feel like an effort. As the warm weather leaves, so does our motivation – even getting out of bed becomes harder. But what if you knew that incorporating five simple elements into your lifestyle would dramatically improve your chances of staving off the sniffles and strengthen your state of mind?
Here are the simplest, most effective ways to stay healthy and keep your immune system in shape this winter:
- Stay active
The couch can be increasingly tempting, but the benefit of a regular exercise routine far outweighs the passing pleasure of being tucked-up and toasty in the winter months. Moving your body is scientifically proven to reduce your susceptibility to colds, flus and other wintry bugs. Exercise in any season can help you regulate your weight, improve your organ function, strengthen your joints, clear your mind and lift your spirits. You can also read about our healthy ageing fitness program.
- Eat well
Many of us work to a seasonal cycle when it comes to food: salads in summer, comfort food in the cold. As temperatures plummet, so do our good intentions. Instead of indulging during the winter months and stressing about the extra kilos as spring approaches, take charge of your food choices now. Get organised by making a weekly meal plan of winter recipes that will warm you up, like this recipe for Italian style braised chicken. Keep you on top of your health and nutrition and get support from your GP if you need dietary advice.
- Keep hydrated
60% of the human body is comprised of water – it’s an essential ingredient to life, helping our bodies expel toxins, absorb nutrients and fight infection. Wintry weather – along with an increase in indoor heating – can dehydrate you without your knowing. It’s essential to keep your water intake up, even when the temperatures are low. Some of your required intake of H2O will come from the foods you eat (particularly soups, stews and fruit), as well as tea and other drinks, but dietary advice suggests you aim for eight cups of water per day (if you’re a woman) or 10 cups if you’re a man – spaced throughout the day.
- Sleep well
It’s safe to say we all enjoy a solid night’s sleep, yet most of us struggle to log those quality hours each night. Science has proven that insufficient sleep can suppress immune function, meaning that less shut-eye leads to a greater chance of getting sick. For suggestions on how to ensure you’re getting the sleep you need, check out our related blog, Six tips for a better night’s sleep.
- Cultivate good habits
Above all, a little common sense goes a long way. One of the top ways to beat the winter blues is simply cultivating good habits. This could include maintaining good hand hygiene to stave off germs, keeping warm so you don’t catch a chill and moderating your stress. Fostering good habits and strong strategies to keep yourself healthy and your stress levels low will help protect you in these colder seasons.
Get in touch
For more information on how Uniting can support your health and wellbeing, call 1800 864 846 or email us.