Staying healthy in winter is important, but it can also feel challenging. Fortunately, the things you do for the rest of the year to stay healthy are largely the same during the winter. A healthy diet, exercise, self-care, and good hygiene are all important to staying healthy in winter. While exercise might look a little different since it is difficult to run in ice and snow, there are still plenty of ways to keep yourself healthy all winter long. Check out the 6 ideas below to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle in winter and begin the journey to a healthier and happier you.
Make an Exercise Schedule
There are some things you do daily without even thinking about it like brushing your teeth or putting in your contact lenses. If you are looking for things that help with staying healthy in winter, exercise should be a top priority. Some people work out every day, some work out five days a week, and the schedule you pick to begin with should be realistic for where you are right now.
For instance, deciding to schedule a daily workout every morning might seem like an insurmountable task and you might give up before you really give yourself a chance to get healthier.
Experts suggest beginners start with about 30 minutes three or four times a week. While some say that it takes 21 days to form a habit, experts suggest that is not always the case. For this reason, you want to begin with an exercise schedule that is convenient for your lifestyle.
Wanting to work out every single day is a great goal, but if you are just beginning the process of including exercise as part of your lifestyle, it might not be the most realistic schedule.
You also want to take into account what time of day you decide to exercise. If you are not a morning person, scheduling a daily gym session at 5 A.M. is not a smart idea. When scheduling your exercise schedule, you may also want to include what type of workout you will be doing.
Do you want to do all cardio? Have you always been curious about weight training? Do you want to gain flexibility through yoga? These are all things to take into account when creating an exercise schedule that will make you want to stick with it.
Create a Space Dedicated to Exercise
Not all people who are interested in staying healthy in winter love going to the gym. For some, it can be incredibly intimidating and for others, it can be too costly. Fortunately, you can create a space dedicated to exercise in your own home. You do not need an excess amount of space, but you do want to choose an area that is comfortable and that allows for movement so you can try different types of exercises.
Why create a designated space? Sleep experts and doctors will tell you that your bedroom should be used for sleep only. Why? If you spend time scrolling social media in bed or eating dinner while you lean back on your comfy pillows, your body becomes accustomed to these things and it can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
If you only use your bed for sleep, your body recognizes the area as a place for restorative rest. With a designated exercise area, you might find yourself more motivated to get going once you enter the space, and over time, your body will anticipate action within your exercise area.
One popular option for many homeowners is to transform their garage into a fitness room because it is a convenient way of staying healthy in winter. If you plan on doing this, make sure you choose highly trained garage door installation professionals.
Why? Even though working out can get you all hot and sweaty, nobody wants to work hard when they are freezing. An energy-efficient garage door and expert installation ensure that you can maintain a comfortable temperature in your garage, even during the winter.
If you do not own a home or you do not have garage space, there are still plenty of options available. Some cost-effective wholesale laminate flooring can easily be installed in a room to give you a good foundation for working out. Ideally, you want to choose an area that inspires you. When it comes down to it, all you really need is space to move freely and an area that you enjoy spending time in.
Eat Healthy Meals and Portion Your Food
When it comes to getting and staying healthy in winter, working out regularly is only part of the plan. To see the full benefits of your new lifestyle, you want to ensure you eat a healthy, balanced diet and that you pay attention to what you are eating.
It is so easy to sit down in front of the television at night with a bag of chips or a big bowl of caramel popcorn and end up eating it all. Portioning out your food and paying attention to the actual act of eating is an important step towards a healthy lifestyle.
In general, adult women need roughly 2,000 calories a day and adult males need 2,500 calories. This is just a baseline, and your needs may differ. You can visit your family physician to discuss your diet and activity level. Then, find out what your daily caloric intake should be.
Once you know how many calories to consume in a day, it will be easier to portion your meals. If you are eating packaged food, make sure you look at the nutritional information to find out what a portion size actually is. When you first begin your journey to healthier eating, it is advised that you actually measure out the food you plan on eating. For instance, if a cup of yogurt is the recommended serving size, get out your measuring cup before spooning yogurt into your bowl.
When it comes to what to eat, that is a decision that you can make with your doctor. Whether you have an undiagnosed food allergy or you have a condition that makes it harder for your body to process certain types of food, a doctor will be able to help you find healthy meals that you will enjoy.
Keep Your Mental Health in Check
Many people feel more lethargic and dreary during the winter, but did you know that the season can actually affect your mental health? Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that more than 500,000 people in the United States deal with. SAD is related to seasons changing, and from about November to March (generally), people with SAD have symptoms that mimic clinical depression.
Even if you don’t have SAD, winter can seem long and bleak. Between handling snow removal and dealing with your accountant early in the new year, there are plenty of reasons to feel a bit more blah during this time of year. By actively taking care of your mental health, you can help to prevent excessive sadness or hopelessness. How do you take care of your mental health?
There are so many ways in which you can keep your mental health in check. One common way of tracking mental health is to journal. Many people find that writing about their lives and experiences is helpful in processing how they are feeling. If you are not a fan of writing lengthy entries in a journal, try to keep a gratitude journal.
This is a quick and easy way to maintain a healthy mind. Simply jot down two to three things that you are grateful for on any given day. It can be anything you are truly thankful for from a sunny day in the middle of winter to your children. Focusing on the positive things in your life is a way to instantly feel a bit happier and healthier.
If you find you need a little extra help, or you worry that you may be experiencing SAD, get in touch with a doctor or counselor. Talking about your problems and reaching out for help may seem like an overwhelming thing to do, but getting control of your feelings is a great way to fight back against symptoms of depression and to keep you from feeling worse.
Self-care is another important way to keep your mental health in check. Winter is a busy season and when the holidays end, it can seem to take forever for warm, sunny days to return. Take care of yourself by engaging daily in things that you find soothing, relaxing, and rewarding. Maybe a bubble bath at the end of a long day is your ideal way of destressing, or maybe you like to color. It can be easy to focus on everything you have to do during the day, so try to make self-care a daily habit and enjoy a little peace while staying healthy in winter.
Engage in New Projects and Activities to Keep Busy Physically and Mentally
Some people wait for summer to try new things and love to explore warm-weather activities like paddleboard rentals. There is no reason why staying healthy in winter is limited to diet and exercise.
Whether you want to take a painting class, make your own furniture, or organize your closet, winter is a great time to do so. Many people live in areas where getting outside in the winter is not exactly ideal, so finding ways to keep busy indoors can help keep you from feeling too cooped up.
For those who experience the winter blues but do not have symptoms of clinical depression or SAD, a simple change in routine can go a long way for staying healthy in winter. You can even head to social media or other internet sites to help you decide what new and exciting things you want to try.
Love the shabby chic look? Why not buy wood pallets and craft your very own coffee table? Have you always wanted to learn how to knit? Do it now! Staying healthy in winter is so much more than changing how much you eat or beginning a new exercise program, and trying new activities can be very helpful in keeping your mental health in check.
If you have a family, try to find projects you can work on together. Puzzles are a great way to pass the time or visiting the local library to find brand new books to read can be a fun family activity. You do not have to spend money to enjoy new experiences, there are plenty of things to do. Some things you can try include:
- Coloring books
- Making candles
- Creating an at-home spa day
- Trying a new recipe
- Finding family board games
You are limited only by your imagination, so take the time to find new and exciting projects to help with staying healthy in winter.
Maintain Proper Hygiene Habits
Sometimes, the idea of getting out of your warm and comfortable bed and heading to the bathroom, where the floor is cold, to brush your teeth can be so unappealing that you decide to roll back over and snooze. Proper hygiene is important at any time of year, and staying healthy in winter involves making sure you keep up your good habits.
Brushing and flossing twice daily is a must for good oral health, and a daily bath or shower is a perfect way to warm up and stay clean. Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently is also a great way to limit your contact with germs and bacteria that can lead to a bad winter cold or the flu.
Because the air is drier in winter, you might also want to add applying moisturizer or lotion to your hygiene routine. Doing so on a daily basis, or even multiple times daily for dry areas like your feet and hands keeps skin soft and supple and helps prevent dry skin issues like cracking.
When it comes to staying healthy in winter, a multifaceted approach is best. It is important to take care of yourself mentally and physically, and hopefully, these ideas inspire you to start some new healthy habits during the winter.