9 Ways To Stay Healthy In Winter And Avoid Seasonal Depression

Holidays. Snow. Freezing temperatures. Less sunlight. High levels of stress. Colds and flu season. With all the odds stacked up against you, it feels impossible to stay healthy in winter.

Once December hits, most of us just want to cuddle up on the couch with some cookies and hot chocolate and sleep until Spring. But unfortunately, that will only help to leave you overweight, malnourished, and depressed. And that will leave you susceptible to colds and flu.

In other words, you won’t be your vibrant and healthy self anymore.

And that only means one thing.

It means that in Spring you will scrambling to find your healthy glow again. But it is already too late. The key is to beat those Winter blues and do your best to maintain and even improve your health every day. This way you can be sure that you are in better health this year than you were the year before.

These 9 tips on staying healthy are great!

9 Ways To Be Healthy This Winter

1. Stay Active

cross country skiingIt is going to be freezing outside. And it may even be snowing. But that is no excuse to not exercise. There are so many options to help you keep active during the Winter.

First, you can take advantage of your gym membership. Aside from it being heated, there will be a bunch of people in there working on their New Years Resolutions. You may even find a buddy to hold yourself accountable. If you have never been to a gym before and are intimidated or don’t know where to begin, read naturemadecures.com/beginner-weightlifting-workout-tips for some tips to help you be more comfortable on your first day.

Secondly, take advantage of the mall and do some extra walking. Most of us will be out and about shopping for the holidays. Why not take advantage of the large indoor spaces for some fitness?

Finally, if you are not ready to exercise in public just yet then you can easily get a workout done in your home. Activities like push-ups, jumping jacks, and even yoga can all be done from the privacy and comfort of your home.

2. Drink More Tea

Drinks like hot chocolate, peppermint schnapps, eggnog, beer, and soda are all nostalgic beverages that we consume around the holidays and in frigid weather.

Sure, they bring back fond memories and taste delicious. But they aren’t helping your waistline or your immune system! Alcohol depletes your immune system which will leave you vulnerable to the flu. Drinks like soda are filled with sugar and a ton of empty calories. Drinking one soda a day will add up to an extra 14 pounds per year! If you don’t believe me, then check it out here.

So ditch the sugary and alcohol filled drinks. Teas like ginger help you warm up while getting some fantastic health benefits of the plant. Another great option with tons of uses is peppermint tea, and it fits the holiday spirit too!

3. Take Vitamin D Supplements And Get Outside

girl on balcony in sunAn important key to avoiding seasonal depression and staying healthy in cold months is to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D. We usually get our Vitamin D from the sun. But being that there are fewer hours of sunshine in the Winter months and we remain indoors more, we become deficient in this key vitamin.

So to ensure that you are consuming enough of it, get outside as much as you can. Also, take a supplement to help you get your recommended levels. This will help you maintain a better mood and stronger immune system through those  snowy and dreary days.

4. Keep Hydrated

Studies show dehydration is a big problem in the winter for a few reasons.

First off, the humidity is lower in colder air. Secondly, we associate being thirsty with being hot and sweaty. And third, due to the temperature, we are less likely to have a water bottle or drink close by.

Drinking water is vital to our health. It allows our cells to function properly by transporting nutrients throughout the body. Also, it helps us to eliminate waste. And finally, drinking water helps make you feel full which makes you less likely to overeat.

So be mindful of your water intake and be sure to hydrate!

5. Moisturize

Our skin is the outermost layer of our body which serves to protect us from the elements. And in the winter it can be subjected to some harsh conditions.

The combination of low humidity, cold temperatures, and brutal wind causes a lot of damage to our skin. Rashes and sores are widespread in winter months. Especially on the delicate skin of the lips and hands. So be smart and remember to moisturize.

Using a high-quality organic moisturizer or oil will not only serve to moisturize the skin but will also help protect it and deliver some essential vitamins. Look for creams with Vitamin E, shea butter, and coconut oil in them. They are all great for skin health.

The best time to apply moisturizer is after you shower and wash your hands.

6. Don’t Let Holidays Derail Your Health By Eating Junk Food

christmas cookiesPie. Cookies. Stuffing. Candy. Cheese. Chips. Dip.

Christmas, New Year’s Eve, the Superbowl, and Valentines are all holidays spent with family and are very centered around eating. And usually, it isn’t the most health oriented food.

Avoiding all these delicious foods during these times is nearly impossible, so just try to have them in moderation. Because eating all the Christmas cookies until you are ready to vomit is probably not the smartest idea. So try to set a limit on the quantities of junk food you eat.

Also, at big meals go for healthy foods first like vegetables and proteins. This way you are less likely to binge on the less nutritious options.

7. Do a Fast or a Detox

With fewer commitments and more free time, try to use the winter as a full body reset. If you haven’t tried fasting or a cleanse, why not try something new for your health.

If you are inexperienced with these tools, then start slow. Maybe try intermittent fasting or a short 24 hour fast. Or perhaps even a juice fast. How about trying to go 30 days without gluten or processed sugar? Or possibly doing a colon cleanse?

Before you attempt anything new, talk with your doctor to assess the risks specific to you. But tools like these are showing more promise for long term health.

8. Do a Cold Shower Challenge

shower headI am sure right now you are saying, “A cold shower challenge? You must be crazy!”

Actually, that is the best time to do it. Wim Hof is on the cold therapy forefront and is rewriting the book on the benefits of cold exposure. He recommends a cold shower challenge to jumpstart heart health and motivation.

It might sound a little extreme, but read up on him and his work, and you will be convinced rather quickly.

9. Eat Your Greens

We all know that the warmer months are peak growing time for fruits and vegetables. But don’t forget and use that as an excuse why you didn’t get them.

Not only do we now live in a world that is more connected with access to international vegetables and fruits year round, but there are actually some plants that thrive in the colder months.

Things like onions, spinach, lettuce, mint, broccoli, and kale can be grown during that season. And they are all super high in beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost your immune system into top shape.

Summary

Yes, we all know that those cold and blustery days can put a dent in our motivation to be healthy. But remember, when we eat healthy and exercise we feel better.

Our minds are sharper, we are happier, and everything is clicking.

So don’t use this winter as an excuse to put on a few extra pounds and fall into seasonal depression. By following these 9 tips, you can avoid colds and flu and be in top shape when the weather warms up so you can reach new heights in your health journey.

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