As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s important to pay extra attention to your mind and body wellness, especially if you’re at risk for seasonal depression, weakened immunity, and decreased physical activity. These wellness tips can help.
Winter is such a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s cozy season. Who doesn’t love curling up in sweaters and socks, sipping a warm drink and enjoying the quietude of the first snowfall? It’s hygge at its purest.
There’s also the magic of the holidays that bring joy and connection, feelings of gratitude and belonging.
But on the flip side, seasonal depression is a real problem for a number of people. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about five percent of adult Americans will experience severe seasonal depression, also called Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder, and between ten to 20 percent of adults will experience a milder form of the condition.
Add to that the increased risk of catching a cold or the flu or covid, and the winter can loom like an enemy attacker.
There are myriad other triggers the colder months can bring like arthritis and joint pain. Most people are more sedentary, which can bring on extra pounds and associated health risks.
The good news is there are some wellness tips that are relatively easy to do but can make a relatively big difference in your winter season.
Winter wellness tips
The colder weather doesn’t mean that you should stay locked up indoors away from people; it simply means dressing in warmer layers and enjoying yourself. By following these five winter wellness tips, you’ll be able to have a happy and healthy winter season.
1. Get outside daily
In the winter, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and spend more time indoors than in other seasons. But it’s important to make a conscious effort to get outside every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Being in nature has been shown to have numerous benefits for our physical and mental health, including reducing stress levels, improving mood, and boosting immunity.
“You might want to retreat like the hibernating bear, but don’t,” Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, the psychiatrist whose research team identified and named Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder in the ’80s, told the New York Times. “Walking outside even 20 or 30 minutes each day could make a huge difference,” he said.
2. Eat healthy and hydrate
Our bodies need extra nutrients during the winter to stay healthy and support healthy immunity. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats this winter. You can include more hearty soups in your meal planning for the week to ensure you’re getting in the nutrients that matter.
And don’t forget about water. Staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. It can be harder to remember to drink water in the winter when you’re not as thirsty as in warmer months. Try setting an alarm four times a day: first thing in the morning, and then before meals and before bed, to drink at least one eight-ounce glass of water.
3. Exercise regularly
It can be tempting to hibernate all winter long, but regular exercise is crucial for maintaining our mental and physical health. Exercise releases endorphins that improve mood and help reduce stress levels, both of which are especially important during the dark winter months. So make sure to keep up with your workout routine or start one if you don’t already have one.
4. Make time for relaxation and self-care
The holiday season can be a hectic time of year, so it’s important to make time for relaxation and self-care. Whether it’s taking a hot bath, visiting a spa, reading your favorite book, or taking a yoga class, find activities that help you unwind and de-stress. If you find it difficult to rest during the holiday season, you can try pure CBD products from companies like the CBDistillery or Barker Wellness to help alleviate stress and improve sleep. You’ll be glad you made the time for yourself when things start getting busy.
5. Connect with loved ones
Social connection is often overlooked, but one of the most important wellness tips. Spending time with loved ones helps reduce stress levels and improves mood. There is often a short timeframe when most things slow down slightly in the winter, so use this time to reconnect with friends and family. Plan a cozy evening with hot cocoa or go on a winter hike together. Take advantage of the slower pace and make time for the people you care about.