How You Can Stay Healthy This Winter
Game of Thrones may be over, but that’s not going to stop winter from coming. In fact, for many of us, winter is already here! The wintertime may usher in the holidays and bring some lovely snow, but it can also cause us to become hermits, feel a bit down and get out of shape. All of this extra indoor time is an unhealthy winter cocktail. Luckily, there are many ways to boost your health during the cold months. Here are some winter health tips to help you stay healthy this winter that will have you feeling great long before the summer heatwave!
Winter Health Tip #1: Turn off the TV
On the first snow day, it’s kind of fun. You’re thinking, “Finally. Which Netflix series can I binge watch?” Three blizzards and a nor’easter later, you are tubed out!
With cold temperatures outside, we succumb to living a life indoors. The number one source of entertainment tends to be television. With so many streaming services and network channels out there, it’s easy to spend hours attached to a screen. Research confirms that we are.
An analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics looked at our TV viewing patterns. They found we watch more television as the climate gets colder.
Average viewing patterns looked like this:
- October-March: 2 hours, 54 minutes per day
- April-September: 2 hours, 39 minutes per day
While a 15-minute difference might not seem like a significant discrepancy, that adds up to almost two hours over the course of a week! Watching this much television is not beneficial for our winter health.
Many news outlets have pointed out that binge-watching can become an addictive behavior. Watching television for hours on end may also leave us feeling unfulfilled and may contribute to feeling more down during the winter months.
Winter Health Tip #2: Enrich Yourself
If you cut down your TV-watching to an hour per day in winter, you’d have an average of 1 hour and 54 minutes of extra free time. What would you do with this extra time? These are the moments you should invest in activities that make you happy.
Maybe you like to read steamy romance novels, build things with wood or tend to your indoor plants. Whatever makes you feel like you’re connecting to your true self, do it!
The winter months can make it harder to find enrichment, so you may have to adapt to the situation. If the ground outside doesn’t lend itself to gardening, then set up a greenhouse inside. Get a book that will teach you new ways to compost, read about the origin of your favorite plants or watch videos that can make your thumb greener.
Learning more about the things that make you who you are will give you a better appreciation for them. With that sense of fulfillment, you can improve your disposition and your winter health.
Winter Health Tip #3: Get Moving
The average person will gain five to seven pounds in the winter months. Don’t be a statistic. Break the mold by getting up and moving.
If you live in an area where it’s cold, don’t let it stop you from going out for a run. Your body warms up as you run and you may even break a sweat out there. Don’t knock it until you try it; you might find cold weather exercise refreshing.
Otherwise, join a gym. Get on the treadmill. Sculpt your muscles. Join a yoga class. All of these are excellent uses of your time and will give you a leg up on beach season.
For some, joining a gym is just an added expense. That is no excuse not to workout. You can find a set of weights at many discount scores. Roll out a yoga mat, towel or blanket and do yoga with a free YouTube video. Use your stairs for cardio, do burpees in the living room and plank on your bedroom floor. There are more options for free at-home workouts than there are excuses.
Winter Health Tip #4: Try Something New
One of the worst parts about winter is the monotony of those short days. The hours we bask in the sun are fewer and farther between and the dark-filled afternoons and evenings are full of the same routines. We eat, scroll on our phones and watch TV until bedtime.
You can spend your extra time pursuing your passions or learn something new. Learning new concepts actually helps us rewire our brains. It causes us to use regions of our mind that may have gone underutilized lately. It is in these moments that you can tap into your true potential.
You can use the winter months to learn a new language, perhaps the language of a place you want to visit! Go to the batting cages and hone your skills so you’re ready to join a softball team in the summer. Write down some jokes and try your bit at an open mic comedy club. The possibilities are endless. Trying new things is essential for maintaining winter health.
Winter Health Tip #5: Go Outside Anyway
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t brave the cold and head outdoors. As Nike would say, “Just do it.” Put on your snowshoes and bear the elements. You won’t regret it.
The sun is our primary source of Vitamin D, an essential vitamin that many of us are already missing. The winter months mean even fewer chances to capture this vital nutrient. Don’t let the cold win. Go outside and soak up some sun, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Winter Health Tip #6: Purify the Air
Being indoors isn’t just bad for our mood. It might also do a number on our health. We are cooped up all winter long. We go from our closed-up house to our stuffy car to the cubicle at work. Every day, we’re faced with indoor pollutants that can cause harm to our health.
These potential pollutants can make the winter months worse on our health:
- Other people’s germs
- Paint fumes
- Carbon monoxide
- Artificial fragrances
One of the best ways to purify the air is to get a HEPA activated charcoal dehumidifier. The activated charcoal will suck in moisture and potential hazardous heavy metals from the air. The carbon filter will adhere to these toxins and push fresh air back into the atmosphere.
Winter Health Tip #7: Diffuse Essential Oils
Getting an air purifier might break the budget for some families, but there’s a more cost-effective way to help improve the indoor air. Try diffusing essential oils.
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic molecules. The active compounds in essential oils are known as terpenes. They are responsible for the alluring zesty scent of cinnamon, the juicy kiss of orange or sour bite of lemon. They’re also the backbone of aromatherapy.
For centuries, our ancestors used plants to clean wounds, support their immune system and boost their temperament. Science has found that the ancients were on to something. Now, you can buy essential oils and add them to a diffuser. This device will release the aromatic terpenes into the air.
Here are some of the best essential oils to support your winter health:
- Cinnamon bark
- Tea tree oil
The fun part about essential oils is that you can play around to determine which blends you like best. This winter health tip might even help you find a new hobby! After all, making soaps with essential oils is an exciting and cost-effective way to start an all-natural beauty routine.
Winter Health Tip #8: Eat Reasonably
One analysis found that children ate 20% of their calories in front of a television. When we’re not paying attention to the food that we’re eating, our mind and gut are not getting the memo that they should feel satisfied. Instead, we continue to mindlessly pile on more calories.
If cooking is a new hobby for you, try more original, healthier recipes. Don’t fall back on your unhealthy go-to’s. Not a fan of “healthy foods?” Use this extra time indoors to experiment with healthier dishes that you might actually enjoy.
There is nothing more satisfying than creating a delicious meal with your own two hands. If you can create a tasty dish with ingredients you’d otherwise run away from, your opinion on these foods will begin to change. As a result, some of the dietary habits you’ve created may transform, as well. Trust us; many others struggle with these winter health concerns. The more you get involved, the more fun eating and living well will be.
Winter Health Tip #9: Try CBD Products
The winter is an easy scapegoat for letting ourselves go. We put on extra layers to hide that extra fluff around our tummy. Fresh vegetables are less available, so we’re back to using DoorDash. Exercise feels daunting, so we do bicep curls with the remote control. All of these decisions can do a number on our system, and we need a little extra support in the winter months.
An excellent way to thwart poor winter health is to add CBD to your routine. CBD can provide support for the healthy lifestyle you want to maintain, especially in winter.
Winter Health Tip #10: Be Grateful
For many of us, health is a state of mind. We’re continuously trying to achieve optimal wellness, but each day comes with its own set of circumstances. Some of us may feel great for weeks on end, then an old achy joint will flare up. There may be periods where we’re getting a lot of business. After a while, sales die down. These ebbs and flows are part of life. We can’t let them get the best of us.
It’s easy to dwell on the bad when it rears its ugly head, but we’ll be less apt to if we remind ourselves of the inherent good that is also in our lives. Remember that being stuck inside allows us more time to do things we’ve been putting off. Appreciating what we have and trying to see the positives, even in negative situations, is gratitude.
The best way to feel grateful is to write down what you’re thankful for. Keep a gratitude journal close to your bed. Before you start your day, jot down something that makes you smile. You’ll notice the thought of smiling alone is enough to make those lips curve upward. How can your day go wrong when you’re starting it beaming?
You can apply gratitude when tending to your winter health. Be grateful for the ability to breathe and to walk around. Put that breath and those limbs to good use with exercise. Pick up a hobby. Go outside. Use these tips and a positive mindset to stay healthy this winter!
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Todd Smith is Joy Organics Chief Partnerships Officer. With over three decades’ experience in the wellness and nutritional industry, Todd co-founded Joy Organics and works diligently to support small CBD businesses across the country.