How To Keep Healthy This Winter
The Autumn Equinox is here and it's the time of year to start thinking about (and possibly dreading) hunkering down for Winter. We can feel the days getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping and there are sniffles and runny noses appearing all around us.
With the global Covid pandemic so acutely in our minds just now, keeping healthy has never been so pressing, and putting some good lifestyle plans in place right now before the depths of winter set in will set us in good stead for the flu months ahead.
Here are a few ideas on how to improve our physical and mental wellbeing now, and throughout the long winter ahead.
It can often sound like a broken record, but making sure you hit your target of eating a variety of fruit and veg every day is one of the best things you can do for your health. Try to eat fresh food and use fresh products as much as possible - packaged and processed food, while it might be convenient, it's not the cheapest option and it is not your friend! Of course, a treat now and then is fine - in fact it's mandatory! Just remember that what you eat has a direct impact on your health - so if you want to stay in good form, start by being kind to yourself through food.
We can possibly expect some periods of tighter restrictions on our movements as the impact of the Covid pandemic ebbs and flows, but if it's possible we need to make sure we're getting enough fresh air and vitamin D as possible - especially as the daylight hours become shorter and shorter.
Vitamin D is one of the great benefits of spending time in the daylight (it doesn't have to be a sunny day to absorb Vit D but in the winter months it might be a good idea to take a supplement). Vit D is important to keep our bones and muscles healthy, and although we gather much of it from sunlight (especially in summer months) we can supplement in the form of foods that contain some levels such as oily fish, red meat and eggs. If you feel you need a supplement tablet make sure you check with your pharmacist or GP for the correct dose. If you tend to forget your daily tablet why not try one of these daily pill dispensers?
Walking, running, cycling, playing sport or even skipping in your front room! It's all great for our bodies and minds. A healthy body will keep your immune system strong and help you to fight off any small bugs and colds going around. So as Winter approaches, now is the time to start setting fitness goals. Whether it's running your first half marathon, walking for 20-30 minutes each day or regularly spending time on an at-home pedal exerciser, setting yourself a challenge (perhaps online or with a group of friends, family or local club) is a great way to make sure you follow your exercise goals.
Tell yourself now that you won't let the winter weather stop you from following your plan - rain, hail or shine you'll always feel better for having moved your body and for completing your goal for the day. You might just need to take an extra waterproof jacket!
It's fair to say that during these uncertain times we are living with a certain amount of stress and anxiety in our lives. Concerns for our own health and that of our loved ones is a constant state, and that stress can have a true and lasting impact on our wellbeing. Remind yourself that worrying excessively about things that cannot be controlled or even fully understood isn't going to be helpful, and could actually be quite detrimental. We're all in this together - quite literally the whole world is facing this. So, it's ok to talk about it and to share your worries and emotions with friends and family. Even a short chat with a neighbour when you're putting the bins out can alleviate a bit of tension. There are many helplines available too if you find it difficult to express yourself to people you know well.
Keeping active, eating well and maintaining good social connections are more important in the Winter months than in summertime, when getting out and about is considerably easier. Make plans and set times in your diary to make sure you get enough time working on and looking after yourself this winter.
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