Maintaining Your Physical and Mental Health During the Winter
While many of us get excited when winter comes around, we also tend to put our physical and mental health on the backburner. Some of us put exercise to the side because it is too cold to run or walk outside. Others get drawn into the many delicious treats of the season and forget to consume a nutritious diet. Then there is the general winter depression or sadness that many of us feel on those dry and gray days
Needless to say, even though you may prefer to stay warm by the fire, it is important that you prioritize your health all year round. Luckily, there are many small things you can do every day to keep your body and mental wellness in check. Let’s talk about what you can do during these cold winter months.
Don’t Let Winter Get You Down
You may notice that you don’t feel as happy or energized during the winter months, and it may not be your fault. The idea of winter sadness can often come around because the season brings darker and shorter days, which reduces our exposure to vitamin D. Vitamin D is what gives us natural energy the rest of the year. That lack of essential nutrients is why you may feel fatigued or lack motivation, and if you don’t do anything to change those feelings, you will only continue to feel worse, which is why a healthy lifestyle is so important.
Another reason why it is essential that you stay active during the winter is because when you spend those three to four months living a sedentary lifestyle, it can wreak havoc on your body. We were meant to get up and move, and when we don’t, we put ourselves at risk of various health risks, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and an increased chance of cancer. In fact, living a sedentary lifestyle is also a common cause of death for many people.
By staying in one place, we also put ourselves at risk of other less well-known issues, including weaker bones and hormonal imbalances. Inactivity during the winter can even impact the severity of varicose veins because not only are you likely less active, but cold weather also constricts the veins and forces your blood flow upwards, which can result in pain and swelling. When you get up and move around, you create the ability for easier blood flow, which is good for your veins and your entire body.(scroll down to read more)
As you can see, there are many reasons why your health should not take a backseat during the winter months.
Maintaining Physical Health
It is important to understand that you don’t have to go all out with your exercise regime during the winter months. It is perfectly natural to want to sit inside by the fire. The good news is that doctors generally recommend about 150 minutes of exercise per week, or 20 quick minutes a day. That activity could include a brisk run, a walk around the block, or even staying inside and watching a workout video on TV or YouTube.
The point is that you want to make some sort of effort every day to include exercise or another healthy habit into your routine, and again, you don’t have to move mountains to do it. Instead, you can make some small adjustments to your daily routine, such as drinking a glass of water before every meal, so you feel less hungry, walking around the house for two minutes every hour, or even parking deeper into the lot when you go shopping, so you have to burn a few more calories walking towards the store.
There are also exercises that you can try that will help you in both body and mind, like yoga or meditation. From a physical standpoint, yoga is great because it builds muscle strength, boosts your metabolism, and increases flexibility. Yoga is also very relaxing as you become one with your body, and your troubles can seem to melt away. The best part of both yoga and meditation is that you can do them both from the comfort of your bedroom.
Mental Health Is Also Important
As mentioned, it is very easy to feel sad, anxious, and sluggish during the winter months due to the changes in weather and atmosphere, but you do not want to dwell on those feelings because they may negatively impact your overall mental health. One way to fight those negative thoughts is to get out and be social with people you care about. Go shopping with friends, visit with your family, or just have your folks over to watch a movie at home. You could even ask your friends if they want to exercise with you at the local gym. That way, everyone can stay safe and healthy.
Sleep is also very important for good mental health. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain functions decrease, which could lead to bad memory, poor decision-making, and slowed reaction time. You will also tend to be more forgetful. If you experience these conditions, you can easily get frustrated, and when you combine those irritations with winter sadness, you could go down a dark path. Most doctors recommend seven to nine hours of sleep every night so you can get the rest that your body needs and wake up feeling mentally refreshed.
It is also important to keep on top of your appointments during the winter season, including doctor’s visits, eye appointments, and any necessary wellness checks. If you don’t, and you start feeling physically ill, then it won’t help your mental state of mind. If there is cold or inclement weather outside, remember that many health facilities use telehealth so you can see a doctor without leaving home.
As you can see, you aren’t the only one feeling down during these cold winter months, and you don’t have to stay that way. Consider the advice and tips discussed here, and you will feel great as we head towards spring.
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Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including health and wellness. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Nannocare. Nannocare is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the author of this article, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.