Staying Happy, Healthy And Sane During The Winter

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


The holiday season is approaching and alongside the festive fun and cosy nights in, it brings with it some real risks to our mental and physical health that can make winter more of a worry than a wonderland. Winter is the busiest season of the year for hospitals and also the worst time for mental health issues. Here, we’re going to look at the reminders that you need to look after your health and get through the season as best you can.

Inoculate the office
It’s the time of year where a lack of hygiene can be significantly more of an issue than the rest of the year. Colds, flus, and all sorts of bugs are going to be passing and most of us are going to be heavily exposed at the office. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to protect ourselves. Make sure you have a considerable stock of hand sanitizer and wipes to take with you. Wipe down your keyboard and your mouse every day, as well as any door handles, toilet flushes, or taps that you use through the day. Bring plenty of pens as well so you always have a fresh one at hand when you need it. Keep up the hygiene in the office.

Don’t catch the bug
Good hygiene can help you ward off all kind of illnesses, but if you don’t want to get hit by the worst of them, then you need to consider getting the jab. It’s becoming much more convenient to do so, as well. You can get vaccinated for flu from your local pharmacy or by checking the scheduled days at your doctor’s health centre. Those most susceptible to the flu and the four other bugs covered by the jab are those who most need it, too. This includes anyone who has had a condition that has compromised their immune system (like cancer), anyone who’s pregnant, over 65 or in close contact with vulnerable people, like a carer or in a long-stay care facility.

Stay topped up
You can make yourself much less likely to catch the sniffles helping to boost your body’s immune system, as well. Plenty of exercise, a balanced diet and a good night’s sleep all contribute to our body’s ability to fight off disease. But topping yourself up with multivitamins and probiotics can make all the difference, as well. Vitamin C is a crucial part of our body’s defences that our bodies don’t produce naturally. Vitamin E, on the other hand, improves our white blood cell count, meaning that we’re less likely to catch a virus or an infection. There are plenty of products that suggest they support a healthy immune system, but better lifestyle habits are always the most reliable option.

Don’t stress about the holidays
Telling you to avoid stress during the holiday season might sound like telling you not to get wet when you dive in the pool. But it’s possible to at least keep things down to a manageable level. Follow all the general health advice as proposed in the last point, as well. But get your prep work done early so you’re not constantly floundering as the big day approaches. Set yourself a budget and buy your gifts in advance if you can. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, you can overcome your panic attacks by becoming mindful of your emotions, avoiding your triggers, and when you might need support from the family. Holiday stress is serious, so don’t keep quiet about it.

Keep the blues away
Holiday depression is just as widespread and just as real. Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that is caused primarily by the changing of the seasons. We are simply much more prone to mood disorders, depression in particular, in the winter. It can result in lethargy, sleep issues, anxiety, social discomfort, and much more. It’s well documented that the lack of sunshine might play a large role in SAD, so getting a special light to help brighten up the home can actually help many of its sufferers. The sun helps us regulate and produce many of the hormones that control our mood, so make as much use of natural light as you can and keep the home bright when it’s gone.

Gather your party
By far one of the best parts of the holiday is getting together with family and friends that you might not get to see often. They might also be one of the most valuable tactics for surviving the stresses of winter. You don’t need to host a party every night, but keeping in regular contact with your closest friends does more than help fight stress and depression. It also plays a large role in protecting us from diseases, actively contributing to our immune systems. Frozen roads and bad weather make it easy to isolate ourselves, but that could be doing us more harm than good in the end.

Stay energetic
Seasonal affective disorder isn’t the only reason that we can feel exhausted and sluggish throughout the months. The tendency towards isolation, the lack of natural light, and the stress we endure all sap at our energy. Make sure you’re taking steps to feel more energetic throughout winter. Ensure a healthy sleeping schedule by setting alarms between sleep cycles with the many sleeping apps and sites out there and spend time relaxing away from any electronic screens at night before you go to bed. Listen to lively music and be active during the day, especially if it takes you outdoors. Even acting energetic and enthusiastic can promote a genuine response in the body, so fake it till you make it, if you have to.

It might sound all doom and gloom, but let’s remember that winter also has some of the most positive experiences we’re likely to have all year. Just take care of yourself and you’re a lot less likely to be struck down by something that gets in the way of your enjoyment of the holidays. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.

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