It can be challenging to stay healthy during the winter, with colder temperatures and shorter days making it harder to stay active and get outside. The risk of getting sick also increases during the winter, with cold, flu, and possibly COVID-19 in full swing. However, with some planning and preparation, it is possible to maintain good physical and mental health during the winter. In this article, I will explore tips and strategies for staying healthy and happy during the colder time of year. From staying active and eating a healthy diet to getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce stress, this article is packed full of practical tips for maintaining good health during the winter.
Staying warm in winter is a given. Of course, you want to keep comfortable, but that is not the only reason to stay warm during winter. Staying warm has another benefit: preventing illness.
When you are cold, the blood vessels in your upper respiratory tract constrict, making it more difficult for your immune system to prevent infections. By staying warm in the winter, when colds and the flu are much more common, you can reduce your risk of getting sick.
There are a few other benefits of staying warm in the winter, including improved sleep and reduced stress:
- Improved sleep: A warm bedroom can help you sleep better. If you are interested in learning about the best sleeping temperature, check out this article by the Sleep Foundation.
- Reduced stress: Cold temperatures can be stressful, as they can make you feel uncomfortable. Staying warm (not hot) can help to reduce stress, which can benefit your immune system and overall health. If you are interested in learning more about reducing stress, check out Stress: Types, Treatment, and Prevention.
Staying warm during the winter can support your immune system and reduce your risk of getting sick. It also promotes better sleep (see Sleep Category) and reduced stress (Stress: Types, Treatment, and Prevention). Staying warm is important for maintaining good health during the winter months.
Avoiding illness is one of everyone's highest priorities, especially in the winter, as nobody wants to get sick. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent getting ill, including staying warm, as mentioned in the previous section.
In addition, sleeping enough can also help prevent illness. Here are a few other ways you can avoid getting sick during the winter:
- Wash your hands often: An effective way to prevent the spread of illness is to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating or cooking and after using the bathroom.
- Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is vital to maintaining good health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to help your body rejuvenate. If you are interested in improving your sleep, check out the sleep category!
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy. Eat fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods to support your health. Another thing you can do for your health is to take vitamins. Especially in the winter, many become deficient, especially in vitamins D and C. A possible way to combat these potential deficiencies is to take a multivitamin. Although, you can take individual vitamins too. If you are interested in the dangers of sugar, check out Sugar: Where It’s Hidden and Why It Matters.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help maintain good health. Water, tea, and other hydrating beverages can help to keep you hydrated and healthy.
- Exercise daily: Exercise can help boost your immune system and reduce your risk of getting sick. The American Heart Association recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily for teenagers and 150 minutes per week for adults.
It is vital to wash your hands often, get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and exercise daily to avoid winter illness. These simple steps can help you stay healthy during winter and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Maintaining Good Mental Health
Maintaining good mental health in the winter is important and can be challenging for many reasons. Shorter days can lead to many people having feelings of sadness or loneliness, and the cold weather can make it harder to get motivated for exercise and everyday activities.
Here are some tips for maintaining good mental health during the winter months:
- Spend time outside: Even if it is cold or cloudy, try to make an effort to get outside and get some natural light. Natural light can help improve your mood and regulate your sleep cycle. Check out this article by Sleep Foundation to learn more.
- Stay active: Exercise can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Find ways to stay active, whether through winter outdoor activities like skiing or snowboarding, or fun indoor activities like yoga, weight lifting, or running/walking on a treadmill. If you are interested in exercise, check out the exercise category or Exercise for Teenagers: A Complete Guide!
- Stay connected: Make an effort to stay connected with friends and family. Whether it is through in-person visits or video chats, social support is vital for maintaining good mental health.
- Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and finding ways to relax and de-stress, such as through meditation, reading, or taking a warm bath. If you are interested in more ways to practice self-care, check out Seven Simple Tricks to Make Your Life Better.
- Seek help if needed: If you are struggling with bad feelings, do not hesitate to seek help. Talk to a mental health counsellor or reach out to a support group or hotline for help. Stay tuned because, in the future, I will be writing about how to get help during a mental health crisis. Until then, check out Get Immediate Help.
Remember, it is vital to take care of your mental health year-round but many people experience mental health issues in the winter, sometimes caused by seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Seasonal affective disorder causes people to feel symptoms of depression during specific times of the year, usually from late fall to early spring.
Maintaining good mental health during winter can be challenging due to shorter days, longer nights, outdoor temperature, and even sometimes the holiday season. However, steps can be taken to help improve and maintain mental health during this time. One tip is to get outside and get some natural light, which can help improve mood and regulate sleep cycles. (See Light and Sleep by the Sleep Foundation) Staying active through exercise can also help improve your mood and reduce stress. It is vital to stay connected with friends and family and practice self-care, such as getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet. (See Seven Simple Tricks to Make Your Life Better by Healthy Teen) If needed, seeking help from a mental health professional can also help.
In conclusion, staying healthy during the winter months requires a combination of good habits and proactive planning. By getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying active, and finding ways to reduce stress, you can help maintain good physical and mental health during the winter. It is also important to prepare for cold, flu, and COVID-19 season by washing your hands frequently, getting vaccines, and taking steps to avoid getting sick. Following these tips can keep you healthy and happy all winter long.
Sources and Further Reading:
Sources and further reading are in order.
The Best Temperature for Sleep – Sleep Foundation:
Stress: Types, Treatment, and Prevention – Healthy Teen:
Sleep Category – Healthy Teen:
Sugar: Where It’s Hidden and Why It Matters – Healthy Teen:
Exercise Recommendations – American Heart Association:
Light and Sleep – Sleep Foundation:
Exercise Category – Healthy Teen:
Exercise For Teenagers: A Complete Guide:
Seven Simple Tricks to Make Your Life Better – Healthy Teen:
Get Immediate Help – MentalHeallth.gov:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Mayo Clinic: