Top Tips For Staying Healthy During Winter

Winter can be a challenging time to stay healthy, with colder temperatures and shorter days making it easy to fall into a sedentary routine. However, taking care of your physical and mental health during this time is crucial for your overall wellbeing. With coronavirus still alive and well, not to mention a bad flu season and all the other bugs floating around, it’s more important than ever to prioritise self-care and take preventative measures to avoid illness. Here are some top tips for staying healthy this winter:

Boosting your immune system with a healthy diet:

One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy during the winter months is to boost your immune system with a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help provide your body with the nutrients it needs to fight off infections.

Probiotics can do wonders for your gut bacteria and in turn, your immune system. Fermented foods are great for your gut health, or you can look at a supplement such as Meluka’s Functional Gut Nutrition System.

Embrace seasonal eating:

Nature provides specific fruits and vegetables during each season for a reason. By consuming produce when it’s in its prime, you enjoy optimal nutritional benefits, rather than foods that have been sitting in cold storage for months. Consider purchasing from farmers’ markets or growing your own chemical-free vegetables and herbs for added flavour and freshness.

Eat nutrient-rich foods:

Opting for foods like colourful fruits and vegetables can help fortify your body’s natural defences against winter illnesses. This is because these foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Some examples of immune-boosting foods include leafy greens, citrus fruits, berries, garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

Diversify your grain choices. Instead of relying solely on wheat-based products like bread, pasta, or biscuits, experiment with different grains for a more varied intake of micronutrients. Try incorporating grains like kamut, quinoa, millet, brown rice, or buckwheat into your meals for variety and potential health benefits.

Carbs, protein and healthy fats – it’s all about balance:

In addition to consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables, it’s important to also incorporate other healthy foods into your diet. This includes lean proteins like chicken and fish, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts. By fuelling your body with these nutritious foods, you’ll not only boost your immune system, but you’ll also feel more energised and focused throughout the day.

Up your intake of immunity-boosting foods:

Incorporate garlic and ginger where you can. Despite concerns about its smell, garlic possesses natural antimicrobial properties and has been traditionally used to combat common colds and the flu. Boost your immune system by including garlic in your daily diet. Ginger, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory properties and can aid digestion. Try adding a slice of fresh ginger, along with lemon and honey, to your tea for a warming and digestive health-promoting beverage.

healthy diet during winter

Photo by Ella Olsson

Stay properly hydrated:

It’s just as important to drink plenty of water in winter as it is in warmer months. Even though you may be indoors or bundled up in layers, your body still sweats, and insufficient fluid intake can lead to dehydration. Additionally, the cold weather causes water vapour to escape through your breath. Sitting in front of the heater or air-conditioner can cause dehydration too – have you noticed your skin gets dry in winter?

To stay hydrated, plenty of those winter fruits and vegetables we mentioned can help, plus seasonal soups and warm drinks. Be mindful of drinking too much tea and coffee because these can act as a diuretic. Some people find it helpful to have a bottle of water with them at all times as a visual reminder to keep sipping away throughout the day.

Staying Active and Engaged During Winter Months

Staying active and engaged during the winter can be a challenge for many. The colder temperatures may make it tempting to stay indoors all day, but there are plenty of ways to get moving and keep your mind engaged. If you’re not one of the lucky few who have access to winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, consider getting involved in a local sporting club that run their season throughout the middle of the year, like netball or soccer.

If joining a bigger team sport is too daunting, there are lots of smaller group activities that run throughout the year such as tennis and pickleball. If outdoor sports aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of indoor options to stay active and engaged. Joining a gym or fitness class can help keep you motivated and provide a sense of community during the colder months. Yoga and Pilates are also great options for those looking for a low-impact workout. 

If your exercise routine is not inspiring you at the moment, it’s a great time to try out one of your local gyms and take them up on a free trial class offer or a discounted first month to see if it’s the right fit and get your mojo back! Jump online to see if there’s a charity event coming up that can give you a goal to work towards whilst supporting a cause that you’re passionate about!

Staying active and engaged during the winter doesn’t have to be a daunting task – with a little creativity and effort, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Additionally, staying active and engaged can help improve your mental health and boost your immune system.

exercising during winter

Prioritising Self-Care for Overall Wellbeing

Take care of yourself this winter by prioritising self-care, such as getting enough sleep. Winter can be a challenging time for many people, with shorter days, colder weather, and less social occasions, which can make it a lonelier time for some. However, taking care of yourself is essential for overall wellbeing, and there are many small things you can do to boost your mood and energy levels.

Incorporating a dedicated self-care session into your routine such as a sauna, a stretch session with a podcast playing or a longer-than-necessary bath can be a simple way to ensure you carve out a tiny bit of “me time”.

Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining good health, both for your immune system and your mental health. If you’re interested in learning more about creating a good bedtime routine, check out our sleep hygiene article.  If you need a little assistance falling asleep or staying asleep, the team at Aussie start-up, Red Dragon Nutritionals have created a unique supplement to help with getting a good night’s sleep. Hibernate contains magnesium glycinate, ashwagandha, and glycine, alongside lemon balm, valerian root and hops extracts.

Managing Stress and Practicing Mindfulness

 Managing stress and practicing mindfulness can also help you maintain a positive mindset to beat those winter blues, improve your sleep and impact on your energy levels, reducing the risk of illness. 

To manage stress and practice mindfulness during the winter, try incorporating deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. Deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress hormones and increase feelings of calmness and relaxation.

Another way to manage stress and practice mindfulness during the winter is to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Even just a few minutes of meditation each day can have a significant impact on reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.

Ensuring Proper Hygiene and Preventing Illnesses

We all got better at personal hygiene and awareness as a result of the pandemic. Make sure you’re washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze to prevent the spread of illnesses during the winter season. Proper hygiene is crucial in avoiding the flu, colds, and other viruses that typically circulate during this time of year. It’s also important to avoid touching your face as much as possible, as this can transfer germs from your hands to your eyes, nose, or mouth.

In addition to these basic hygiene practices, it’s a good idea to disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home and workplace, such as doorknobs, light switches, and keyboards. These shared surfaces are often the prime culprit for spreading germs.

This can help to kill any lingering germs and prevent the spread of illness. If you do start to feel sick, make sure to stay home and rest, rather than spreading your illness to others. By taking these simple steps, you can help to keep yourself and those around you healthy throughout the winter season.

staying healthy this winter

Photo by Edward Jenner:

In conclusion, staying healthy this winter requires a holistic approach that encompasses physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Prioritising self-care, boosting your immune system, staying active and engaged, managing stress, and practicing mindfulness are all essential in maintaining good health during the colder months. By following these top tips, you’ll be able to prevent illnesses, take care of your mental health, and enjoy all that winter has to offer.

Remember to also ensure proper hygiene by washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with sick people. With a little effort and dedication, you can stay healthy and happy all winter long. So, embrace the season, stay active, stay healthy, and enjoy the beauty of winter!

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