December 2, 2013

13 Tips to Help You Stay Healthy & Happy This Winter.

Susan’s first ski trip

Winter affects many people in a variety of ways.

Some people become depressed. Some gain weight. Many (most!) get sick at some time or another. Some people get dry skin and hair. Many people feel lonely or utterly cold.

For many people—myself included—a huge mug of Swiss Miss cocoa, a batch of freshly baked Toll House cookies, and a season of Portlandia in bed seems like a perfect winter day. The weight will accompany those habits, and so will the depression and lack of productivity.

But alas, here are some tips to keep you happy, healthy, and productive this winter:

1. Bundle up and go walking outside. Getting some fresh air and movement every day will reduce your risk of becoming depressed.

2. Drink lots of tea and lots of water. It’s easy to quit drinking water when the seasons become colder because you aren’t hot and sweaty all day, but you must continue to hydrate!

3. Heat up milk, mix in some turmeric and honey. Enjoy. Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and it has magical properties that keep people from getting sick.

4. Go skiing or running outside. Just put on a hat, some Yak Tracks, and some gloves. Exercise makes people feel better…even if it’s cold outside. The snow affords many people with a multitude of recreational activities…take advantage of the beauty of winter by cross country skiing or ice skating or running on a greenway trail during the wintertime.

5. Get up early…resist the urge to stay in bed all day. You’ll feel less sluggish and more productive if you get up early and have some coffee or tea and read the newspaper.

6. Keep eating colorful fruits and vegetables, or participate in a CSA winter share. Fruits and veggies always keep people from getting sick, and it is particularly important to eat healthy in the wintertime.

7. Go on a vacation to somewhere sunny and warm. A lot of people become depressed from a lack of sunshine and Vitamin D. So, if you have the financial means and the time, a vacation can be a wonderful hiatus from the stress and cold at home (unless you already live in Hawaii, in which case you’re already set!).

8. Take hot baths and visit hot springs. Hot water is an excellent way to warm your body thoroughly.

9. Read a book and listen to music. Keep your creative juices flowing when you are inside. Painting and reading and dancing inside are great ways to spend time doing productive things rather than watching TV.

10. Keep doing yoga…the hotter, the better. Yoga can be warming or cooling, but hot yoga is a great way to get exercise and to stay warm in the winter.

11. Mop, sweep, and vacuum frequently. Dust and bacteria collect, and people get sick when these things are in their living spaces. Light some candles, pull out some cozy blankets, and make your home a warm nest in which you can comfortably spend some time with loved ones.

12. Meditate. Winter is a wonderful time to focus and re-invigorate our intentions, our focus, and our goals. A warm cup of tea, a set of teachings, and some calming music (or silence!) make for a perfect snowy day that is still productive.

13. Share the magic of winter with others. Make a batch of cookies or buy a six pack of hard cider and bring it to your friends (or the neighbors you have yet to meet). Socializing can provide an interlude in the long durations of cold loneliness that many people experience during the doldrum months.

Stay happy. Stay healthy. Enjoy all seasons of the year, because they all have something beautiful to offer to you!

And put down the Toll House cookies!



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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: courtesy of the author

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