Along with the beauty of winter comes the unpleasantries of S.A.D and colds. It can be hard to stay motivated, happy, and healthy during winter but there are things you can do to keep yourself feeling well throughout the colder seasons. So, whether you’re a winter lover or winter hater, here are my top winter wellness tips!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
We all know drinking water is important for proper body function. We’ve been told it time and time again. During the colder months, it’s easier for us to become dehydrated without noticing causing us to feel sluggish, run-down and preventing our bodies from doing their job properly. Staying hydrated throughout winter will aid in boosting your immune system and support the body in fighting off infection (which we definitely want to avoid in the lead up to Christmas. As well as this, drinking enough water throughout the day can actually help to keep you warm as the body requires water for temperature balance.
Now, if you’re like me and opt for the hot drink over the winter months, leaving regular water out in the cold, you could add a squeeze of lemon and honey to hot water. This will still hydrate you as water does and act as an extra immunity boost. Lemons are high in vitamin C, vitamin B complex, calcium and magnesium which are all great for supporting the immune system (as well as skin health).
Learn more about the benefits of lemon water- HERE
Keep a Routine
Keeping a routine in winter is vital for mental wellbeing. Keeping a routine has been proven to lower stress levels, promote better sleep and cause a decrease in anxiety and depression. Everyone’s routine will look different depending on your lifestyle and what’s important to you. Some things you could prioritise including in a morning or evening routine are:
- Getting moving. Excersice is great for releasing endorphines. Your body uses endorphines for releiving pain and making us feel good. Some research suggests that even 15 minuets of running can help to reduce the risk of major depression by 26% (Read more: HERE and HERE). In addition, exercising daily can improve self esteem, energy levels and help you sleep better.
- Practice gratitude. Gratitude is a great way to keep yiur mindset positive. Taking a moment each day to really consider what you’re grateful for will help you change your perspective on the world and let you live a little bit happier.
- Breathwork or meditation. Our breath is literally out source of life. Practicing breathwork can help improve energy levels as well as reduce anxiety and stress. I talk more in more depth about breathwork and its benefits in my post ‘Lets talk: self-soothing‘
Going outside appears to be the last thing on peoples minds as it gets colder. Although it can be tempting to stay inside and get cosy (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that) it can be more beneficial to get outside.
Getting outside at anytime of the year exposes us to natural daylight which give our bodies a boost of Vitamin D. This is great for bone health disease prevention. Not only this, but getting outdoors will have great benefits. The exercise we get, as mentioned in the previous section, will release endorphins. These endorphins can help us feel good and increase energy levels, which is important for anyone suffering with symptoms of S.A.D.
The other benefits of getting outdoors in winter are improved sleep, reduced stress levels and some research suggests it can prevent illnesses as it helps our body to flush out harmful bacteria (through runny noses).
Let in Natural Light
Exposing yourself to natural light can have many benefits and is definitely a practice you want to pay close attention to if you suffer from SAD. This is because daylight aids in the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone vital for stabilising the mood and producing feelings of well-being. Because of this, light exposure is thought to be an effective treatment for S.A.D.
Mayo Clinic talk about using light therapy (HERE) which involves being exposed to a very bright light first thing in the morning as a way to manage symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Alternatively, if you find yourself struggling with the dark mornings you could invest in a sunrise alarm clock.
I have previously used a sunrise alarm clock and I could’not recommend it enough. Simply set it to your preferred waking up time and get woken up with the gradual brightening of the like.
Lumie Body Clock Lamp- £99 Amazon
Lumie Sunrise Alarm- £29.99 Amazon
The impact light has on your body is actually quite large. It’s 100% something I would suggest reading about if it interests you. This article on tcpi.com was my personal favourite: The Psychological Impact of Light and Color.
Eating right is essential for our body to function properly. Ensuring you’re consuming leafy greens, plenty of protein and some carbs will give your body the energy it needs to fight off illness and keep you energised through the colder season.
Some winter superfoods you could include in your diet are:
- Winter Squash. Winter squashes are a great source of fibre and magnesium. As well as Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
- Ginger. Ginger has been used for centuries for aiding digestion and boosting the immune system.
- Citrus Fruit. Oranges, lemons and limes are all super high in Vitamin C making them excellent for boosting the immune system
- Broccoli. As well as being high in antioxidants and aiding in digestion. Broccoli is actually also a great source of Vitamin C. This makes it another food great for immunity!