But, despite these seasonal realities, winter can be an enjoyable and productive time – if you take the right steps to stay healthy and stress free between now and the spring equinox.
Here are some tips for maintaining your winter wellness and the positive mindset that comes with it:
Let the Sunshine In
Exposure to sunlight can enhance your health, help you fight germs, and boost your energy level. And during winter, you can’t rely solely on Mother Nature for vitamin D and the related benefits of the sun.
- Bundle up if necessary. But go outside. Even if it’s brief, take a walk or run an errand during the middle of the day. Take up an activity like skiing, ice skating, winter hiking, sledding, photography or astronomy.
- Bring the light to you. Open curtains and blinds as early in the day as possible. Or invest in a light therapy box. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin – which promotes sleep – in your brain. Excess sleep, overeating, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating and social isolation are symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), an affliction that impacts as many as 20 percent of Americans.
A recent study showed that participants who did aerobic exercise five days a week for 20 minutes took 40 percent fewer sick days than their less active counterparts.
- The anti-melatonin is called serotonin, and we need it to stay healthy and energetic. One hour of exercise has the same therapeutic effect as 2.5 hours of exposure to the sun, which produces serotonin.
- Less active hobbies help, too. Join a club or sign up to do some volunteer work. This could be the start of a rewarding year-round activity.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
This is important advice 365 days a year, but especially when you’re cooped up inside and bugs are rampant. During the winter, it’s especially critical to keep your body clean and in good working order.
- Fruits and vegetables are your friends. Try to have at least five servings a day.
- Minimize your red meat intake. Sure, you can order that steak. But the key word is “balance.”
- Take a daily multivitamin. Make sure it includes an adequate level of vitamin D-3, which is created naturally by the sun’s rays on your skin.
In a study of 83 college freshmen at Carnegie Mellon University, it was found that those students with wider social networks naturally produced more flu-fighting antibiotics. Socializing keeps you active and lowers your stress level. Along with practical routines like hand washing and healthy eating and sleeping, interacting with other people contributes significantly to your wintertime well-being.
- Host a party or potluck dinner with friends, visit a local museum or plan a night out at the movies. Come on. Change out of your sweat pants and get off the couch!
Winter’s here … but it won’t last forever. In the meantime, embrace it!
The workplace team at PrideStaff Modesto has a wealth of information on maximizing your productivity and work/life balance. To learn more, give us a call today.