How to stay healthy and take care of yourself this winter

Thick frost, chilly mornings and dark evenings could be enough to fool you into thinking winter is already firmly upon us here in the UK. But the truth is, winter only officially arrived just a few days back.

Having already suffered from several colds and sinus infections, it’s fair to say the change in the weather has taken its toll on me. Not to mention that I’ve begun making a strong start on my winter layers (by that I mean I’ve already eaten far too much chocolate and bread!).

When the temperatures begin to drop, you are far more likely to get a ill and no one wants to be ill over the festive season! It’s the time where most of us tend to relax a little, drink too much, eat more than we should and throw those diets straight out the window.

And it’s OK to enjoy yourself, but unfortunately this can  have a series on negative effects on your mental and physical health. As such, here’s our guide to staying healthy and taking care of yourself this winter.

Do your best to avoid common winter illnesses

First, you do need to make sure that you’re doing all you can to avoid the flu and other common illnesses throughout the winter months. There are a number of ways you can do reduce your risk of Illness as outlined below:

1. Get your flu jab

It’s a smart idea to visit the doctor for a check-up and to get your flu jab. While this won’t fully stop you from getting ill over the winter period, it will ensure that you have a better chance of staying in good health.

2. Wash your hands

It seems obvious, but nothing spreads germs and bacteria more quickly than unwashed hands. This is particularly true for those who spend a lot of time with young children, but also for those who use public transport regularly, as so many people use these every day.  

It’s best to carry some hand sanitiser around with you as well, to make sure that you can get rid of germs quickly.

3. Don’t make unnecessary trips to the doctor

You might also want to think about avoiding any unnecessary trips to the doctors. Obviously for flu vaccinations you will need to go in. But for everything else, it’s best to stay away unless your problem is more serious.

Sometimes it’s better to get an online consultation or alternatively pop to the pharmacist to see what they can recommend. This saves you putting yourself in contact with a whole range of illnesses and

Make sure to eat well

Chocolates, cheese, crackers, mince pies, roast dinners – these are just some of the delicious delights of the winter season (especially over the Christmas period). And while we often turn to comfort food in the colder months, it’s important that you don’t let yourself go entirely.

Firstly, because eating right can actually strengthen your immune system, helping you to fight off illnesses. Secondly, because the right food keeps you feeling good and finally, because eating too much junk food can also have a negative impact on your mental health.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the usual winter warmers (I certainly can’t resist a roast dinner!), but you need to balance this with healthy eating and exercise.

If you want to boost your immune system, make sure you have plenty of foods high in antioxidants, citrus fruits are particularly useful so make sure you’re getting your daily glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning.

And while it can be tempting to load up on carbs, as I said I’m already working on my winter layer, don’t neglect the usual fruit and veg, too! Eating right is the key to staying physically and mentally fit. Especially as unhealthy eating can cause low mood and make us feel bad about ourselves.

Other foods to add to your diet include diet and almonds. Almonds are particularly useful if you are dieting through the season, as you can gain a lot of protein from a small food source.

Wrap up warm

Proving that simple advice is often the best, it’s always a smart idea to wrap up warm during this time of year. You need to make sure that you are wearing plenty of layers. It’s time to stock up on jumpers, scarfs and plenty of warm socks!   

It’s particularly important that you keep your feet warm. If your feet are cold then the rest of your body will soon follow suit. Now is the perfect time to break out those fuzzy slippers. Make sure that you are also wearing warm shoes when you’re out on the town as well. A good pair of boots goes a long way!  

Sort Out Your Home

There are number of ways you can spruce up your home to keep you feeling great during the winter months. Firstly, from a practical perspective, it’s important that you keep your home warm. You can do this in a variety of ways, make sure you have thick curtains to keep the cold air outside. You can also think about investing in a portable heater to help take the chill off.

You can also help to keep your house feeling warm cosy by adding lamps, fairy lights or candles. And make sure there’s plenty of snuggly blankets around for curling up on the sofa in the evenings! These small touches can keep you feeling warm and relaxed, beating of the winter blues that can come with long, dark evenings.

Finally, the colder months mean we spend a lot more time indoors, plus Christmas means we tend to acquire a lot more stuff. So it can be a good idea to declutter the house, when you get a chance. This might be your wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, hey you might even just get rid of those old Christmas decorations you no longer use. Decluttering is great for your mind – so is a tidy home!

After all, the winter months can take their toll on our mental and physical wellbeing, so it’s important that you’re doing all you can to look after yourself!  

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