Self Care

How to Stay Healthy in Winter: 16 Wellness Hacks

Why does it seem as soon as temps drop, we pick up a cold. Or even worse – the flu? We’re not imagining it, are we?

wellness habits to stay healthy all winter

No you’re not.

If your body is already over-dosing on seasonal allergies, it just doesn’t have the chops to fight off any extra infections going around. So yeah, if you suffer from allergies you’re more vulnerable to bugs.

Seasonal changes can also mean BIG drops in outdoor temps.

Believe it or not when our nose gets cold we’re more likely to get a cold. Studies show even a 7 degree temperature drop can mess with our body’s natural defenses.

Turns out the cold virus likes the cold. Who knew? So yes we’re more likely to pick up a cold when it gets cold out. What can you do?

I’m all about not getting sick this year.

Here’s 16 wellness habits to keep you healthy all winter long.

1. Wash

We knew this already but how many of us remember to wash our hands when it’s cold out? It’s like not drinking enough water. Because we’re not getting as thirsty or dirty as we do in summer, we forget. Wash hands after a handshake, touching a turnstile, or using the ATM. Definitely wash before eating or touching your face.

2. Meditate

When we’re stressed, our immunity is compromised and those viruses and bugs can run wild. Keeping up a practice of meditation calms our stress. It’s been proven that meditation can also help to reduce symptoms if you’re already sick.

3. Take Vitamin C + D

Whether or not you believe studies; both Vitamin C and D in a recommended daily dose of 500-1000 mg may just help your body’s immunity. Especially if you’re deficient in either one. It’s worth trying, right. Just remember to take D3 not D2.

4. Wear a scarf

Studies show that keeping your nose warm is effective at keeping your immune system happy. Cold viruses spread in the cold. Your nose is the superhighway to your sinuses. Wrap a scarf around your face and keep that schnoz happy.

5. Sleep more

Once the days start getting shorter our body relies on sleep to boost it’s reserves of melatonin and other stress relieving hormones. Sneak into bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time. Can you train yourself to sleep at least 8 hours or more each night?

6. Stay warm

Doh. No really. The more constant we keep our body temperature the easier it will be to fight off any infections. Cold air at night is no bueno. Keep the window closed. In Victorian times it was considered healthy to have fresh air at all times even if it was freezing out. Turns out all it does is increase your chance of getting sick.

7. Exercise

You don’t have to start training for a marathon, but walking, especially brisk walking is a great way to burn off stress and keep moving during the long winter months. Snowed in? Try a dance or workout class at home.

8. Hydrate

Drinking enough water is always a good idea, but in winter we need it just as much as we do in the summer. Plus it helps flush out the bad stuff.

9. Eat. Good. Stuff

Now’s the time to take a step back from eating on the go or forgetting to eat our 5 a day. Boost your immunity with fresh fruits and veg. No time for prep? Juice or smoothie your way to fruit or green goodness.

10. Probiotics

Your gut is the frontline to keeping your immune system healthy. 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Take a probiotic supplement or a drink like Yakult every day, preferably before eating a meal. Kefir, kombucha and anything pickled will work too.

11. Elderberry

This magical little berry not only boosts your immune system but it also helps to fight symptoms if you do get sick. Elderberry syrup is the bomb if you have a sore or scratchy throat. Plus it’s full of Vitamin C.

12. Olive Leaf or Oil of Oregano

Using one of these powerful anti-bacterials can help you keep well. If you feel you’ve been exposed to a bug; use either one as directed, for a short term dose of prevention. Not recommended for long term use or massive dosing.

13. Wipes

Traveling or using public transportation a lot? Take a handy pack of disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces around you. The tray table, armrest, seat buckle and even air vent. Your seat mates may look at you like you’re weird, but believe me they’re probably wishing they’d thought of it too.

14. Gargle

Gargle with warm water and sea salt. Use a tsp of salt to 8 oz of water and gargle and spit til it’s gone. Sea salt is a natural anti-inflammatory and there’s nothing better to soothe a dry irritated throat and sinuses.

15. Laugh

I can’t think of a better stress reducer than laughter. Less stress equals more wellness. Watch a favorite movie; something sweet, silly or dumb. Elf or Love Actually will do. Anything that gets you laughing from the bottom of your belly is good medicine.

16. Eat Your Garlic

Uh huh. Yup garlic not only makes our breath stink it boosts our immune system. Be sure to crush or smash whole garlic to get all of the goodness that comes from it’s health giving compound Allicin. Hint. Add it to your chicken soup, just don’t overcook it.