By: Guest Author
Published: November 13, 2019
Written by Brooke Faulkner – Guest Contributor
The winter brings many health challenges, from avoiding the flu to staying healthy while cooped up indoors. With a little preparation, though, you can maximize your health and overall wellbeing all winter long. Try these six tips to achieve winter wellness, even when the weather is keeping you inside.
Prioritize Diet and Exercise
When the temperatures outside are below freezing and the snow is flying, it’s easy to want to indulge in comfort food and just spend the day curled up on the couch. Unfortunately, not only is that bad for your physical health, it can affect your mental acuity, too.
Loss of mental acuity, also called cognitive decline, is loss of the ability to promptly reason, focus, and remember information. With declining mental acuity, it’s more difficult to navigate the world safely. This change in mental acuity is often associated with age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s.
Your diet and activity levels are closely linked to your mental acuity, so make some changes in your diet and exercise to stay mentally sharp through the winter and all year long. Avoid red meats and foods with excess added sugars, but increase the fruits and vegetables that have healthy fats, such as nuts and olives.
Exercise may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s, so try to incorporate some daily exercise even if it’s a quick walk around the neighborhood or a yoga session in your home. Mental exercise, like playing an instrument or knitting, are also important in keeping you mentally sharp.
Prepare for Emergencies
When temperatures are harsh during the winter, a loss of power at home or breakdown in your car could put your health at risk. Prepare for potential winter emergencies by making an emergency kit, and keep one in your car and one in your home. Include items like:
● Hand warmers
● Hat and gloves
Add in any other items you might need in an emergency until help arrives.
Be sure to plan out what you would do in an emergency, such as if a storm takes out the power to your home and you can’t leave on your own. Think about how you would alert others that you need help and whether you would go to an emergency shelter or to a friend’s or relative’s house.
Maximize Your Home’s Safety
Focus on making your home as safe as possible to help keep you safe this winter, too. If you live alone, consider safety tips like using a medical alert system to summon help in case you are injured and can’t call for help, yourself.
Before winter arrives, make sure your home is fire-safe. Check all of the batteries in your smoke detectors and check to see that your fire extinguishers are charged and easily accessible. Have your home’s heating system cleaned and maintained to reduce the chance of fire.
Because winter means that it gets dark earlier, burglars may see your home as an easier target since they can hide in the shadows more easily. Consider having an outdoor security camera system installed around your home to quickly alert you to an intruder.
Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
To prepare for the health implications of aging and get ready for winter health challenges, try to schedule a doctor’s appointment in the fall to check in with your primary care physician. This is a good time to discuss any current health concerns, as well as to discuss whether your doctor recommends that you receive a flu shot.
Plan for Dry Skin
Dry skin is a common health issue during the winter, so take some steps to prepare for and prevent dry skin. Try to avoid using harsh soaps or detergents, and get in the habit of moisturizing your hands multiple times a day.
You can also use a humidifier to increase the moisture content in your home’s air. Drink plenty of water, also, to keep yourself well-hydrated. Protect your hands with gloves whenever you have to go outdoors. If your dry skin gets so irritated that home treatment methods don’t work, schedule an appointment with your doctor, who may prescribe an ointment or cream to help.
Focus on Your Mood, Too
Long, grey, cold days can take a toll on your mental health and energy, so use a few strategies to beat the winter blahs. Try incorporating some bright colors into your decor to liven up your home and keep you energized. You can paint an accent wall a bold color, introduce colored curtains, or pick up some colorful artwork to revitalize a room.
Be sure to incorporate some social activities, too. It’s easy to become isolated during the winter, so make plans to prevent that, like meeting friends for an event, having family over to visit, or meeting with neighbors for a game night. Make a schedule so that you stay connected with others during the winter.
Remember that winter won’t last forever, and spring will be here soon. By focusing on your winter wellness, you’ll be ready to get out and enjoy the great spring weather as soon as it arrives.
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and animal lover from Portland, Oregon.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.