Stay healthy this winter with ease!
It’s that time of year. Shutter your windows and load up on gallons of hand sanitizer: the dreaded winter plague has arrived. With public spaces filled with a chorus of flemmy sounding coughs and the number of healthy coworkers in the office dwindling, not succumbing to the winter plague seems inevitable. Well, even without the constitution equivalent of a suit of armor, there are dozens of ways to reduce the chances of catching the numerous bugs and the annual flu, if not eliminate the possibility altogether. From smarter ways to keep germ-free to little things that can boost your overall health, we’re sharing our tips on how you can stay healthy and avoid cold & flu season.
Get fresh air
Cold and flu-causing germs thrive in the cold, dry air and therefore spread far easier. This is why these illnesses flair up in the winter months and not during the warm, humid summer. However, one of the many reasons why sickness spreads so quickly this time of year isn’t because of germs that are effortlessly floating through the cold air outside. It’s really because people aren’t outside as often. Think about it: with so many people cooped up because of the cold weather, the air indoors can get a little too stuffy. With so many people breathing in the same confined spaces, not to mention touching all of the same surfaces, indoor air can get contaminated very quickly.
This is why it’s important to set some time aside everyday to be outside. The age old saying stays true: fresh air is good for you! Taking a brisk walk and soaking up what little vitamin D the sun can give in the winter won’t only be a welcome break in the day, but will give you clean, fresh air that will purify and boost your health. Bundle up and spend just 20 minutes outside. No matter how cold it is, this will definitely do you some good.
Get a humidifier
This simple home device will be your savior. Dry skin, stuffy noses, and tight chests can all be alleviated with a humidifier. Dry air is one thing, but things are made significantly worse when the temperature drops. The combination of the two means not only will it be easier for you to get sick, but, if you do get sick, you’ll have a harder time fighting off the killer symptoms of a cold.
There are many health benefits to having a humidifier in spots around your house. Using a humidifier, especially when sick, will make you feel years better as it can alleviate symptoms if not prevent them. Humidifiers are perfect in any spot of the home, but we recommend putting them near heaters or air vents or in rooms with fireplaces as the heat coming out of those spots is super drying. We especially love setting up humidifiers bedside. This way, you can sleep and breathe with ease.
Eat & drink well
We wrote about the sustainable and eco-friendly benefits of eating seasonally, but eating in-season winter produce also has its health benefits! Potatoes, broccoli, pomegranates, pears, leafy greens, and more are all in-season winter produce. But, our favorite winter produce is citrus. Vitamin C packed fruits such as lemons and oranges aren’t only in peak season during this time of year but will help ward off illnesses, too. We suggest drinking a cup of hot water with lemon and honey each morning to kickstart your immune system. If you are sick, adding lemon to chicken soup is a smart way to bolster more immune-fighting goodness. Oh, and don’t forget to drink a big glass of orange juice at breakfast, too!
Other ways to maximize winter produce is by roasting up some potatoes, onions, carrots, and more in-season vegetables with dinner or to snack on a clementine instead of a bag of chips. Eating hearty and healthy meals is key to avoid getting sick. Winter produce is packed full of healthy vitamin and nutrients that all ward off illness. Maybe that’s why those fruits and vegetables are in season during a time when illness is rampant— Mother Nature sure is smart that way! Ultimately, when you eat well, you feel well!
As we mentioned earlier, things indoors get more germy this time of year. When people are sick, everything they touch is pretty much contaminated. Grocery store shopping cart handles and subway poles are always associated with being germy based on how many different people touch them on a given day, but think about other things. From the breakroom countertop at work to your TV remote at home, things that you wouldn’t normally worry about become breeding grounds for germs when more people are sick or are carrying around bacteria that will cause illness. We recommend using an all-natural, DIY cleaner!
You should take the extra effort to keep things clean. The second you arrive home, you should head to a sink and wash your hands, or keep hand sanitizer by your door. This will help you not carry and spread germs around your home. Speaking of hand sanitizer, you should also keep some at your office desk and in your daily-use bag or briefcase.
You should also wipe down your office desk with bacteria-killing wipes at least once a week and you should also be sure to wash your hands or wipe down objects that might have touched a germy surface. We love having a travel-sized spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol to spritz and sanitize our cell phones with for this reason. When it comes to general, all-purpose cleaning, we suggest using DIY, eco-friendly cleaners that kill germs, are cost-efficient, and won’t harm the environment.
We all know the benefits of keeping fit, but these benefits are even more so during cold and flu season. If you are a person who works out regularly and has an intense fitness regimen, stick with it! In the winter it can be easy to feel more lazy and want to hibernate. Yet, working out and staying with your regular schedule will help keep you healthy.
Even if you don’t work out regularly, walking the recommended 10,000 steps a day and stretching daily will have serious benefits. Investing in a FitBit, Apple Watch, or any other smart fitness watch can be a great way to stay on top of your health and progress. Of course, if you are feeling sick, don’t push yourself! Avoid fitness if your body is weak. But if you have a clean bill of health, now is not the time to be lax about your physical fitness.
If you have went outside and were freezing in seconds, it might not be the ultra-cold temps, but how poorly you could have been dressed. Dressing for the cold weather is crucial to keeping healthy. Being cold worsens the many of the symptoms of illness. When you are sick, your body already has a hard enough time regulating your internal temperature (we all have had sick days filled hot flashes followed by chills!) so don’t make matters worse for yourself by not dressing for the weather.
Even with a coat, a hat, and gloves on, your winter apparel might not be good enough. Many coats, hats, and gloves are too thin to block out regular winter temps. We suggest buying a highly-reviewed and heavy-duty winter coat, thick hats and gloves, and even investing in thick, warm socks to replace your regular, thinner ones during the winter. For this reason, we even recommend buying winter boots half a size up. This cold and flu season, keep this cheeky saying top of mind: there is no bad weather, only bad outfit choices!
When it comes to cold and flu season, you don’t have to live your life in a bubble to avoid it. That being said, there are really simple ways that you would be daft not to partake in that reduce the chances of getting sick. Sometimes, getting sick is inevitable, no matter how hard you try, but you should always strive to be as healthy as possible, even out of sickness-season. Keep those hands washed, hats on, and bellies full this season, and fight on!