Keeping up with our wellness routine can seem more difficult in winter. The colder dark days can be more challenging when it comes to getting outdoors, and it can feel trickier to navigate both physical and mental health. The good news is that, with a few simple strategies, you can take care of yourself and thrive during the winter months.

One of the most important things you can do to stay well during the winter is to get enough exercise. While it may be tempting to curl up on the couch, regular physical activity is essential for both physical and mental well-being. The general recommendation to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, five days a week, is what to aim for, weather permitting. If getting outdoors isn’t an option, consider joining a gym or enrolling in fitness classes. There are indoor options for tennis and pickleball. There is also a wealth of options available online, and many of these are free. Be open to trying new things – there are more options now than ever.

Another key aspect of winter wellness is getting enough sunlight. During the winter, the days are shorter, and the sun rises and sets earlier, which can disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycle and lead to feelings of fatigue and even sadness. To prevent this, try to spend some time outside during the day, even if it’s just for a short walk. If you can’t get outside, bring as much natural light indoors as possible or consider using a light box to simulate sunlight indoors. If you are experience ongoing sadness and fatigue, or a lack of interest in things you normally enjoy, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

A healthy diet is also essential for wellness in winter. Colder weather can make us crave heavier, comfort foods, such as pasta, bread, and sugary treats, but these foods can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Instead, make the effort to maintain your focus on eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Getting enough sleep is important for a variety of physical and mental functions, including the consolidation of memories and the regulation of mood. It helps to maintain physical health by supporting the immune system and helping to repair and rejuvenate the body’s tissues. Additionally, sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of many of the body’s systems, including the nervous, muscular, and endocrine systems. Inadequate sleep has been linked to a number of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. The general recommendation is seven to nine hours for most healthy adults. Experiment to find what works best for you and do your best to stick to that.

Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself. Winter can be a busy time, with holidays and other events, but it’s always important to make time for activities that you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music or getting together with family or friends.

Overall, wellness in winter is about balance and taking care of yourself. By getting enough exercise, sunlight, sleep, and healthy food, and making time to enjoy life, you can stay well all year round.

Categories: Wellness