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- Written by Rebekah. C
Staying healthy during the winter months isn’t always easy.
When the weather’s cold and the skies are bleak, you usually want to spend most of your time on the sofa, not enjoying long hikes or visiting the gym. It’s even easier to overlook healthy activities when you’re feeling disconnected from the people who would usually motivate you to stay active.
With lockdowns back in place during Australia (at the time of writing), you might feel a little lost or demotivated. However, allowing your self-care routine to dwindle during the colder months could put you at risk. That’s why we’re sharing some helpful tips on how to stay healthy during winter – even with the extra stress of lockdown to think about.
During lockdown, the chances are you’ll be working, and playing from home. This means that you’re constantly close to the fridge, pantry, and other sources of food. During the colder months, we’re naturally more likely to seek out comfort foods and eat bigger meals.
Why? Because our bodies say we need extra energy to manage the cold.
However, the reality is that you’ll be spending more time indoors, and less time moving around outside. Depending on what comfort food you choose, it could leave you feeling sluggish and less inclined to feel motivated.
For your regular meals, try planning recipes in advance. Stick to:
· Plenty of protein and fibre to keep you feeling full and give you a nice energy boost
· Fruits and vegetables to give you extra minerals and vitamins for good health
· Small (healthy) snacks like granola, dried fruit, or a handful of nuts and seeds
Don’t forget, part of good nutrition is also ensuring you get plenty of water. Around 6 to 8 full glasses of water a day will help your body to function better at any time of year. Struggling to sip on cold water? Replace it with a warming herbal tea, yum!
We’re all looking for ways to bring a bit of excitement and fun into our schedules these days. So, why not have a little fun with your healthy routine?
Invite your friends and family to join you for a “virtual” dinner party, where you can all try cooking the same healthy meal together, while still staying in your separate homes. You can set up a laptop or screen on the dining table so you can chat with your pals while you eat too.
Alternatively, experiment with ways to bring your immediate family together for healthy activities. For instance, you could use an app to randomly choose healthy meals for you and your kids to make together once per week. Or why not challenge your kids to find the best meals to make with a certain set of ingredients?
Part of staying healthy in winter is making sure you don’t burn out. Around 69% of employees experienced burnout when working from home during 2020. The reason for this is simple enough – we don’t know how to separate our work and home lives, when we’re working outside of the office.
If you’re trying to balance your career from home, try creating a schedule to help you get the mix right. You can choose times you’re going to start working each day, and when you’re going to sign off, to avoid going “over the top” with your work routine.
During the day, make sure you take plenty of breaks to refresh your mind and body. Sitting in front of a computer screen for hours at a time can be draining. Focus on getting up and walking around every so often if you need to. Do ten minutes of yoga at lunch, take a jog around your garden, or put on your favourite music and have a little dance!
If you can, why not invite kids and other members of the family at home with you to share your breaks?
You might not be able to go to the gym right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit and physically healthy. Look for ways to exercise more often from the comfort of your own home. For instance, you could use YouTube videos to get fit during your lunch break, with great workouts to keep you moving, build strength and keep your cardiovascular endurance levels high.
If you’ve got time to go for a brief walk in your local area, and the restrictions allow for it, take your kids on a stroll during your lunch to soak up some scenery. Studies show that being outdoors can improve our mental health and happiness.
What’s more, during the winter, you’ll be relying on time spent outdoors to give you a crucial dose of Vitamin D –essential to improving your immune system. A brief session outside could even make you feel less isolated when you’re usually locked in the house.
The chances are you’ll be doing a decent amount of “ordering in” for your meals, particularly during hectic days. If you’re planning on using Uber Eats to save some time, try looking for healthier meals. Sushi rolls and sashimi from your favourite Japanese could be a great option. Why not consider Vietnamese pho soups for some extra warmth or a fresh vermicelli salad?
Think about the extras you add onto your meal too. Stay away from too much caffeine, as this can end up disrupting your sleep patterns. Excess sugar can also pile up and have an influence on your overall health.
For late-night meals, try to avoid the temptation to order alcohol (or drink it). Ultimately, alcohol might seem like a good idea when you feel stressed, but it can often harm your sleeping patterns and lead to more problems long-term.
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