At Hope Health Advocacy, we recognize the importance of sustainable wellness in addition to patient advocacy. As the weather gets colder, it is important to take proactive steps in order to have a stress-free winter. We recommend staying active, increasing your light intake, adding supplements, stocking up on cold & flu items, and washing hands.
As the temperatures drop, it’s harder to stay motivated to maintain our summer fitness levels. Let’s face it, we would all rather snuggle under a blanket than head to the gym. However, you don’t have to sacrifice much to keep your body moving. Some easy ways to get activity in are hiking (hello, fall foliage!), taking short walks around the neighborhood, or taking a few extra laps around the mall while doing some early holiday shopping. Not only is movement good for your physical health, but it has many benefits for your mental health as well! Even gentle movement releases endorphins and serotonin, boosting your mood. This is extremely important in the fall as the days get shorter and we aren’t exposed to as much light.
Increase Your Light Intake
Speaking of light, increasing your light intake can have drastic effects on your mood. This can be as easy as spending a few moments outside before or after work to bask in the sunlight. In areas that don’t get much sun (like Pittsburgh!), consider investing in a mood lamp/light therapy box. These extremely bright lights mimic the sun and make our bodies produce more melatonin, a chemical responsible for sleep. Some folks don’t produce enough when the sun isn’t out as often, leading to mood, appetite, and sleep problems. Sitting in front of a mood lamp every day for even 20 minutes has been shown to decrease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Consider Adding Supplements
Just as winter can decrease our melatonin levels, it can also decrease the levels of other vital nutrients. The most commonly needed vitamins during this season are vitamins B, C, D, E, and iron. What benefits can each of these provide?
B- Helps maintain cell health, boosts your immunity and mood
C- Strengthens the immune system
D- Promotes bone and tissue health, helps with mood
E- Helps prevent skin from drying out and flaking
Iron- Helps regulate body temperature, prevents fatigue
Although supplements can be a great addition to your fall and winter routines, know that all supplements are not created equally. Look for brands that have been thoroughly researched and recommended by doctors and pharmacists. In addition, it is important to check with your doctor before adding any supplements, as they can potentially interact with medications or other health issues.
Stock Up On Items For Cold & Flu Season
We all know that illnesses can strike out of the blue. There’s nothing worse than waking up with a full-blown cold and realizing you’re out of cold medicine. Be proactive and take a trip to the drugstore before anyone in your family gets sick. Stock up on the basics: acetaminophen, vitamin C, cough medicine, decongestants, etc. and be sure to have comfort items on hand: a heating pad, soothing teas, soup, VapoRub, etc. Having the essentials on hand makes feeling sick a lot easier.
Remember To Wash Your Hands
Now that Covid-19 isn’t as much of an issue to the majority of people, we may have forgotten the importance of washing hands. It’s the easiest way to prevent the spread of illness during cold and flu season. Make sure to use warm water, an antibacterial soap, and wash for at least 30 seconds. Have trouble remembering how long to wash for? 2 run-throughs of the alphabet will take you to about the 30 second mark and make the time go by faster.
The transition from summer into winter can be tough for many folks and we hope that these tips help ease the burden for a stress-free holiday season. Remember to always consult a healthcare professional before adding supplements or starting a new exercise plan. Not all advice is applicable to every person and HHA wants to ensure the best possible health outcomes for every individual.
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