Wintertime can devastate your health and your appearance. The combination of dry indoor air and howling winds make a mess of your skin and hair, and cold and flu season can leave you feeling like a semi has hit you.
What can you do to look and feel your best as you survive the cold season? Try the following five tips to improve your overall well-being.
1. Improve Your Diet
You might think, “Well, I am wearing more clothes, anyway. Who cares if I hit the drive-thru once too often?” While you might not notice minor weight gain when you’re layered, you’ll feel your energy and health lagging if you continuously cave to junk food cravings. During cold and flu season, it pays to improve your diet.
Foods high in vitamin C are critical for immunity, so stock up on bell peppers and citrus fruits at the grocers. Nuts and seeds contain high levels of magnesium, a crucial nutrient for neurological health — they can help lift the winter blues. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a hot bowl of soup — opt for varieties rich in vegetables in every hue. A mix of colors ensures you’re getting the phytonutrients you need.
2. Keep Moving
Fortunately, cold weather works similarly to ice when it comes to treating aches and pains. It causes swollen veins to shrink, resulting in fewer leg cramps.
However, don’t let this fact become a reason to stay buried under blankets on your couch. Exercise keeps your blood circulating to vital organs. Working out may flush bacteria from your lungs, helping you prevent severe infections. Plus, you’ll stave off weight gain and feel more confident when swimsuit season arrives.
3. Heal Chapped Lips and Skin Naturally
Does your skin get ashy and dry in the winter? Perhaps you develop cracks in your heels and elbows. You can soothe dry winter skin with coconut oil, which has a variety of uses. You can even use it as a shaving cream — it won’t run off in the water the way soap does.
Maybe you develop painful cracks at the corners of your lips. This condition doesn’t occur from chapping, but rather a fungal infection called angular cheilitis. You can treat this condition with honey, which is a natural antifungal agent.
4. Protect Your Hair and Nails
When you take off your hat, does your hair erupt in an Einstein-like display of static? You can tame flyaway frizzies with the help of argan oil, a natural emollient.
If you develop painful peeling skin around your fingernails, you can remedy this condition using a combination of coconut oil and rosewood or lavender essential oil. Slather the mixture on before you don your gloves and let the magic work.
5. Overcome the Winter Blues
The best way to overcome seasonal depression is with exposure to light. Some research indicates that supplementation with vitamin D may also ease this condition. It makes sense — exposure to sunlight helps your body produce the nutrient naturally. However, in the winter, short days mean you see little of the sun.
Consider investing in a specially designed lamp intended to mimic the sun’s rays. Mindfulness meditation can also help remind you that this, too, shall pass, and spring will return to the Earth. If all else fails, contact your health care provider. A combination of medicine and talk therapy can help you feel better.
Stay Healthy and Glowing All Winter Long
You don’t have to let your body — or your mind — suffer a seasonal slump. Follow a few simple tips to enjoy your maximum well-being despite short days and freezing temps.