Winter Wellness: Expert Tips for a Healthy and Happy Season

Featured & Cover Experts assemble winter health tips

As the days grow colder and shorter, and the New Year’s resolution deadline looms, it’s the perfect time to focus on staying healthy this winter. We’ve gathered insights from experts, offering a mix of conventional and unique tips to keep you in top shape, from lip care to winter-friendly yoga.

  1. Protect Your Pout

The winter chill can wreak havoc on your lips, the thinnest skin on your body. Dermatologist Sarvenaz Zand recommends choosing petroleum-based balms with minimal ingredients or opting for those with beeswax and shea butter. While sunscreen-infused lip balms are great for summer, skip them in winter to avoid irritating sensitive lips. Zand suggests applying lip balm twice daily and, for severe chapping, trying an over-the-counter ointment with hydrocortisone.

“For those who prefer to avoid petroleum, I love the ones with beeswax and shea butter,” says Sarvenaz Zand, a dermatologist in Mill Valley, Calif. “Remember to use your lip balm twice a day.”

  1. Prioritize Social Connection

Amid the lingering threat of the coronavirus and year-end responsibilities, it’s essential to resist isolation for the sake of your heart and brain health. Consider organizing potlucks, starting a book club, or simply spending time outdoors with friends. Psychologist Tamar Mendelson emphasizes the importance of reaching out to those facing holiday blues, especially adolescents experiencing increased depression and anxiety. Acts of altruism not only benefit others but can also enhance your own well-being.

“Altruism won’t just help your targets; a growing body of research suggests it can make you happier and maybe even healthier as well.”

  1. Embrace Snowga

Combat winter lethargy by embracing “snowga” – yoga in the snow. While unconventional, this activity offers a unique way to stay active during the colder months. Dress warmly in full snow gear, including gloves, scarves, and boots, and avoid pushing your limits in the cold. Remember to incorporate indoor stretching after your snowga session to keep your body flexible.

“You don’t want to do this barefoot. Skip the thin leggings for your full snow regalia, with gloves, scarves, and boots.”

  1. Pamper Your Pet and Dust Off Allergies

Winter can make furry pets dust magnets, so veterinarians recommend washing them at least once a month. To minimize indoor allergies and asthma risks, conduct a dust inventory, change HVAC filters, and wash bedding weekly in hot water. Additionally, consider using special mite-proof cases for pillows. Maintaining a clean living environment contributes to overall health and well-being.

“Furry pets are dust magnets. In the winter, they may also track in snow and mud.”

 

  1. Savor the Moment with Mindful Moments

Practice “hygge” by indulging in mindful moments, such as a hot-chocolate meditation. Take 20 minutes to enjoy a warm beverage, focusing on its aroma and taste. Mindfulness teachers suggest imagining the experience if actual consumption is not appealing. Hydration is crucial during winter, so be sure to drink enough water and consider using a humidifier to maintain skin and respiratory health in dry indoor environments.

“If you want to go full-tilt hygge, cocoon your way into a pair of flannel PJs and slippers and settle down for a hot-chocolate meditation.”

  1. Stay Healthy, Keep Germs at Bay

Guard against winter ailments by getting a flu shot and maintaining good hand hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a handy online demonstration on proper handwashing techniques. Moisturize after washing to prevent dry, cracked skin. Ensure adequate vitamin D intake through diet or supplements, as it plays a crucial role in fighting infections. Consult your doctor before adding curcumin, found in turmeric, to your winter immune-boosting regimen.

“Remember, of course, to apply moisturizer after you wash. Dry, cracked skin makes it easier for germs to get inside your body.”

  1. Prioritize Winter Footwear Safety

Take precautions to avoid falls, particularly for those over 65, as winter increases the risk of slips and falls. Choose footwear with rubber soles, waterproofing, and insulation. Consider slip-on cleats for snowy days, ensuring your footwear accommodates thick socks. If fashion-forward footwear is a must, bring them in a bag and change upon reaching your destination to minimize the risk of falls.

“The CDC warns that millions of people over 65, in particular, fall every year, with risks that rise significantly in winter.”

These expert tips cover a spectrum of winter wellness strategies to help you navigate the season with health and happiness. From caring for your lips to embracing unique winter activities and maintaining social connections, these practices aim to make your winter a season of well-being.

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