Posted on: 01 December 2021
Look after yourself and others with these five tips to protect your health this winter.
1. Beat the flu
As well as COVID-19, we are still exposed to all the usual seasonal illnesses like colds, flu, and stomach bugs. It’s even more important this year that we stay vigilant and keep up with measures like regular handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing.
Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses.
2. Get enough daylight
Lack of exposure to sunlight in the winter means that many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can have a significant negative impact on sleep and mood, as well as appetite and energy levels for things like exercise.
If you feel low in winter, get outside as often as you can, especially on bright days. Going for a walk every day will help maximise your exposure to daylight and it’s a good way to get some gentle exercise. Even sitting by a window can help in the short term.
3. Look after your skin
Constant handwashing and using alcohol gel, combined with cold weather, can leave your hands feeling dry and painful. To avoid this, try switching to a moisturising soap for the winter and slather on hand cream several times a day.
4. Sleep schedule
Experiencing less daylight can mess with our sleep cycle, leaving us feeling tired and sluggish. Try to expose yourself to as much light as possible in the morning – this will tell your body clock that it’s the right time to be awake. This will also translate into an easier time falling asleep at night, and more refreshing, restorative rest.
If you’re struggling to get up in the mornings, have your dressing gown and slippers ready by the bed to make getting up less painful. You can also put your clothes on the radiator overnight, so they are nice and warm when you put them on.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy. However, the lack of sunlight between October and March means many of us develop a shortage of this essential nutrient, normally produced via exposure to sunlight.
The NHS says during winter we should aim to regularly eat vitamin D-rich foods such as eggs, meat and oily fish to top up our levels. You could also consider taking supplements during winter months – ten micrograms is the daily dose recommended for adults.