Healthy Habits

Embrace Rather than Endure

Content Provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

When the “weather outside is frightful,” it can be difficult to find the motivation to get moving and exercise outside. The benefits of getting fresh air by being outside are also reduced if air quality typically is worse in the winter where you live. These factors tend to persuade people to stay inside for significant periods of time during the winter months and make it difficult, but not impossible, to be healthy during bad weather.

It can be helpful to change your mindset from enduring this season, to embracing it. Find unique ways to have fun during the colder months and be mindful of the things you can control, such as eating a nutrient-dense diet, exercise, sleep, and wearing a mask. Read below for more tips on how to stay active and energized during the cold, winter months.

Exercise at Home

Exercise can boost your mood and help reduce the winter blues. If the weather is bad, get creative with at-home workouts! Use something from around the house as an alternative for dumbbells. Try books, canned food, or water bottles in place of regular weights. Or try some of these at-home workouts that don’t require any equipment. Search online for exercise videos or download a workout app, such as Peloton or SWEAT. Many offer a free trial period, allowing people to test the workouts before committing to any type of subscription. Invite a friend over to provide motivation and support.

Maintain a Sleep Schedule

Your body relies on light exposure to maintain a sleep-wake cycle. During the winter when daylight hours are shorter, many people find themselves struggling to maintain their regular sleep schedule. When this happens, the body’s internal clock is thrown off and can lead to irritability, headaches, drowsiness, and concentration and memory problems. To manage this, try to stay consistent with sleep and wake times, plan ahead, and remove phones, tablets, or other devices from the bedroom. It can take time to adjust, so don’t give up!

Clean Your Personal Environment

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to clean and organize your living spaces. It’s a refreshing way to take control, reduce stress, and gain energy. Organize or decorate your home to create a pleasing and relaxing environment. Separate work from home environments to reduce burnout and promote productivity.

Fast Fact: Did you know 15-20% of the average American’s household budget is spent on buying duplicates of things that were misplaced due to disorganization?

Find Unique Ways to Enjoy the Season

When the weather is bad, it can be difficult to find ways to enjoy the season. Combat the winter blues by starting a new family tradition that takes place in January. Stimulate your mind with puzzles or games, or improve your social interactions by hosting a virtual party. Take time today to identify a few fun things to incorporate in your winter schedule.

Bundle Up and Get Outside

When the weather cooperates, find fun outdoor activities that are specific to the winter months. Tubing, sledding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding are just a few ideas to embrace the colder weather. In areas that don’t experience much snow, visit a local park, try a new activity, or go for a walk with a friend.

Mask Up!

If going outside, don’t forget a mask! There are many different mask options, each with their own pros and cons. The effectiveness of a cloth mask largely depends on its construction – the thicker the material, the better. Some have a pocket for a filter, which can increase filtration efficiency from 35% to 70%. Disposable surgical masks can filter out about 60% of smaller inhaled particles. They are effective for helping protect others if they encounter a carrier of COVID-19. N95 masks offer the most protection and filter out 95% of particles as well as fine particulates present in air pollution. They require a professional fitting to be most effective and are less available to the public. Ultimately, any mask will offer some level of protection.

Don’t let cold weather or poor air quality take away your motivation to be healthy and energized. Choose two or three of the above suggestions to embrace this winter season!

References
https://www.umms.org/coronavirus/what-to-know/masks/mask-types
http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5906272/
https://www.cleanairresources.com/resources/respirator-vs-face-mask-what-s-the-difference
https://www.napo.net/

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