Beating the Winter Blues with Immunity Boosting Tips
The winter season can be difficult for many people, with the weather getting colder and the lack of light. Respiratory and flu-like illnesses are more common, and the lack of direct sunlight can affect appetite, mood and even motivation. This is known as the "winter blues". There are many things you can do to help yourself feel good this winter, and we suggest you encourage your friends, family and teammates to do the same. Check out our tips for chasing away the winter blues.
Eat your vegetables
Food is your body's fuel, and what you eat can affect how you feel. Remember that famous phrase, "You are what you eat"? Well, there you go. It's easy to fall off the wagon during the colder months because sometimes overeating can stimulate the pleasure center of the brain. To avoid this, it's important to eat regular, balanced meals that include seasonal vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats* to boost your mood and energy. Simple changes, such as replacing an unhealthy snack with fruit or adding a serving of vegetables to your lunch, are a good place to start.
It's especially important to boost the immune system in the winter, as we spend more time indoors and are therefore more exposed to all kinds of diseases. In addition to a good diet (fresh fruit and leafy greens), you can rely on certain supplements to keep your immune system strong.
Take your vitaminsMaintaining proper nutrient levels is essential, and reducing your intake of these nutrients in the winter can be especially harmful. If your body isn't getting the vitamins and nutrients it needs, your mood and energy could be affected. You can take vitamins to help fill in the nutritional gaps, especially if you have trouble eating full, balanced meals on a regular basis.
Wondering where to start? First, make sure you're getting enough of these essential vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D, Omega-3, and Vitamin B-6, which has a direct effect on the body's immune response*.
Increase your motivation
Did you know that short bursts of moderate exercise - even a simple 20-30 minute walk - can have a positive impact on the body's immune function? We all know that when we're feeling blue, moving is the last thing we want to do, but regular movement and exercise can help reduce stress, improve mood and increase energy levels. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all exercise routine, so focus on an activity that feels good and that you know you can sustain over time.
Take care of yourself and get out there
Take time for yourself, prioritize the things (and people) that make you feel good, that make you look good, and that keep you motivated during those short, dark winter days.
Get outside often, especially on the sunniest days, as the winter blues can be linked to a lack of sunlight and reduced exposure to UV rays. It may be cold, but it's definitely worth it. Dress warmly, get outside and enjoy the sunlight and fresh air. You may notice that your energy level increases, your stress decreases and you sleep better. Which brings us to our final tip for beating the winter blues...
Get enough sleep
If you get more sleep than usual during the winter months, you're probably not alone. You may know that getting adequate hours of sleep is important, but did you know that many aspects of well-being depend on it? By prioritizing your sleep schedule, your mind and body will have plenty of time to rest and recover. Too much or too little sleep can also exacerbate your irritability and make it difficult to think and concentrate. What is the ideal amount of sleep? We recommend getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep* and going to bed at about the same time each night. Consistency is key, as disrupting your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) with too much sleep can have a negative effect on your mood by promoting the overproduction of melatonin. Ideally, your sleep schedule in the winter should be the same as in the summer.
The key to surviving the winter blues is to start slowly. Don't feel like you have to do everything at once, but motivating yourself and pushing yourself to make an effort, even if you don't feel like it, will make all the difference. You've reached the end of this article, haven't you? It's those first steps that can help build momentum and help you feel better this winter.
*These are general guidelines. We recommend that you consult your doctor before taking any supplements or changing your usual routine in any way.
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