Your Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Wellness

November 23, 2022

Mountaineer News

Wellness Wednesday's

It’s common for people’s routines to change during the colder months. The cold weather makes it harder to get outside, holidays disrupt your schedule and add stress, and the shorter days can put a damper on your mood. Together, these things have the potential to impact your overall health and wellness.


In order to remain happy and healthy all season long, you’ll want to shift your wellness regimens to account for the upcoming winter-related changes. Not sure where to start? Use this guide for head-to-toe winter wellness.


Skin and hair

Winter is known for wreaking havoc on your skin and hair, largely because of the lack of moisture in the air. If the outside air is cold and dry, your strands might succumb to frizziness and even damage from the cold or the wind. And, with the furnace turned up high inside, that air is likely to be dry, as well, sucking the moisture from your hair and your skin.


Moisturizing products are key to keeping your hair and skin nourished and healthy. For your skin, invest in a quality moisturizer with ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil—and that does not have ingredients like alcohol, which can be drying. Don’t forget to exfoliate before moisturizing and protect yourself with sunscreen, too! Placing a humidifier in your home can also improve the moisture levels and keep skin hydrated.


For your hair, use deep conditioning treatments and hair masks weekly to infuse your strands with moisture, and use a daily hair oil to lock it in. Cut back on using hot tools and hair dye, which can dry out your hair, and protect your scalp and hair with a loose winter hat.


Finally, make sure you’re drinking lots of water! Hydrating isn’t only important in the summer months. Drinking water can help keep your skin and hair healthy, as well as provide other benefits for your body and brain.


Immunity

The cold months are known for the cold and flu season. Viruses are around more in colder weather and have an easier time infecting people when everyone is cooped up inside. Plus, cold-related wellness changes and stress can hamper your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.


In order to stave off cold weather bugs, you’ll want to take every step to bolster your immunity through natural means. Load up on all your necessary nutrients, especially vitamin C and D! Antioxidants are necessary to keep your body healthy. Cut back on refined sugars and other unhealthy foods, as well as alcohol.


Equally as important are lifestyle choices, including regular exercise, stress relief and good sleep. Without each of these things, your body will be in a weakened state that’s more vulnerable to illness!


Fitness

Exercise is all too easy to ignore during the cold months. After all, running through snow and frigid air is not nearly as tempting as hiking under the sun! However, maintaining an exercise routine is very important to keep you strong, happy and healthy all winter long.


Make a plan for cold weather exercise, including a list of activities you can do inside or at the gym. Swimming is a great winter alternative, especially for people with arthritis who might be experiencing weather-related joint pain.


Running on indoor tracks, lifting weights and doing yoga or body weight exercises at home are all great options, too. Even something as simple as a midday walk in the sunshine can have its benefits, including helping you feel happier and more awake.


Mental wellness

Mental health challenges are extremely common during the cold months. Some people will experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that occurs during the fall and winter. Fatigue, depression, irritability and insomnia are all common symptoms of this frustrating condition.


Others might not experience SAD, specifically, but might still succumb to mood changes and feelings of sluggishness and exhaustion. These problems might be related to the lack of serotonin because of reduced sunlight, as well as increased melatonin production.


No matter the underlying problem, taking care of your mental health is very important! If you’re prone to SAD, talk to your doctor about potential solutions, including light therapy, counseling or antidepressant medication. If you think you just have a case of the average cold weather blues, prioritize self-care to infuse joy into your daily life, stock up on vitamin D3 supplements, exercise regularly and make sure to get enough sleep.


Healthy habits keep you well through the cold months

Most wellness tips aren’t good for just one thing. They’re part of a holistic strategy to keep your entire body healthy!


Sleeping isn’t just for rest. It also provides great recovery from exercise, bolsters your immunity and improves memory and focus. Healthy foods provide the full range of nutrients you need to keep all your bodily systems in check. And exercise not only helps you stay strong but also relieves stress and minimizes aches, pains and injuries common in winter.


Aim to create your own holistic wellness plan during these cold months to push through the season with ease!