I love the colder months! October with red leaves and pumpkin lattes, and kids dressed as Game of Thrones characters (this is what I’m expecting, anyway); November with bonfires, fireworks and roasted marshmallows (hello cavities!), and December with clean, crisp snow and that giddy excitement that (hopefully) doesn’t go away, no matter how old you get. As winter approaches, it really is the season to be jolly. But what about the serious side of winter? Here are 10 things you shouldn’t forget when going in to the winter months:
1. Stay hydrated
Most of us turn into camels in the summer; whether it’s detoxing our bodies or because we’re sweating like pigs, we tend to drink gallons of water! Drinking water is vital to our body; it makes you feel more energised, helps your skin and stops those nasty headaches. I know personally as the weather gets colder I forget to drink water because it’s cold and I’m already turning blue, but it’s so important to stay hydrated all year round! Winter seems to be a time for colds, flus and bugs and keeping your body hydrated and looked after could be just one step to avoiding this! Not to mention we’re something like 70% water… Speaks for itself really.
2. Layer up
It seems a stupid statement, but when going outside make sure you’re layered up! Especially around your chest area – keeping your body warm, and more specifically your internal organs, is so important. Breathing in cold air, and being constantly cold around your chest, increases the risk of chest infections (and you don’t exactly want to be spluttering all over your Christmas dinner now, do you).
3. Be careful on the roads
Although rain and snow may be pretty, they bring with them dangerous cousins; slippery roads, black ice and distraction. Make sure your car is equipped for the winter by getting winter car tyres, and clean off any rain, ice or snow from ALL windows before driving – even if it means getting up 10 minutes earlier to warm the car up. Be aware of your roads! Find out what roads have been gritted, if there have been any accidents or if there is a particularly dangerous patch of ice around. Listen to traffic reports and look out for local counsel leaflets about this. Finally, stay alert. Snow in particular is a distracting, beautiful thing so much sure your eyes are on the road at all times. Look out for children; they have a tendency to walk idly along the roads when snow is covering them and your brake speed will be different with a lot of ice on the ground – take it slow!
4. Keep active
If you’re anything like me, my intense exercise routine (and by intense I mean like, a really long walk with the dogs) goes out the window when winter comes around. I know it’s so inviting to snuggle up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a movie (by all means do this!) but your body still needs stimulating and looking after, regardless of the cold! Get your thermals on and go for a jog, or grab your dogs and take a nice walk along the canal. Even being out for 20 minutes can lighten your mood and get your blood pumping, which helps to keep warm too. Look after that heart of yours! Especially if, like me, you’ll be drowning it in chocolate soon.
5. Stay safe in the snow
Snow is so much fun, and snowball fights are just awesome. But please pay attention to the little ones (or big ones, fun isn’t just for kids) around you! Picking up lots of snow may hide things like stones, and lobbing stones around is obviously dangerous. Have a little chat with them about checking snow before hand, because no one wants to spend Christmas Eve in A & E. Also, snow ball fights across roads are not ok: it’s distracting for drivers and can lead to a serious accident – make sure everyone is educated on this!
6. Lighten up
Winter is dark and dismal in terms of weather, and that can really affect our mood. Staying indoors with the lights off and curtains closed won’t help though, so when possible try to surround yourself with light! Candles are a brilliant one because they warm up the room as well (just don’t leave them alone), but things like fairy lights and lamps are just as good! Surrounding yourself with light is a simple and effective way to help lift your dark mood in the winter. For those who may suffer with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), you can get specifically designed UV lights for the house (sometimes called SAD lights) which mock the light of the sun – genuinely effective for helping with the disorder.
7. Eat well
Our bodies naturally crave energy in the winter months because they use this to keep warm. We usually crave carbohydrates but make sure you chose them wisely! Fruits, vegetables and enriched whole grains are the best for our bodies around this time as particularly starchy foods can leave us feeling sluggish and blue. Foods such as lentils, peas and spinach contain Vitamin B to help fight the blues, and things like bananas, dairy and peas help produce serotonin (the happy hormone). It sounds silly but eating warm meals as well can be such a help in winter! Warming your body right through and having a full tummy can keep you warm, energised and happy. Be safe!
8. Be aware of the elderly
Have elderly grandparents, friends or neighbours? Make sure to be aware of them in the winter months; many elderly people (especially if left alone) will suffer in silence without heating and this is such a major cause of death in the winter months! Pop round for a cuppa one or twice a week and make sure the house is warm and the cupboards stocked. Maybe you could make up some meals and pop them in the fridge? Little things like this will help anyone in the winter, regardless of age, but can actually save lives to the elderly in the cold months.
9. Stay in touch
Don’t lose touch with friends and family over winter! Staying in alone is a bore, and dangerous to our mental health. Meeting for a coffee, getting out of the house and interacting with others is important for any time of the month, and in winter can make such a difference to our wellbeing! Give ’em a call and see how they’re doing – you don’t have to be alone just because it’s cold.
10. Don’t forget hobbies – find some fun
Much of our hobbies often include sports and activities that are only around in the summer, so try to find something new to do in the winter! Look at local walks or activities, read that book you’ve always wanted to, grow winter plants indoors or start scrapbooking. Make the most of the winter months and have fun!
Wishing you all the best winter months, and happy holidays.