We all know it’s coming: day by day the night gets longer, our hands feel colder, and the huff and puff of our warm breath becomes more visible in the crisp air. There’s no way to hide from the inevitable winter. Snow will fall to no end and the wind will continue to sweep across campus, but that’s no reason to let your body slow down. Here are four winter health hacks to help your body cope with the coming season.
Stay positive and say goodbye to winter blues
As finals approach with the shortening days, it’s hard to get out and actually see daylight anymore. As important as it might seem to spend every waking moment inside a warm building—or studying in your favorite area—it’s also extremely important for your health to get outside while the sun is up. Being in sunlight and other bright areas help women fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition that stems from the environmental shifts that come with seasonal changes.
It seems like every heath column tells readers to stay active all year long. It’s always important to keep your heart beating, but even more so during the colder days. The darkness outside triggers the production of melatonin—the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep—causing people to feel sleepy or tired even though it might only be 4 p.m. when the sun goes down. Exercise can help keep your energy level high and help your body recognize that it’s still daytime. Plus, working up a sweat is a great way to stay warm in the winter chill.
Winter is the season when people tend to get a little lazy with their hygiene. The decrease in sweat leads some people to skip a day (or two) of showering, but regular hand washing should still be your number one priority. It may feel less necessary, but winter is also the season for sneezing and coughing. As students, you’re constantly surrounded by people and their germs and there’s no better way to fight germs than to wash up.
Stay hydrated, always
“Stay hydrated” sounds as cliche as “stay active” and “wash your hands,” but it’s twice as important. During the winter, make sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups of water each day. We may not be losing as much water as we do in the summer, but our body is actually in need of more H2O. The air is dry and so is our skin, and hydrating is the best way to keep your skin soft from the inside out. To keep your skin extra hydrated, use body butter or moisturizers and keep a humidifier in your room to compensate for the dry air.
by Jane Lee