Winter’s finally upon us, and while it’s a season full of festive cheer, it’s also known as a harbinger of snuffles, sneezes, and sickness. The last thing you (or any of the people you come into contact with) want is to spend the next few months feeling under the weather.
So here’s our five top tips to stay healthy over the coming months, letting you make them as fun and productive as possible!
1: Watch what you eat
We all know we should eat well, but that can be more difficult than usual in the winter months, when treats are readily on display and cold weather makes us crave the odd glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate. Doing your best to cave in to these cravings as rarely as possible will pay dividends for your health, as will the following ‘golden rules’ of healthy eating: five portions of fresh fruit and veg every day (why not mix it up with some seasonal winter veg like swede and carrots?), plenty of milk and dairy (full of protein, vitamins A and B12, and calcium – but remember to avoid full fat varieties), and a hearty breakfast (it’s porridge season!) to keep you full of energy!
2: Be kind to yourself
You need sleep. Lots of it. And, if you’re feeling under the weather, time off! Don’t slog through work if you’re sick. Not getting enough sleep and pushing yourself too hard will play havoc with your immune system – and bringing your germs into the office will let them spread like wildfire. So don’t be afraid to spend as much time in bed as you need, avoid working when sick – and hey, maybe even take a winter holiday! Prices tend to be cheaper in January and February…
3: Cleanliness is king
Everyone knows hygiene is non-negotiable. But in the winter, you’re not just trying to avoid being known as “the smelly one in accounts” – you’re trying to protect yourself and others from unwanted germs. Illness thrives in cold weather, that’s why it’s more important than ever to pay attention to cleanliness. Here are a few tips: always wash your hands and use a sanitiser gel if it’s available. We use our hands for everything from opening doors to eating sandwiches, to handshakes, to typing, and more. As a result, they can easily become germ superhighways. Keeping them clean will stop those germs dead in their tracks. Also, use tissues if you have a runny nose, don’t share office equipment, and (within reasonable limits) minimise the time you spend around colleagues who are under the weather.
4: Get active
Fitness is an important part of being healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to start pumping iron on your lunch hour. Just making sure you remain active throughout the day will have a big impact on your health, immune system and energy levels. If you can add some sunshine and fresh air to that, it’s even better. Why not make an effort to go walking with the family? Or play a sport with a friend?
5: Get festive – but not too festive
It’s the festive season – we get it. And far from us to stop you partying. If winter’s good for one thing, it’s getting together with the people you love and revelling. But do your health a favour and exercise some restraint: you don’t need to go all out for months on end. A recent study from the University of Maryland and Loyola University demonstrated that too much alcohol can “severely” compromise your immune system. Given how many more germs are floating about in winter months, you could do without that added weakness.
So, stick to the above and you’ll never get sick again! Well, obviously, that’s not true. But it will give you the best chance of staying happy and healthy this winter, letting you enjoy the season as much as possible.