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How to Maintain Your Mental and Physical Health During the Winter

We made it through the holidays and winter is well underway.  Much of the county has struggled with brutally cold, wind, and snow this winter. We still have to find ways to get through this winter.

Maintain Mental and Physical Health During Winter

No matter how long winter lasts, it’s a good time to take a look at what we can do to make sure we are staying healthy – mentally and physically – during these remaining wintry months.

Winter poses a lot of challenges for most of us. It’s cold. It gets dark early. We often don’t see the sun for days. Our cars are dirty. Often, we eat heavier foods and our exercise routines go by the wayside. We are all prone to feeling a little down this time of year in large part because there’s not a whole lot to look forward to. The holidays are over, but it’s still winter.

So what can we do to chase away some of the wintertime blahs and blues? Here are a few ideas that might help:

Stick with a Physical Exercise Routine

Winter can pose quite a challenge to a regular exercise habit, and not everyone has the money or the time to learn how to ski or go snowboarding.

Consider These Physical Health Options:

  • Pushing your grocery cart up and down every aisle of the store.
  • Doing jumping jacks at commercial breaks while watching TV.
  • Join a local gym or workout facility.
  • Taking the steps instead of the elevator.
  • Walking the dog.
  • Putting on your favorite music, and dance up a storm.

Pay Attention to What You’re Eating

Experts recommend getting a variety of foods any time of year. It can be a little harder during the winter, but looking for seasonal fruits and vegetables is important. Getting enough protein (meat, fish, pork, eggs) is important too. Protein helps us feel full and satisfied.

Be Around People

Winter can pose special challenges to our social lives too. Bad weather, slippery streets, and bitter cold can cause us to isolate a bit more. People need people, even in the winter. Making time to enjoy being with others – family, friends, book clubs, church gatherings – is very important, too. If the roads are bad, consider calling a friend or Skyping. Texting and email are okay, but making eye contact with someone special is much more satisfying.

Be Good to Yourself

All of the above are ways to treat yourself well, but you might have some other ideas. Some other ideas might include scheduling an annual exam with your doctor or getting a mammogram. Being good to yourself also means making sure you are taking your medicines as directed.

We still have a ways to go to get through winter with our mental and physical health intact. So, give it some thought. What could you do to get through the remaining weeks or months of winter? Stay warm and healthy everyone!

Karen Williams, LIMHP
Karen Williams, LIMHP

Karen Williams, LIMHP is a Mental Health provider at CHI Health.

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