We may already be in Autumn but there’s plenty you can do to ensure your all ready for everything the cold months might throw at you.
Image by Quentin De Briey
Have a seasonal deep clean.
By having a deep clean you can tackle any mess that might be causing you to feel stress which in turn could be having an impact on your immune system. It will also ensure your living environment is as health friendly as possible over the coming months when we all tend to spend much more time indoors. Take a quiet weekend and tackle a room at a time, it’ll leave you feeling pretty good about yourself as well.
Change your bedding once a week.
A microbiologist has said we should be washing our bedding once a week. If left for too long, the microscopic life of bacteria and fungus housed in our bed sheets alongside us can make us sick and cause us to have allergic reactions even if we don’t have allergies.
Keep air humid and fresh.
Dry air can impact our respiratory systems and our skin, and stale air is a prime environment for germs to accumulate. Place wet clothes on radiators to help infuse the air with a bit of water, or get a humidifier, and open your windows at least once a day (even if it’s cold) to get the air moving throughout your home and freshen up.
Image by alison wu
Invest in good socks.
When it’s cold and flu seasons, for every person you see who has a cold, there are two or three people around who are carrying the virus without any symptoms. These people are prone to developing a common cold if they catch a chill which is very easy to do when you have cold feet. Chilled feet cause the constriction of blood vessels in your nose and this can produce a cold in two ways as it reduces the number is immune cells in your nasal tissue and slows down the self-clearing mechanism of your respiratory tract meaning a cold virus has more time to take effect. Invest in some good socks and keep your toes and feet warm. It’ll also help you get to sleep as cold feet can keep us awake. We’d recommend merino wool socks.
Get outside once a day.
Getting outside once a day helps us out in so many ways. Exercise and walking in the cold can help keep illness’ in check as movement helps to flush bacteria from you airways and lungs. Being inside all day can also throw our circadian rhythms out of balance as well, so exposure to daylight even in small amounts can help keep us in rhythm. Going outside and exposure to daylight also helps to combat SAD.
Eat seasonal food.
Seasonal foods are good for our health. Eating locally grown and season fruits and veggies mean that you’ll ultimately be getting the freshest and most nutrient dense foods you could have. Japanese researchers have found vast differences in the nutritional content of spinach that was harvested in summer versus winter so it’s wise to eat as locally and seasonally as possible. Also by stocking up on veggies and fibre over the winter will keep you feeling fuller for longer while supplying you with a healthy batch of vitamins, minerals, calories and proteins.
Your Mental Health
Image by alison wu
Have a sleep routine.
Having a solid sleep routine will keep you feeling more energised than normal across the darker months. Try not using any screens before bed for at least an hour, or use a screen dimmer that takes out blue light that keeps you awake. Also try having a bath before bed, the temperature helps with falling asleep faster. Keep your bed for sleeping and avoid hanging out there before sleep so your body learns it’s where you are meant to be unconscious. And keep bed sheets clean as mentioned above.
Keep a mood tracker.
SAD can affect anyone and everyone especially when people are going to school or work in the dark, and then coming home in the dark. Use a mood tracker to keep an eye on how you’re feeling day to day, and if you notice you’re being affected by seasonal depression look into getting a light to help with SAD, getting outside more in daylight and keeping a daily gratitude journal to help reflect on the good things.
Being kind not only makes the person you’re being kind to feel good, but it’ll make you feel good, and anyone watching to feel good - thanks to oxytocin. Take on the spirit of the colder seasons and try to be more giving and kind. It’ll have a positive impact on everyone’s mental health and encourage people around you to be more kind, spreading the love. Oxytocin is a fantastic stress fighter as well.
Lead image by suphotography