A combination of colder weather, shorter days, and holiday stressors can make December an especially challenging month to maintain your diet and exercise routine. Ironically, it’s exactly these reasons you need to maintain steadfast in your commitment–skimping on these things can compromise your immune system, making you susceptible to catching the next flu going around.
Here are some simple tips to beat the winter blues:
Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids These fatty acids are naturally found in foods like fish, seeds, and nuts. Consuming these helps to reduce joint pain/stiffness and inflammation. Studies also show that Omega 3’s help lower levels of depression, which is commonly associated with short winter days.
Eat More Fiber Soluble fiber (think apples, oats, and nuts) decreases inflammation and boosts immune system function. Not only that, soluble fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels and aids in weight loss.
Get Stoked on Mushrooms Mushrooms have naturally occurring antibiotics, giving them medicinal properties. Consuming more mushrooms in your meals (or finding a tincture or supplement at your local health food store) can help fight off many types of illnesses.
Eat the Rainbow Specifically green and orange; sticking to fruits and veggies that are dark green and orange ensures you’re consuming healthy nutrients, sugars and fats. Skip the sugar cookies and go for spinach, kale, Swiss chard, squash, carrots, and oranges instead!
Stick to a Plan Commit to a weekly exercise plan – on Sunday night, make a plan for the week, and remember to be specific! Choose your classes, activities, and exercises for each day. Knowing what you’re scheduled to do ahead of time makes it easer to keep your routine during this busy time of year. Physical activity helps flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, reducing your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
Relax! Stress increases the chance of illness, so its important to manage the winter blues in a healthy way. Take a walk, do some deep breathing exercises, or meditate to manage anxiety. Take a yoga class to decrease stress levels, or treat yourself to a massage!
Staying focused and taking a little extra care offers you the chance to stay happy and healthy while you celebrate with family, friends, and colleagues this winter. Ample opportunities to overindulge in food and drink, as well as excuses to skimp on your exercise routine are hallmarks of the season, but remember – you can’t pour from an empty cup…take care of yourself first so you can take care of others!