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Top tips for staying well this winter

October 22, 2015 14:22

Earlier this month, we announced our support for the national ‘Stay Well’ campaign. Carrying on from this, here are our top tips for staying well this winter. 

When it comes to sleep, quality comes before quantity – longer nights and darker mornings can leave you feeling groggy and in need of more sleep, but oversleeping means you are being less active and are more susceptible to storing energy as fat.  With so much focus on the importance of sleep, it may seem surprising to hear that oversleeping can be harmful to our wellbeing and physical health. To combat the lethargy that can come with winter, make sure that you are getting high quality sleep; try a mug of hot milk in the evenings instead of a caffeinated drink or limiting your use of any smartphones/laptops in the hours leading up to your bedtime.

Cosy cooking – rainy days and dark evenings can leave us craving hearty and substantial food. Luckily, ‘tis the season for parsnips in their prime and comforting cabbages. A pot of scouse is a great way to fuel your body; the carrots, beetroot and onion will help towards your five a day and the potatoes and lamb (or ‘blind scouse’ if you’d prefer no meat) will answer your cravings and warm your stomach. Winter soups are the perfect solution to runny noses and coughs and sneezes. Take the humble tomato soup, make it chunky or smooth (whatever your preference) and go from there. You can keep it classic or try some extra additions such as basil, chilli or red pepper. The antioxidants provided from the tomatoes means that you have a delicious and nutritious meal that can be frozen and eaten throughout the winter months; a winter warmer as and when you desire!

Don’t bottle your emotions up – if your usual routes for letting out stress are not available due to bad weather (maybe you like to take a long walk to clear your head), look for any alternatives that are available. Walking around a room for a few minutes every hour is an effective way to channel your energy and increase your activity levels. Making lists of things to do is great, but make sure to include things that you did get done, and not just things that are left to do.

Make your own body heat – it can be tempting to go into hibernation for the winter and not get our exercise gear out until the sun rears its glorious head, but our bodies and minds need exercise come rain or shine. If you’re a fan of tennis, how about moving your games to an indoors venue so you can ace in style without rain disturbing play? Why not take up a new sport? Physical activity is a great way to combat winter tiredness and will help to improve your physical and mental health, as well as your sleeping pattern and your concentration levels.

Warm your hearts – with the temperature dropping, feelings of social isolation can worsen and people can be left feeling more vulnerable and less resilient to everyday situations. The harsher climate can really affect the lives of the elderly. A quick knock on their door to check the house is warm enough and to see if there’s anything you can do to support them over the winter can really make the world of difference. Are they prepared for the drop in temperature? Are they up to date with their prescriptions? Are they physically able to get around if the roads ice over? You could even bring over some soup from your frozen supply!

Battling a cold? - get some garlic and ginger down your neck. As well as improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure, garlic is a great way to add flavour to your meals without reaching for the salt shaker. Adding ginger to your meals can ease your symptoms as ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that help to boost your immune system and fend off viruses. Ginger infused tea is diaphoretic, meaning it will warm you from the inside and promote perspiration. It’s also very tasty, so you don’t have to be sick to enjoy a cup or two!

Wrap up – for those who really feel the cold, thermals are a great solution. Whether it’s a thermal hat, underwear or a body warmer, you will be more insulated from the cold. Thermals are moving with the times so you don’t have to worry about lugging bulky items around under your coat. Instead, thermals are now more discreet and effective than ever! Layers on layers are also a great way to capture heat; protecting yourself from chills will help you to stay well this winter.

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