with Traci Marie Wagner
Hibernating may be natural for many animals during the winter months, and it might even be a natural impulse for you too! Living in a sub-zero climate can certainly give reason to that temptation to stay on the sofa with a blanket and a hot cup of tea until the sun is shining again. But, the real way to keep feeling good, is to keep moving. Resist the urge to hibernate and improve your winter health. Here are some tips to try:
Add a little Sweet Potato to your Diet
If you are willing to do just one thing this winter, spruce up your diet with sweet potatoes. A medium-sized sweet potato has about 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber, along with vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. It is also loaded with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. There are many ways to cook a sweet potato too, from baked, to roasted and mashed.
Take Inventory and Reduce Stress
To improve stress levels, focus on being a “total person” and focusing on whole-person wellness. What is a total person? The Acronym Total Person stands for:
T - time
O - out
T - to
A - assess
L - lifestyle
P - physical health
E - emotional health
R - recreational status
S - spiritual and social health
O - organizational and
N - nutritional health
Where to start? Pick one of those areas to improve. For instance, take notice of your emotions by promising yourself to write down all the negative statements you make in a day so that next time you can reframe them into positive ones. Example: “I have to work overtime” becomes “I choose to work overtime so I can support my family.”
Venture Outside to Workout
Break up your indoor workout routine with outdoor activity. The fresh air (although it is cold) will do your energy levels wonders. Try trail walking, snowshoeing, skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and even sledding! Sledding with your family can be a surprisingly great workout, every time you walk back up that hill you will understand why – additionally the laughter and fun will be a great bonus to your mental well-being. Besides the workout benefit, the outdoors also adds the much-needed light exposure during this time of year that will give you a great mood boost too.
Assess Your Heart Health
Winter is the season of love with all the holidays. So why not get serious with your self-love and assess your heart health? Ask your primary care physician to measure your health numbers, blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, blood cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose. Ask where you need improvement. Such as getting more exercise or improving your diet, in small ways like adding a more colorful range of fruits and vegetables to your plate.
Stay Cool While Sleeping
It can be tempting to crank up the heat during the winter while you sleep. To ensure a good night’s sleep, keep your bedroom temperatures between 65 – 70 F; and don’t go too heavy on the blankets. Lower temperatures are more conducive to sleep quality.
So we hope you don’t think of winter as the season to be stagnant this year and instead take the time to focus on your health and make your way through the winter feeling healthier, happier, and with more energy.
Sourced from WebMD; 8 winter steps for healthy living. Medically reviewed, by Louise Chang, MD