Summer is over and as much as it hurts to say goodbye to sunshine and hello to the winter wardrobe – there’s some winter perks we can’t help but crave! After all, who doesn’t love candles, knitted jumpers, comfort food and movie nights in front of the fire? As much as we love the run up to the most wonderful time of the year (too soon?!) it can be a busy and boozy few months – which can take its toll on our wellbeing. Read on for five top tips to help you stay happy and healthy during the winter months and start the New Year as you mean to go on.
🍋 Look After your Immune System 🍋
Your immune system is of course extremely important year-round, but it needs that bit extra TLC in the winter. Getting in from the cold, wrapping up and turbo-charging the heating all sound good and well for keeping us warm and comfortable but it creates an environment that is a breeding ground for winter bugs.
In centuries gone by our ancestors would retire for the winter – staying indoors, resting up and getting some decent shuteye. But these days it’s become the norm to work year-round and whatever the weather. Some think that this pushes our bodies out of their evolved comfort zone and into the danger zone for winter flu and viruses.
Whatever makes us more susceptible to becoming unwell in the winter, getting enough fruit, veggies, vitamins and minerals – as well as fibre and probiotics to support gut health – will help to support your immune system and ward off harmful bugs this winter. And don’t forget to wash your hands, “OK grandma we hear you” – just trust us, it’s super important!
Hear us out! If you can’t have a bonfire Baileys coffee or festive fruity cocktail at this time of year then when can you?! Skip to step 3 if you’re a non-drinker or read on if you’re partial to a boozy beverage every now and again.
We’ve all overdone it at the office party, but with the winter months being the busiest time of the year on the social calendar you can guarantee that hangovers are all too common as the party season vamps up! Booze is at the epicentre of many seasonal soirees but there’s no telling your body that sobriety will have to wait until the New Year.
Too much alcohol will leave you dehydrated, lacking energy and even anxious. Try to keep the majority of your week completely alcohol free, as well as making sure you get plenty of water before and after a night out. Or why not offer to be the designated driver once or twice? You’ll save some cash and wake up hangover-free – not to mention the hero amongst your friends!
🛀 Make Time for Relaxation 🛀
How often do we say “it would be great to catch-up” or “let’s meet for a drink” but before you know it the weeks and months have passed, and it seems like the offer was nothing more than a polite nicety!
As the party season kicks off it becomes apparent that all those forgotten offers are expected to be cashed in. Before you know it, you’re double-booked every weekend for the next two months and don’t have a day for yourself planned until 2020. A relentless social schedule can be the driving force behind stress and anxiety at this time of year.
Socialisation is great but by the time Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas are through you can end up feeling dishevelled and worn out with all the partying! Why not suggest a healthier alternative to a bottomless brunch such as meeting for a coffee, going for a winter walk or staying in for a movie night? Create a synergy between relaxation and socialisation this winter to save your cash and your energy!
🥕 Keep Healthy Snacks Nearby 🥕
The party season – particularly Christmas – can be a slippery slope to weight gain. Before you know it you’re entering the New Year a stone heavier than planned! There’s no escaping the delicious food and indulgent drinks this time of year (and why would you want to?!) but maintaining a healthy lifestyle as much as possible will help you to stay focused and fit throughout the winter months.
One great way to fight off pesky cravings and resist the all too familiar office cake and boxes of chocolates is to make your own healthy snacks. Choose foods high in healthy fats such as nuts and combine with low sugar fruits for an energy and vitamin boosting combo that will keep you nourished and avoid succumbing to the temptation of less healthful treats!
Check out our recipe page for some delicious and nutritious recipes that use all natural sugar replacements to satisfy your sweet fix without worrying your waistline.
💤 Embrace the Power Nap 💤
Sleep is super important and ignoring your body’s desperate calls for sleep can takes its toll on your mental health and overall wellbeing. The work-hard-play-hard mentality may sound exciting but its arguable that sleep is the most important tool our body needs, and not getting enough could put your health at risk.
Getting a nap of just 26 minutes has been shown to increase performance, alertness, memory and mood – so much so that the benefits have been seen in pilots and astronauts. So, if a nap is good by them we can only imagine what it can do for the humble party-goer this festive season!
Finally, be sure to steer clear of both caffeine and alcohol (that means no reaching for the coffee hangover cure!) during the week or when you don’t have any party plans. These have both been shown to mess with our sleep-wake cycle and affect sleep quality and quantity. Instead, listen to your body and grab an early night wherever possible.
There’s no better time of the year to catch up with your nearest and dearest, let your hair down and realise there’s more to life than work! But by being mindful of your antics and trying to hang on to the basics of a healthy lifestyle you can balance both happy and healthy this party season.
Author: Stephanie Masterman @NutriNoggin
- The Secret of Power Napping https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/23/the-secret-of-power-napping
- The Power of Sleep Podcast - https://drchatterjee.com/why-sleep-is-the-most-important-pillar-of-health-with-professor-matthew-walker/
- Widespread Seasonal Gene Expression Reveals Annual Differences in Human Immunity and Physiology – https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8000
- Health Effects of Alcohol: Drink Aware - https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/