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How to Stay Happy and Healthy this Winter

We all love winter – in theory. Snow, sweaters, and hot chocolate sound cute and comfy, but in reality, it can get a little gross once the snow loses its fluff and the cold weather drags on. Unfortunately, there are many problems that come with winter, like seasonal dryness, mental blues, and a loss of motivation to actually get in some exercise. Luckily, there are plenty of easy, fun fixes to get you back in the swing of things!

1. Dryness: One of the worst consequences of winter is uncomfortable dryness. You’ll be happier getting started early using moisturizing products and treatments before the real cold sets in. Here are some products to keep an eye out for to prepare for the worst winter weather.

  • Face and Hands:  burtsbees.com
    Even for those of us with tough skin, winter wind chills tend to make our faces more sensitive. Burt’s Bees, as always, provides a natural – yet effective – solution. This daily moisturizer leaves skin soft and rejuvenated, which is a perfect remedy for those days that make your skin red or irritated.
  • Hair: Lush Caca Marron/Noir/Rouge/Brun Henna Hair Dye, $26, lushusa.com
    I know the idea of dying hair with henna sounds like something a hippie with dreads should do – but this is a magnificent product. The great part about it is its all vegan, fair trade and does not strip the natural color from your hair like other dyes do. The Caca Brun is perfect for dark hair because it doesn’t change the color drastically, but it leaves hair shiny and damage-free. A little research is required to figure out which shade will work best for your hair color, but they are all relatively dark. Sorry blondes, in this case brunettes have more fun.
  • Scalp: Morrocanoil Treatment, $15-$43, Nordstrom.com
    Depending on your hair type, winter temperatures can leave your scalp dry or itchy. Luckily, Morrocanoil came up with yet another product to make everyone’s lives just that much better. The oil can be used as a “conditioner, styler, and finishing tool”, so it is very versatile and can be tailored to your needs. These little bottles are pricy, but keep in mind, it is a very dense product and does not generally need to be used every day. It’ll also make your hair nice and shiny, and who doesn’t love that?

 

2. Mental Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder: This occurs most commonly when all the sunniness and color from fall turns to grey, winter grossness. SAD causes people to have less energy, be more moody, and it can even cause changes in appetite and weight gain. This is a clinical disorder, so it is more likely that most of just have a case of the “winter blues”, but either way, there are little steps you can take to alleviate the winter gloominess in your life.

  • Fresh flowers or plants
    We’ve seen it on Pinterest, we’ve thought of it every time we go to Walmart and see flowers that would totally match out bedspread colors, but now is the time to actually make it happen! Fake flowers are still pretty, but don’t have the same vibrancy to them as the real thing. If you don’t feel like repeatedly buying fresh-cut flowers, live orchids are a great alternative because they will live for weeks, sometimes even months. Just having a small, fragrant vase on your desk will be a nice pick-me-up after a long day of seeing bare trees and muddy grass.
  • Wear summery clothes again
    Okay, I obviously am not condoning sundresses in sub-zero temperatures (love you too, Pennsylvania), but there are certain pieces in the backs of our closets that we tend to reserve for summer that can also be transitioned nicely into winter. For example, instead of black and grey sweaters every single day, consider breaking out the pastel colored vineyard vines attire that you might usually reserve for springtime, or those Lilly scarves that you are sure are too colorful to be worn in February (hint: they aren’t). Some studies show that vibrant colors can improve your mood, and quite literally, brighten your day. So why not? Take a break from neutral and be colorful!
  • Take a break
    This sounds kind of obvious, but we all frequently convince ourselves we “don’t have time” to do, well, anything. Between studying, clubs, and sports, Bucknellians are quite busy. However, taking little breaks to do creative or stimulating things (like painting your nails, crafting, or yoga) can increase productivity and make you more focused, less tired, and happier. Just be sure these breaks don’t get too long because sleep is important, too. It’s easy to get carried away and stay up late procrastinating.

 

3. Fitness: Let me guess, at least some part of your New Year’s resolution includes getting in shape, losing weight, or something along those lines. That’s commendable, but you have to stick with it. Winter is a hard time to get back in shape. There aren’t as many fun “alternative” workouts to do as there are in the summer (who wants to go biking in the snow?), so the gym often is the only option and it can be hard to stay inspired. Some simple actions can make a difference in ensuring your New Year’s goals go smoothly:

  • Reward Yourself
    Make a goal, and when you achieve it, do something nice for yourself. Maybe you want to go to the gym for an hour a day, four times a week. After a month straight of that, buy yourself the pair of Nike running shorts you’ve had your eyes on. After three months maybe splurge on some new Lululemons. Whatever it takes to get you motivated and excited to work out and keep your mood up, do it!
  • Make it a competition
    Another idea is to make yourself “earn” your relaxation. For every half hour you work out, you get an hour of Netflix. It’s not all that hard to do once you get into a routine, I promise! Having a friend participate with you almost always makes it easier to stick with, so beg your best friend to also be your gym buddy. You’ll thank each other in the end when you feel more energized and awake.
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