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How Cold Weather Affects Your Body

It’s been nearly two years since my first arrival at Mount Holyoke and while I’ve gotten used to the school, one thing that I will never adjust to is the brutal New England winter! Having lived in a fairly warm country my entire life where even winter temperatures average to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, the experience of winter was fairly new to me. In fact, my first snowfall experience was also during my first semester at Mount Holyoke. While I was excited about actual snowy weather rather than the blazing hot temperatures I was used to back home, the novelty factor quickly ran out as I was faced with the brutal and seemingly-never ending winters of New England. Along with the wind chills, slippery sidewalks and gloomy weather, I noticed many other changes that came along with the winter that had profound effects on my body. Here are some of the effects I’ve noticed and some ways you can counter them:


1. Dry Skin

As soon as winter hits, the cold winds begin to strip moisture from your skin. Even if you normally have oily or combination skin, the harsh winds of winter spare no one. Invest in a good moisturizer for your face and body to prevent your skin from getting scratched. Essential Oils can also be useful but be careful about using it on your face as some types of oil can clog your pores, leading to breakouts. Also don’t forget about your hair! Try a leave-in hair oil for about 30 minutes before you shower as it will help replenish the moisture and help with scalp buildup that accumulates because of dry skin.


2. Low Vitamin D

Because of longer nights and shorter days, there is a distinct lack of sunlight during the winter period. This can lead to low vitamin D levels, as it is a vitamin that is build up largely by your exposure to sun. Low vitamin D can lead to depression, lower energy levels, and even decrease in your metabolism. Make sure to pay extra attention to your Vitamin D during winter months and take supplements if needed. You can also stock up on Vitamin D friendly foods such as fish, eggs, and tofu to make up for your depleted levels.


3. Weak Bladder

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of night and having to run to the bathroom more often, it might be because of the cold. Cold weather can often induce a need to go to the bathroom more often even though you’re drinking the same amounts of water as you did before. While there’s no definite solution to this, try sipping your water in small intervals rather than all-in-one go especially before bedtime. Also don’t forget to layer up when you sleep, as keeping yourself warm can also help reduce the need to wake up and run to the bathroom after every few minutes.


4. Feeling Down

If you find yourself feeling down in the dumps more than usual, you’re not alone! Cold weather and the lack of sun can have a definite effect of on your mood. While the weather is unavoidable, try exercising and eating high-protein foods to boost your spirits and make you feel more energetic. While chocolate is great for boosting your mood, make sure to cut down on heavy-carb foods such as chips and cookies because they only provide a temporary fix and make you feel worse in the long-run. For other great tips on fighting winter blues, you can also check out this article.

Winter can be tough- especially on your body. On the bright side, some of the effects that cold weather has on your body often fade away with the change of season. Nonetheless, its important to take care of yourself and look out for changes in your body and mood throughout the year. Whether its summer or spring, always make time for self-care. Make sure to take of your body, its the only place you have to live in!


Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

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Sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, majoring in Psychology. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan.
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