How To: Take Care of Yourself During the Cold Months

The cold has hit Edmonton early. While I would like to call this article “How To: Take Care of Yourself During Winter,” it seems like unofficial winter has already begun. From body care to your mental health, the lack of sun and gloomy grayscale colours can easily take a toll on you. With that in mind, here are some tips to carry you through winter all the way to slushy spring:

 

Vitamin D

The main sources of vitamin D for Canadians is the sun and dairy. However, shorter winter days and overcast skies make it difficult to absorb those sweet rays (with proper SPF, of course). According to Health Canada, Canadians between the ages of 9 and 70 should be taking 600 IU or 15 mcg of vitamin D per day. So, it may be a good idea to invest in some vitamin D supplements to ensure you’re getting enough of the nutrient that has been linked to boosting bone, heart, and mental health.

 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Whether it’s your skin or your insides, hydration is important in our year round dry Alberta weather. Winter especially though, can cause flare-ups for those with dry skin types or conditions. Ingredients to look for in winter skincare for the face and body include: humectants that attract water from the air into your skin such as hyaluronic acid, lactic acid (only 2-3x a week at night-time as this is an exfoliant), glycerin, aloe vera, urea, and honey. Occlusives, ingredients that slow down loss of water in the skin (trans epidermal water loss) such as facial oils, ointments or Vaseline should also be used as the last step in your routine to seal everything in. When it comes to your insides, ensure that you are drinking enough for your body. In general, it is recommended that you should drink 60% of your weight in ounces per day – this means that if you weigh 125 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 oz or 2.2 L of water daily.

 

Wear Sunscreen Daily

Wait.. we have to wear sunscreen in winter? YES! Think about every time you have been blinded when you walk outside on a day where there is snow on the ground. The reflective nature of snow means that your face is getting hit by the sun twice. You may not get a sunburn but your skin will begin to show the harmful effects of sun damage in the future if you pretend that the sun doesn’t exist in winter. Therefore, it is just as important to protect your skin from UV rays in the winter as it is in summer. 

 

Check in With Yourself and Others Once in a While

Winter can make you want to stay indoors, in bed, all day. For this reason, it’s very easy to slip into depressive episodes or to give in to antisocial tendencies. What you may not realize is that those close to you may be feeling the same way you do or worse. So, for your own benefit in addition to the benefit of your loved ones, try to check in weekly – it will become a mutually beneficial habit.