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Wellness

6 Ways to Stay Healthy this Winter

Edited By Krisha Mansukhani

As the temperature begins to dip and classes kick into full gear, it can be easy to forget your scarf while rushing to class in the frosty morning air, or skip a meal in order to continue studying. Although some of us may have relaxed our self care regimes during the warmer months, winter is fast approaching and not nearly as forgiving as summer.

Here are 6 ways to stay healthy and strong this winter semester.

 

Carry an Extra Pair of Socks in Your Bag

Accidently stepping in a puddle or a wet snow bank during your commute is never pleasant, especially when you have to deal with the damp and soggy repercussions for the rest of the day. Along with the discomfort, research shows that having cold or wet feet can increase a person’s chances of catching the flu or the common cold. Make sure to toss an extra roll of socks into your bag to keep your feet warm and comfortable all day long!

Exercise Frequently

While many of us are inclined to cope with the cold by watching Netflix all day in our blanket cocoons, it is incredibly important to stay active in the winter. Exercising can strengthen your immune system, boost your mood and warm up your body, all of which are especially beneficial on those gloomy -25 degree days.

Drink Hot Fluids

Aside from giving us something warm to hold while we rush to class, hot fluids help loosen any mucus that may be trapped in the body, as well as soothe sore throats and relieve stuffy noses. If you aren’t used to drinking hot beverages like coffee or tea, try switching out your water bottle for hot water in a thermos. Hot water has a number of added benefits like improving digestion and lowering stress levels.

Wake Up Just a Little Bit Earlier

If my alarm is set for 7:00 and I wake up at 6:58, you can be sure that I’m happily closing my eyes again and cherishing the sleep I have left. All 2 glorious minutes of it. Being told to wake up earlier is the last thing anyone wants to hear, especially in the winter. Alas, dressing for and commuting in the cold takes longer. Not giving yourself enough time can result in a lot of unnecessary stress, missed warm layers and skipped breakfasts. Just a few extra minutes in the morning will allow you to get nourished and bundled with plenty of time to spare.

Eat Vitamin Rich Foods

Winter often sends the sun into hiding, which inevitably leads to a decline in our vitamin D levels. Eating foods that have been fortified with vitamin D like milk, tuna and egg yolks can help keep our vitamin levels in check. Additionally, foods with increased vitamin C like oranges, broccoli and cauliflower can maintain the strength of our immune system. While these are general recommendations, everybody reacts differently to the changes in temperature and it is important to listen to the needs of your body.

Embrace What Winter Has to Offer

With its grey clouds, slushy sidewalks and frozen streets, winter can get downright irritating. Often the bad weather outside has a way of brewing up a storm inside our minds, taking a toll on our mental health and leaving us feeling cranky, despondent and gloomy. Tackling this effect is sometimes as simple as changing the way we see the environment around us. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to become a skiing enthusiast or snowball fight champion to miraculously love every aspect of winter. (Although if you do, more power to you). Sometimes it is a matter of embracing a specific aspect of the season that appeals to you. Maybe it’s the fact that although winter causes shorter days, it brings longer cozy evenings. Or, that the cold allows you to conveniently wear the same outfit under your coat for days at a time. Whatever your reason may be, it can aid in making those mentally draining winter days just a little more bearable.

Trying to stay healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the winter can be daunting. Make sure to treat yourself after a long cold day of classes, listen to the needs of your body, and develop your own winter routine. Let’s head into the semester with our heads held high ready to catch the first snowflakes of the season.

Maarya Zafar

U Toronto '22

Maarya is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto majoring in Visual studies and Book & Media studies. A creative and a foodie, you can either find her on campus working on her artistic practice or tucking into a delicious meal.
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