Looking after your health is the best way you can protect yourself from illness, keep your energy levels up and stay happy and healthy this winter. Your immune system is your first line of defence, so it's important to look after it. During the winter when sniffles and bugs are everywhere and you’re hunkering down in the third lockdown, this is more important than ever.
It's not just your physical health you need to take care of. Mental and physical well-being are intrinsically linked, so it's crucial to look after both. We asked the team at Whitworth about how they are keeping healthy and happy during these long dark, cold days. And importantly, what puts a smile on their face. Here’s what they came up with…
Get plenty of sleepand avoid arguments!
A good night's sleep is the building block of good health. It keeps your immune system in shape, helps your moods and gives you the energy you need to function. We all need a different amount of sleep, but for most, this is around 8 hours.
Aiming to go to bed and getting up at the same time every day was a common theme across the team, even if it’s the weekend!
Trying to ensure you have a good night-time routine, by turning off phones and devices well in advance of going to bed and avoiding heated discussions and arguments with partners and family prior to going to bed was cited as good advice. Falling out with loved ones will stop you sleeping, and any issues are much better resolved in the morning.
Try to eat healthy and get creative in the kitchen
When it’s cold and dark outside, we often feel tempted to reach for heavier foods like pasta, bread and potatoes. We’re also much more likely to reach for those sugary, fatty ‘treats’ when we get that mid-afternoon energy dip, or we feel fed up. However, it’s much better to fill your plate with nutrient-rich veggies, especially those green leafy veggies that are rich in immune-friendly nutrients.
Healthy eating was a popular topic in the feedback we received from the team. After all, cooking in itself can be a stress-relief. Trying out some new healthy recipes, experimenting and getting creative is something that will keep you occupied and give you enjoyment. Try to sit down for a meal with your family whenever you can, Social eating is better for our well-being as well as our digestive system as we tend to slow down.
You should get out more
Even during the winter, it’s important that we expose our bodies to enough natural daylight. This helps to regulate our natural body clock so we can have more energy, sleep better and even help boost your immune system. The advice from the team is that you should get outside whenever you can, even if it’s cold or you just want to hibernate.
Allowing natural light into your home and getting outside for a walk if you're able to makes all the difference to how you feel and gaining perspective. While you're out be sure to notice your natural surroundings, taking notice of the things that make you happy, such as sunshine, birdsong, or a particular view. You’ll be surprised how good you feel afterwards!
Manageyour stress levels and tell someone you love them
Stress can have a huge impact on your health, whether it's caused by a significant life event such as unemployment or bereavement, or just the pressures of a hectic schedule or the lockdown. Often, the effects can emerge over a long period of time and affect your day-to-day functioning. You can take steps to counteract these effects by learning to better manage your stress.
We asked the team to see what they had been up to deal with their own stress levels. Great ideas such as practicing yoga, meditation, tai chi, simple breathing exercises or just taking a daily walk came to the fore.
Just telling your family and friends that you love them can have a positive impact on your well-being, increasing your oxytocin levels and reminding you that you're not alone.
Stop scrolling and have a chat instead
These days, we spend large amounts of time in front of our laptops, televisions, tablets and smartphones. Although these technologies can be liberating, they can also have an effect on your overall health, causing eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. They also prevent us from truly being in the moment.
We received feedback from the team about stopping the endless scrolling on your phone and calling a friend instead. Really focusing on what they have to say and sharing the details of your day was seen as an important way of offloading and gaining perspectives.
Talking to a friend or loved one can increase our sense of well-being, so it makes sense to do it often.
Wash your handslike you did at the start of the pandemic
Of course, staying health is a huge part of staying happy. We should all know by now the importance of washing our hands but because the pandemic has been around for so long, it’s so easy to let things slip and not be as vigilant as you should. The team thought it was important that we sent a gentle reminder about this.
You should know the routine by now! Approximately 80% of illnesses are transmitted by touch so it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Using warm water and plenty of soap, spend around 45 seconds washing thoroughly then rinse well.
Do something you love every day
Every single day, you should find time to do something you love. This will help lift your mood, keep you healthy and bring some joy into your life. What this looks like will be unique to you. Here are some of the thing that the Whitworth team love doing. Snuggling up on the sofa, lighting a candle or incense and getting absorbed in a new book. Getting out into the garden and feeding the birds. Getting hooked on a new Netflix series and binge-watching. Baking bread and cakes. Listening to music and dancing around the living room with the kids. Indulging in hobbies such as painting, writing, playing computer games, building Lego constructions with the kids and learning a new language. Having a pampering session and a nice relaxing bath. Take a look at some of the pampering products we have on our eBay store.
If you think you don't have the time you should look at how you can adjust your schedule to make time. Doing something you love every day is sure to put a smile on your face.
Take a vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps keep our immune system healthy, builds strong teeth and bones and keeps our muscles healthy. Although we can get some from our diets, one of the best sources is sunlight. In the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight in the winter to maintain optimal vitamin D levels.
Many of the team are now taking vitamin D supplements to boost their immunity and we thought this would act as a good reminder to our customers that they should consider doing the same. Take a look at the vitamins we have on offer on our eBay store and get free delivery.
Exercise will benefit your entire body, helping to lift your mood, get your circulation flowing, build your strength and help you feel great. We asked the team what they’ve been doing to keep active every day. We heard things such as going for a walk in the local area, going for a bike ride or run, doing online workouts, practising pilates and yoga.
It could be as easy as putting together a playlist and a having a dance! The trick is to find something that you love and then do it often.
Many Brits have treated the past 12 months as the perfect opportunity to quit unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Both affect your immune system, your mood and your budget as well as triggering or worsening certain health conditions.
During the crisis, many people have said that they’ve been cleaning up their eating and drinking habits and thinking about their mental health too. Yoga, meditation and spending time in nature have all proven benefits when it comes to our well-being and can actually make other lifestyle changes easier.
Remember, as a Healthy Living Pharmacy, we can offer you the support and advice you need to make this transition to a healthier life. Speak to your local branch today.
How do you ensure you stay happy and healthy during the winter? Do you have any tips that will put a smile on our face ? Follow us on Facebook and join the conversation.