Move your clocks back one hour this weekend and look forward to an extra hour of sleep. This is also the time of year that many of us look forward to the cooler weather. With the winter months fast approaching, it’s also a very exciting time of the year with the holidays, friends and family gatherings, shopping, cooking and all the activities that comes with the season. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year for the all too common cold and flu season. Staying healthy during winter months start with some very basic steps which hopefully will become part of your daily routine.
Wash your hands
One of the easiest and quickest way to keep germs at bay is to wash your hands. There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold and it’s imperative that everyone do all that they can to minimize chances of getting sick. Upon returning from shopping, restaurants, church, school, running errands, and anytime you come into contact with people who are sick with sore throat, fever, coughing, sneezing and runny nose, wash your hands as soon as you get back home. Make this a habit for your whole family. If anyone in your home is sick, teach them to limit contact with people especially the elderly and the very young.
The winter season can also bring many to slack off their summer regimen of fruits and salads and give in to unhealthy habits. With Halloween over, there’s a lot of leftover candy laying around which may pave the way to eating poorly. Stay motivated and eat good whole food, fruits, vegetables, whole grain pasta and bread, nutritious soups and salads, there is always a great selection at your local Green Market or grocery store. Stay away from too many sweets and sugary drinks. This will help you stay healthy and boost your immune system.
Wipe off surfaces
Another easy way to keep germs away is to clean all your hard surfaces. Disinfect anything that could be harmful at work and at home. Wipe off with disinfectant wipes or Lysol to kill bacterias and germs on telephones, keyboards, laptops, smart phones, doorknobs, kitchen appliances and faucets. Keep and maintain a regular cleaning routine will help in keeping you and your family healthy.
Get your ZZZZ’s
Some people do well on only 5 or 6 hours of sleep however studies have shown that the body needs a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep to maintain good health. Sleep deprivation caused by insomnia, sleep apnea and other problems can take a toll on the body after a while. It’s very important to get enough rest to feel energized throughout the day. Turn off TV’s, laptops, cell phones and all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Keep bedroom dark and cool and keep a regular bedtime schedule. Strive for at least 7 hours of good sound undisturbed sleep every night.
Everyone experiences stress to a certain degree. Overdue bills, traffic jam, arguments with your spouse all can take a toll on your health. If stressful conditions are coped with quickly, this can actually be good for you. However chronic stress, the kind that lingers over many weeks and months, and causes all kinds of problems from weight gain, headaches and irritability to chest pain and diseases. A highly stressed lifestyle can be exciting and challenging for some people while it can affect others negatively. Depending on your ability to handle stress it can stimulate you or it can kill you.
Finding ways to manage stress can be as easy as learning to control situations and making needed changes in your lifestyle. Make time for rest and relaxation and take care of yourself. From deep breathing techniques, yoga and meditations to going out for a walk, jogging or gardening, there is something that everyone can do. Learn to relax and unwind after a busy day. Find what works best for you when faced with problems. Stay in control and take charge of the situation when you can. It’s also always helpful to have someone who can listen to you.
Get a flu shot
Many will say they’ve gotten the flu shot and got the flu that same year. True, the flu shot can prevent many from getting sick however it cannot fight every single strains of the flu out there. That being said, for older people, the very young and those with compromised immune system, the flu can quickly become a life altering event. Many suffer from serious complications associated with the common cold and flu, most commonly pneumonia and respiratory infections. For many people, getting a yearly flu shot is the best way to stay healthy during the flu season.
For those who maintain a healthy diet filled with a variety of nutritious food, there may not be a need for supplements of any kind. However, most of us do not fall in this category and would benefit from taking some vitamins daily. If you take any prescriptions, please first consult with your physician for any recommendations concerning supplements. For most people, a daily multi-vitamin with extra Vitamin C is very helpful. Help your children stay healthy by giving them the chewable kind of vitamins which comes in many flavors. At the first signs of feeling sick, take 1,000 mg of vitamin C which also comes in powder form to be added to water or juice. Zinc has also been shown to help shorten the duration of a cold.