Winter wellness isn’t just about beating those blues. With flu season in full swing, colder temps, and New Year stress, your body needs some healthy love, too! Fortunately, stress levels and immune function work hand in hand, which means you can kill two birds with one stone with the right hacks.
(*ahem* like all of the ones below!)
But let’s quickly recap how stress impacts your immune health. Studies show that stress can actually weaken your immune system, which is no good for your overall health! Thankfully, science also says that if you lower stress levels, you can strengthen your immune system, too. Perfect!
10 Tips to Stay On Top of Your Winter Wellness
Now how do you reduce your stress in a way that can improve your immune function? Well, everyone’s different, so it depends on how you lessen stress best. However, these 10 tips are a fantastic place to start.
#1 Soak Up the Sun
The easiest (and least expensive) way to lower stress is to use the Earth’s already-available resources. In this case, you have the sun! Yep, our nearest star is a wonderful tool to use for our wellbeing. Studies say sunlight aids vitamin D production, which is thought to help with immunity.
To top it off, the sun’s warmth has an extremely relaxing effect. In the wintertime, it’s a little more difficult to catch those rays, but a simple 20-minute walk will do!
#2 More Mindful Meditation
A huge part of supporting a healthy immune system involves reducing stress. Thankfully, meditation is super easy to implement into your day, especially when you have these short, guided ones on hand!
- Unclutter the Mind with Vytas
- Body Scan with Vytas
- Anytime Breath with DeAndre Sinette
- Inviting Ease with DeAndre Sinette
- Get Calm Now with Amanda Gilbert
#3 Step Up Your Snoozes
Much like food and water, sleep is crucial for carrying out day-to-day bodily functions. And according to science — without consistent restful sleep — your stress increases and the immune system suffers. So it’s a no brainer to step up those snoozes!
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try decreasing your screen time, exercising regularly, and using a wind-down routine before bed. A relaxing bath, some stretches, and a calming herbal tea can do wonders!
#4 Eat Plenty of Nutrient-Rich Foods
Did you know there’s a connection between what you eat and your mood? Yep! Studies suggest that eating more nutrient-dense foods is thought to help depression and stress levels. But it makes sense, right? Your body needs nutrients to heal and strengthen your body!
Load up on lots of whole foods like fruits, veggies, and grains!
#5 Exercise Regularly
Great news! A 2019 scientific study said that habitual exercise can improve immune regulation. And everyone who regularly works out knows — it’s amazing for your stress, too. However, you might find yourself struggling to stick to a workout routine, especially when it comes to winter wellness, where you’re a bit less motivated. The key? Keep it fun and exciting! Don’t be afraid to try activities like:
#6 Frequently Wash Your Hands
You use your hands to touch just about everything: from your face and phone to doorknobs, which means they’re basically little germ-spreading machines. Frequent hand-washing can help you stay healthy, though! Get into the routine of washing your hands regularly throughout the day, hitting spots like your palms, the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and underneath your fingernails.
#7 Gear Up Your Gut Health
Who would’ve thought a large part of your immune system lives in your gut? The bacteria help to regulate immune function, which means keeping your tummy healthy can help your immune system thrive — not to mention aid stress!
Gear up your gut health with probiotic foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt. And consume plenty of fiber!
#8 Reduce Coffee & Sugary Drinks
A cup of joe might do some good for your morning energy, but if you’re already stressed, you may want to trade it in for herbal tea or water. Science indicates that large amounts of caffeine can increase stress levels, which is the last thing we want! Studies also show that sugar can do the same thing.
Try these 5 Gut-Boosting Cozy Drinks instead!
#9 Go On a Low Information Diet
These days we’re always in front of a screen. The constant information overload from the light, colors, captions, and ads trying to get our attention can cause a lot more stress than we realize. Ever notice that you’re more anxious after scrolling your phone? That’s a telltale sign to reduce your screen time.
Try not checking your phone first thing in the morning and putting it in a different room at night. (Buy an alarm clock if you need to!)
#10 Have More Fun!
Laughter is the best medicine, and it’s no joke!
Studies show that laughing can both decrease stress levels and improve your immune system function.
So whenever you find yourself down and out, watch your favorite comedian, turn on a funny movie, or hang out with a friend who always knows how to lift your spirits.
Best health hack ever!
When You Take Care of Your Body, Your Body Takes Care of You
These winter wellness hacks can apply all-year-round, too! After all, taking care of yourself is a part of life at all times. And when you start to take your health seriously, your body usually responds in magnificent ways: less stress, better immune system, and restful sleep — just what you need to get through the cold season!