1. Get a dose of vitamin D
If you’re feeling tired, suffering from low mood or getting sick regularly, it could be because you’re not getting enough sunlight (and therefore vitamin D) at this time of year – especially if you’re often inside during daylight hours. Although some foods, such as oil-rich fish, egg yolks and fortified cereals, are sources of vitamin D, it’s very difficult for us to get the recommended daily amount from food alone. Research shows that taking a daily supplement from October to March could help. Experts also recommend people with dark skin, and those who never or rarely expose their skin to the sun, take a supplement year round. Choose one containing 10mcg vitamin D, to maintain healthy levels.
2. Be smart about colds
When you spend a lot of time indoors with other people – such as in an office or on public transport – you’re more likely to be exposed to cold and flu viruses. To reduce the chances of germs taking hold, wash your hands with soap and water regularly. If someone in your household is unwell, disinfect the surfaces and wash and dry bedding and towels at a high heat to help kill lingering germs. If you are struck down with a cold, keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and get as much rest as possible.
3. Find fun activities to keep you moving
Cold weather and fewer daylight hours can make working out seem like a chore, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your exercise routine! Make winter workouts fun by choosing seasonal activities such as ice-skating, Nordic walking, or sledging at an outdoor snow centre. If the cold’s really not for you, get your body with one of our home workouts in your living room, or head to a toasty hot yoga studio.
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4. Eat your veggies
…and fruit! It’s always important to get at least your 5-a-day, but especially so in winter when your immune system might be working harder to resist colds and flu. To make sure you’re nourishing your body with a range of vitamins and minerals, tuck into fruits and vegetables of all different colours – not forgetting leafy greens!
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5. Manage your stress
An extra busy schedule in the run-up to Christmas could cause you to feel low, anxious or irritable – all common signs of stress. If you’re starting to feel the pressure, a relaxation technique such as a five-minute meditation (or simply taking some time out for yourself) could help. And if you find you’re overbooked, try being more assertive and saying ‘no’ to invitations, activities, or events that aren’t a necessity or you don’t really fancy. After all, you can’t do everything!