With winter and the holiday bustle and cheer coming upon us, the elements and stress of everything can take a toll on your body. You may be feeling more “Blue Christmas” than “Feliz Navidad,” getting sick more often, and maybe not hearing the “Jingle Bells” just yet. Here are some ways to make sure you are mentally and physically ready for the winter weather.
Sleep is important, no matter the age: Especially for teens, sleep is one of the building blocks for a successful and happy life, inside and out. Sleep helps the body recharge and build new cells needed for everyday living. Without the right amount of sleep, you can start developing more infections, and your body won’t be able to work as
efficiently. Doctors recommend teens get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. To wind down each night, turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed, so your body can start making the sleep hormone, melatonin.
Staying warm: With winter weather coming, making sure you are warm will prevent the spread of sickness. Wear warm gloves, hats, and scarves, and layer clothes to help with the cold. Also, drink hot beverages like tea and coffee (that you can get at the Susky Station!) to warm up.
Spend time outside: Your body makes a chemical called vitamin D whenever you’re outside in the sunlight which aids in absorbing calcium for bones and teeth, fighting feelings of depression and helping your body keep a steady weight. In the winter, the sun is not as strong, and you spend less time outside, resulting in a deficiency. Even if its just 20 minutes, spend time outside with pets or friends, or take a supplement to help with ‘D-ficency.”
Stay stress-free: With everything going on during the month of December, you might get stressed and feel like you’re at your Wits end. Stress is one of many causes of mental illness. Relieve stress by making a DIY stress ball,
getting some exercise like yoga or a run around the neighborhood or talking to a friend about what’s been stressing you out. Studies have shown taking care of a pet will help stress levels, so this gives you an excuse to ask your parents for a puppy.
You are what you eat: Your diet is just as important as staying
active. Eating all the holiday cookies and cakes can make you feel sluggish and bloated. Make sure you’re eating healthy fruits and veggies, even if they’re frozen. Also, try to eat as little high sugar, high fat and processed foods as possible.
Your skin matters: The cold weather can wreak havoc on your skin, making it dry and cracked. Use a lotion that has SPF in it, or mix a small amount of sunscreen with your regular lotion to get a boost of protection.
Staying mentally healthy: Your mental health is one of the most important aspects of health. Seasonal depression is prominent in the winter and suicide rates go up during the holidays, so it is very important to talk about mental well-being. Spend time with family and friends during the holiday season and talk to your doctor or a trusted adult if you are experiencing signs of a mental illness.