Summer is officially over, and fall is finally – wait, scratch that. It appears that since weird climate changes around the world are now the new normal, it’s only fair that the UK sees its own share of freak weather events like this week’s sudden onset of frost, cold rains, and fog.
As many of us brace for a shorter autumn and an earlier, possibly harsher winter, it’s good to remember that winter doesn’t have to be miserable. Sure, the colder months aren’t a walk in the park (literally), but there are many steps you can take to tackle the downsides of the season and maybe even enjoy it! Here are some common health issues seen in winter, and the things you can do to tackle them head-on.
Just like Christmas, the annual bout of influenza has become a yearly tradition, and even those of us who think they’ve taken all possible precautions end up catching it from someone at home, office or in our friend circle. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure, and you can start by taking stock of your supply of multivitamins and supplements. Superfoods that boost immunity such as lucuma powder and spirulina can be added to smoothies. It’s also important to practise good hygiene, and those with weaker immune systems can benefit from using pollution masks if they’re okay with getting some looks on public transport. Keep your desk sanitised, sip on lemon ginger tea, get your beauty sleep and watch the months melt off the calendar without getting knocked down.
Oftentimes, this is a precursor to a full-blown respiratory infection, but the good news is that you can nip it in the bud just as fast as it shows up. An excellent remedy is to chop up cloves of garlic and swallow them raw with water or to eat slices of raw onions at mealtimes. Sure, it’ll make your breath funky but the sulphur will put up a good fight against the infection. If you want something similar but less unappetizing, the next best alternative is to drain your sinus by frequently eating warm, spicy Indian soups and curries. It doesn’t matter if you make your own or order, just make sure you’re having it extra garlicky.
Dry skin and chapped lips
For those with dry or combination skin, winter brings with it a special kind of hell – dry, itchy skin, and lips so scaly they’re almost bleeding. For starters, do not use moisturising lotions and balms with ingredient lists containing perfumes and colours – the lesson here is the simpler the product, the better the results. Use easily available options like Vaseline (applied only after soaking or plumping up dry skin with warm water), or pure glycerine, an excellent humectant. Bonus points if you apply these right after the shower before the water evaporates, leaving skin dry again. Chapped lips need extra care, first with an olive oil and sugar scrub to rub off dead skin, followed by a layer or either Vaseline or glycerine. Dry skin is also indicative of internal issues – increase intake of healthy unsaturated fats and water, cut down on caffeine, processed sugar, and alcohol, and considering taking a hyaluronic acid or collagen powder supplement.
Mental health is an important aspect of overall health and should be paid attention to the way we would pay attention to a physical health problem. It’s tough enough dealing with seasonal depression, but winters are also accompanied by cabin fever and holiday stress. Taking emotional support from loved ones and friends is essential but it’s just as important to involve ourselves in promoting self-care habits such as exercise, meditation, detaching from negative people and events, and turning inwards to reflect positively and with self-love.
All these can make sure that winter’s no match for you, making sure you don’t waste time under the blankets with a cold. There are great things to winter, like snow and the holidays, and you want to be healthy enough to experience them.