Winter this year will be the second time we’ll spend the season with a pandemic. Sadly, COVID-19 cases aren’t dropping as fast as we want to, with mutations occurring. But that doesn’t mean we have to spend winter with anxiety.
We can still enjoy a cozy and festive winter in this period. Like last year, we have to keep gatherings to a minimum, but if you’re fully vaccinated, you may see more of your loved ones now. But don’t put your guard down yet, especially around children. Winter is the peak season for common colds, bronchitis, and flu. If you get sick, your immune system may be compromised, making your body the ideal environment for the COVID-19 virus.
In addition, you could use some protection against mental health issues. Since COVID-19 is approaching three years, the uncertainty you’ve been bearing since last year may take a toll on you now. Even if you managed to overcome your mental troubles, it’s possible to experience a relapse. There are only so many activities we can enjoy indoors. The routines we established last year could feel tiring to practice now.
But a healthy mind and body is our greatest treasure now. Don’t stop focusing on it. Below are the ways to keep yourself happy and hearty this coming winter:
1. Ensure that Your Furnace or Heaters are Working
While it’s still a little warm, check your heaters or furnaces. The last thing you need when the cold hits a broken heating system. Call your trusted heating system contractor if you notice some issues.
The ideal indoor temperature for winter is no more than 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 °C). You can reduce the temperature while you’re asleep or away from home. That thermostat setting is enough to keep you comfortable, disease-free, and your energy bills low.
2. Quit Smoking
Smokers tend to smoke more cigarettes during cold weather. Smoking is dangerous in any weather, but even more so in the winter. Your blood pressure goes up during winters, which means your heart has to work harder to pump blood. If you smoke, you’ll put more strain on your heart, increasing your risk for heart disease.
Moreover, smoking causes swelling in your lung’s airways. In turn, excess mucus will form in your lungs’ passage, leading to a buildup of poisonous substances. At that point, your immune system has already weakened. Your liver and kidneys will be affected too. If you contract any other disease, chances are your case will be severe. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 may not protect you much either if tobacco smoke keeps entering your lungs.
Of course, quitting is easier said than done. If you think your smoking habits are bordering on nicotine addiction, consider seeking professional help.
3. Drink Moderately
The holiday season is a time of merrymaking, and booze will be aplenty. However, alcohol is more dangerous during the cold and flu season. In such a time when your body is working harder, alcohol causes more strain. Heavy alcohol consumption can weaken your immune system and reduce your ability to cope with infectious diseases. In addition, it can increase your risks for COVID-19.
A glass of wine or cocktail is harmless. Anything more than that could already have negative effects. Try to be kinder to your body by not abusing its alcohol tolerance. There are other ways to be festive in the holidays without binge drinking.
4. Get Outside Your Routine Now and Then
In a study analyzing the stay-at-home orders’ impact on mental health, it was found that many people actually gained mental health benefits. Individuals experienced greater flexibility in how to spend their days and have increased time spent with family. Indeed, staying at home allows you to control your time better. Even if you work from home, you’re not bound by strict office rules, at least.
But after a year of working from home, your routines may now feel mundane. There’s nothing to look forward to anymore. Hence, try to do something outside of your routine every so often. Start a new hobby, a new workout regimen, or learn a new language. If you already started some projects, consider sharpening the skills you learned from them. For example, if you started a blog, maybe you can use some blog-writing lessons. There’s always something new to learn, even if you already feel at your best.
Studying, reading, writing, and other hobbies exercise your brain, preventing mental health issues. So find inspiration for learning something new this coming winter. If your mind is healthy, your body will likely follow suit. And remember that getting vaccinated isn’t your cue to stop following health protocols.