5 tips to help you thrive this winter

All Practices, Head Office

Winter has snuck up on us once more, and it seems this year it has hopped on the tailwinds of lockdowns and months of rain. But rather than talk like strangers about the weather – let’s get a bit closer and talk about a more intimate topic, health – and how to best support it, so you can feel like you’re firing, no matter what breezes your way.

Here’s our top 5 tips for staying healthy this winter:

  1. Get outside and get active!
    Walk, run and play in nature as much as possible.[1] Too often, we can get overcome with the cold and dark of winter, but rugging up and getting outdoors and amongst it, will help to keep your spirits and motivation levels where you want them – high! The more days you get out and about in winter, the more you, your family and maybe too the family dog can benefit. Nature is a proven mood booster and is also known to have benefits to respiratory health and improving cognitive ability.

  2. Eat seasonal, eat fresh.
    If at each meal you paused to consider the nutrient intake of what you’re about to consume, we’re convinced you would realise the benefit of making some tweaks to your diet.[2] Being real with ourselves and critical about what we’ve put on our own plate, or in our cup is a hard thing to do! When the convenience of a packaged bar, that extra-large pour of vino, or those deliciously salty crackers creep their way into your daily rituals, you forget they are doing more than not helping your health, they may even be detracting from it. So, take stock of what you’re putting in your mouth on every occasion and be critical of yourself. We don’t need to tell you what’s not natural, or boosting your health and immunity, there’s enough info available to help you determine if what you’re eating, and drinking is fuel or just a convenient filler. Use winter as a time to RESET.

  3. Check-in with your GP.
    Whether you are managing chronic disease, have ongoing women’s or men’s health issues, or have that niggling ‘something’ you ignored so you can prioritise all that life throws at you. Be kind to yourself and put the focus back on yourself. Because being busy, or stoic, doesn’t equal better health in the long run. Choose the path, guided by the expertise of a health professional, to improve your quality of life.

  4. REST!
    Find time each day to rest, reduce your screen time (we’re looking at you blue light[3]) and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Easier said than done right? But ironically, in an effort to reduce our time staring at screens, there are many apps that can help us do just that, by giving us our own data on Screen Time and even SLEEP. Helping to ascertain if we need to tone it down or not. Check your Screen Time usage, and if you haven’t already, download an app that automatically quietens the notifications of a set time each night (see Focus) and tracks how many quality hours of ZZZs you’re clocking in a night (see Lifestyle). You may be surprised by your own results.

  5. Keep up to date with your Flu, COVID & Travel vaccines.
    Choose to arm yourself with the best medical defence available and help protect against unwanted pathogens, especially if you’re planning to beat the blues this winter and fly to that tropical destination you’ve been eyeing for a while. 

So don’t just survive this winter, thrive and make the most of your life year-round! Check-in with your GP and make sure to take control of your health.

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[1] Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic ReviewJ. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, and M. H. Depledge Environmental Science & Technology 2011 45 (5), 1761-1772 DOI: 10.1021/es102947t

[2] Macdiarmid, J. (2014). Seasonality and dietary requirements: Will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 73(3), 368-375. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003753

[3] Gringras, P., Middleton, B., Skene, D. J., & Revell, V. L. (2015). Bigger, Brighter, Bluer-Better? Current Light-Emitting Devices – Adverse Sleep Properties and Preventative Strategies. Frontiers in Public Health, 3, 233. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2015.00233