Winter is slowly drawing in. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer and the desire to hibernate very real. But don't do it alone. Having a cuddle buddy is proven to keep your wellbeing soaring. Want to keep that winter flu at bay? Here's five ways to stay happy and healthy this winter.
Well, it's one way to warm up. We all know sex releases endorphins sending your mood soaring, but it has actually been proven to boost your immune system. People who have sex several times a week are proven to have higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) the immune system's first line of defence. Fact. And with so much time spent indoors, surely there's plenty more opportunity for it. Cabin fever anyone?
2. Get to your winter happy place
Embrace winter! Most associations with winter are negative: the dark, the cold, the winter blues. But winter is magical. It's a natural time for introspection and taking time for yourself - reading indoors, luxuriating in the bath, a bit of Netflix and chill. And then there's snow, ice skating, mulled wines and snug woolies to name just a few. Stay connected, resist the urge to solely hibernate. Studies have shown that being social and happy reduces stress and strengthens the immune system.
3. Work out baby
Resist the urge to sloth out. Try maintain your exercise routine, or at the very least aim to work out three times a week. Once again, exercise releases endorphins helping beat the winter blues. And you guessed it, sex counts as exercise. But try a new winter hobbie. It's the perfect time of the year for that hot yoga class, jumping into a heated pool, doing an indoor cycling class, or going for a run round the park. Even walking works. Studies have shown that just going for a brisk walk several times a week can reduce your number of sick days by 40% !! Our favourite places to stay warm at and workout during the winter are:
* Hot yoga and movement at Crazy Monkey
* Indoor full body workout & cycling in the dark at Rocycle
4. Eat and drink the rainbow
While we should eat healthy year round it's particularly crucial in winter.
In the colder months boosting your immune system is vital, and there's no easier way to do this then through what you eat. Go crazy on the fruit and veggies. Add them to all your meals, drink those cold pressed juices, Superfood smoothies, hot soups and down those power shots. Eating a range of whole foods all the colours of the rainbow ensures you're getting a broad mix of vitamins, minerals and nutrients which is paramount for immune health.
5. Sleep like a bear
Bears sleep all winter for a reason. Be more like bears. Make a conscious effort to sleep even more, it gives our bodies the much needed time to rest, revitalising the immune system. Hey, you don't have to tell me twice. Nothing beats being tucked up under the blankets with the fire (or heater) roaring. It's not laziness, it's self care. Aim for at least eight hours sleep a night. Create a relaxing evening routine, try minimise the use of phones and electronics just before bed. This will boost melatonin, which not only gives you a deeper sleep but also more vivid dreams. Could be the time to start a dream journal.
Get out there with gratitude and make the most of the wintery festivities. Of course these are best enjoyed in robust health so... eat, sleep, run, party and laugh your way to happier and healthier winter.