10 Winter Tips for Staying Mentally and Physically Healthy

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Winter is settling in. Days are short, light is low, and the weather is colder. It’s a good time to make some adjustments to help you stay mentally and physically healthy this winter, especially with all the time at home. This article offers some simple lifestyle tips for better health, fitness, and mood this winter. Many of these tips can help you adjust to the darker, shorter days of winter, when seasonal depression is most common. 

Get as Much Natural Light as Possible

Natural sunlight is a key ingredient for good health, but it can be a luxury item in the winter, when the sun sets early and the days are darker. So take advantage of the sunlight when you can. If the sun comes out during the day, try to get outside and spend some time in the light. Take a walk, run an errand, or just let the sun hit your face for a few minutes and take in the natural Vitamin D. That sounds simple, but in the winter months, it pays to be ready for better weather. Check the forecast and see when it’s likely to be sunnier and warmer and get out there! It helps to have outdoor hobbies, like hiking, jogging, yardwork, or winter sports you can do when the sun peeks out. 

A Joovv device is perfect for when you can’t get outside in the sun, but still need a dose of healthy light. 

Limit Blue Light at Night

Cold, dark winter nights make it easy to kick back on the couch and binge watch tv, or sit on the computer or your phone. But all that bright blue light from your screens can have negative effects on your sleep and overall health. [1] Limiting your blue light intake goes a long way, especially at night. That’s when excess blue light exposure is the most detrimental, because of the potential to disrupt your sleep and circadian rhythms. [2] Check out this article for some tips on limiting your blue light intake from screens.

Joovv’s new Ambient mode was designed for less intense lighting at night. Now you can use your Joovv setup to light your home in the evenings, with softer red light that will help your body wind down and sleep.  

Follow a Sleep Schedule

Winter brings darker days, and that can mess with your sleep schedule, especially if you take in a lot of bright blue light at night. It’s important to get enough sleep, but it’s also key to get deep, restful sleep that aligns with your body’s circadian clock. To do that, it helps to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day so your body and brain can get in a healthy rhythm. Check out these 7 useful sleep tips for more ideas on getting more ZZZZZ.

Make a Healthy Plan for Early Evening

For better winter health, be ready for the 4:30pm to 7:00pm window when it feels like it’s dark too early. There’s still a lot of day left to live, but the early sunset and colder, darker nights can make it easier to backslide into unhealthy habits. Like excess drinking, and excess blue light from too much screen time. Don’t let early evenings get you down. Plan in advance for how you’re going to spend that time and try to develop a routine. The early evening is ideal for exercise, meditation, cooking, reading, or talking to friends. Push off the couch time until later in the night and you’ll stay more active. 

Resist Weekday Drinking

That 4:30 to 7:30 window is also known as happy hour. It can be easy to crack a beer or pour some wine when the sun goes down at 5pm, but odds are that’s going to prevent you from being active and making healthy, productive choices. Drinking can be a bigger contributor to weight and mood concerns in the winter, when the days are shorter and people are less active. To stay fit and focused this winter, try to limit your alcohol intake, especially during the week.

Even Basic Exercise like Walking Can Make a Big Difference 

It’s no secret that we’re more prone to experiencing seasonal depression, or the ‘winter blues’, during the cold and dark winter months. One of the simplest ways to keep your mental health in check is to stay physically active. A little exercise can go a long way in helping to maintain your mental health. Exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re not feeling your best mentally, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. Anything that gets your heart beating and your blood flowing more than normal will help. Even just getting outside and taking a 20 minute walk can go a long way! [3]

Connect with Loved Ones and Maintain Friendships

We’re social animals, but during the winter, and during a pandemic, it can be really tough to stay connected. A little effort goes a long way. Consciously try to maintain your friendships this winter, even if it’s just a text or email here and there. Set aside time on your schedule to call your loved ones. It’ll make you feel better and more social, and chances are, your friends and loved ones will feel better after hearing from you too. Win-win! You can start by checking if anyone’s birthday is coming up. An unexpected call or card can do wonders for the long-term health of a friendship.

Walk and Talk

This one combines the previous two tips. Going for walks while you talk to friends and loved ones is an efficient way to stay active and socially connected this winter. It can be hard to find the time to keep up with friends and family, just like it’s hard to find time to exercise. Two birds, one stone! A half hour walk will get your heart and blood pumping, and a half hour conversation with a friend can do wonders for your mood and stimulation. For best results, take your walk during the day so you get healthy light from the sun. 

Get Creative

One way to limit blue light at night and keep your mind sharp is to do other things besides watching a screen. It’s easy to fall into a rut of watching entertainment every night, but that can contribute to sleep and mood problems. At least one night a week, push yourself and your brain to be creative after dark. Collaging is easy and fun and makes you think in different ways. The same goes for drawing, painting, knitting, or working on furniture. Rearranging or decorating a room will also push your mind and keep you active. You can see more tips for better mental acuity here. 

Prioritize Skincare

The cold air and low humidity of winter can dry out your skin. To look and feel your best this winter, put a little extra time (and moisturizer) into your skincare routine to offset the seasonal changes. Other tips on this list will also help maintain winter skin health, like following a sleep schedule, limiting drinking, and especially getting outside in the daylight. Healthy light is absolutely crucial for skin cells and skin health, and light is also a big factor in how the body manages inflammation

We hope these tips help you stay healthy this winter! If you’re interested in how Joovv light therapy can help you get healthy light this winter, check out our devices, or head to our Science Page to learn more about how light therapy works on a cellular level.

 

Sources and References:

[1] Nazish Rafique, Lubna Ibrahim Al-Asoom, Ahmed Abdulrahman Alsunni, Farhat Nadeem Saudagar, Latifah Almulhim, Gaeda Alkaltham. Effects of Mobile Use on Subjective Sleep Quality. Nat Sci Sleep. 2020 Jun 23.

[2] Duffy J, Czeisler C. Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology. Sleep Medicine Clinics. 2009 Jun.

[3] Craft L and Perna F. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. Primary Care Companion. 2004.