20 ways to stay healthy (and happy) this winter season

The change in seasons is well upon us and it’s a perfect time to take a look at ways we can keep ourselves healthy and balanced.

As the cold moves in, we need to shift our wellness routine to respond to the changes it brings.

Here are 20 ways you can create a winter wellness plan that works for you.

1. Bring out the crock pot! Emphasis slow cooked, warm, moist meals this season. Soups are a perfect match for the cold, dry days.

2. We gravitate toward richer foods in the winter for good reason — we need to stay warm, lubricated and healthy.  Allow yourself to indulge in high quality dairy, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, organic meats, and healthy fats — you can feel satisfied without jumping on the sugar train.

3. With the increase in heavier foods, be sure to increase spices and foods that help keep digestion lively. Many of these foods and spices have the added benefit of boosting your immune system because they are antibacterial. Try adding dark leafy greens, berries, garlic, onions, ginger, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon to your recipes whenever you can.

4. Pay attention if your skin feels tighter these days; you may need to switch to a hardier natural moisturizer like cocoa butter.

20 ways to stay healthy in the winter

5. Prioritize sleep and follow the sun’s lead. As the days get shorter, shift your sleep routine toward going to bed earlier and to allow your body more hours to rest and repair.

6. Use humidifiers to keep the air you are breathing moist.

7. If you use a neti pot to help keep your sinuses clear,  swab your inner nose with a q-tip dabbed in coconut oil or olive oil when you are done to be sure you don’t over dry that area.

8.  Be proactive about preventing ear infections.  Warm up garlic oil (sold in natural health food stores) to body temperature and put a dropper full into each ear canal.

9. We breathe a lot more indoor air in the winter, so be especially careful to keep it clean and free of toxins. Rotate an air purifier into different rooms.

10. Let indoor green plants help keep your air clean and fresh.

11. Diffuse essential oils to increase the negative ion count in your air (shown to help mitigate the effects of seasonal affective disorder).

running in the snow
Photo by Lynn Lin

12. Keep physically active during the winter to bolster mental health and physical immunity.

13. If you are a walker or runner, invest in a set of cold weather workout clothes so your can keep up your routine as the temperature dips.

14. Shift to indoor activities : yoga, stretching, dance, toning and aerobics can all be done via a DVD in your living room.

15. Join a gym or group workout class to keep connected and accountable to getting your workout in.

16. Get social! Stay connected to others, even as your activities shift more and more indoors. Join a moms’ group or book club that meets regularly.

17. Replace outdoor kid’s outings with indoor ones, like book time at the library or trips to the museum.

18. Strengthen your body’s defenses by keeping your gut healthy.  Consume foods that have natural probiotics (like yogurt, kefir, miso soup, cultured vegetables, sauerkraut), or take a high quality supplement.

19. If you take fish oil supplements, shift to cod liver oil supplements for the winter. These have the added benefit of vitamin A and D (great for months when our access to vitamin D producing sunshine is limited).

20. Finally, make a Feel Good menu specifically for winter. Take a moment to brainstorm all the things you can do in winter that you enjoy, that feel indulgent, and that make you happy. Keep this list posted and draw from it to make your days more special and when you need a little extra pampering.

Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Brew your favorite herbal tea
  • Sip a cup of warm apple cider
  • Simmer orange peels and cinnamon sticks over the stove to scent the whole house
  • Curl up with a blanket and favorite book or magazine
  • Take a mid-day stretch
  • Work on an art or craft you love
  • Turn on some good music
  • Cook a special mea
  • Give yourself a foot or neck massage with a scented oil
  • Take a warm long bubble bath after the kids are asleep
  • Stroll through a bookstore-museum-art gallery-thrift shop
  • Drive around and look at the Christmas lights
  • Rent your favorite movie and pop popcorn
  • Bake cookies
  • Take a brisk walk in the afternoon when the sun is out

What would be on your “Feel Good” list this winter?

Reading Time:

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  1. prerna

    This is a great list.. I’m gonna take Angela’s suggestion and print it out, laminate it and put it up on my bulletin board. Thank you for inspiring me to get healthy easily!!
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Starting the Last Month of the Year =-.

  2. Micha

    Thanks for this long list. Unfortunately we suffer the flu at these days. But perhaps your tipps could help us for the rest of the winter.
    .-= Micha´s last blog ..Morgen, Findus wird’s was geben =-.

  3. prerna

    Thank you for inspiring me to get healthy and stay that way:-) I’m gonna take Angela’s suggestion and print this out and put it up on my bulletin board from where it will inspire me every day.
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Starting the Last Month of the Year =-.

  4. steadymom

    I need to add some of my favorite holiday “feel good” movies to my Netflix queue: classics like White Christmas and The Christmas Story! =)

    Thanks for these ideas, Lisa!

    .-= steadymom´s last blog ..Blogoversary Giveaway: Jewelry from Tiny Belles =-.

  5. Megan at Simple Kids

    Lisa! What an amazing primer on healthy living throughout the winter months. Super, super helpful! I will be applying so many of these tips to our family life. I am in the midst of shopping for some cold weather gear so I can keep up my new habit of morning jogs. I LOVE the Feel Good Menu idea!!
    .-= Megan at Simple Kids´s last blog ..An Uncomplicated Holiday: Three Most Important Things =-.

  6. Sherri (Serene Journey)

    Lisa, this is a great post. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas. I need to work at #16 it’s usually so cold here we don’t want to leave the house … for anything. I’m making an effort this year to change that 🙂

    On my feel good list this year:
    Sleigh ride with the WHOLE family
    Family bake exchange
    Craft day
    Movie night
    .-= Sherri (Serene Journey)´s last blog ..The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer Guide =-.

  7. Tiffany

    I love the “feel good menu” idea. Battling gray days with no sun is hard. A fire in the fireplace and games with the kids really helps.

    I also try to get more sleep, read in bed more in the winter. And I make a big pot of Virus Killing Soup (yummy homemade chicken soup with lots of virus killing properties) every once in a while to ward off colds and flu.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Pumpkin Chip Cookies =-.

  8. smilinggreenmom

    I really really really need this for this winter!!! It never seems to fail as the coldness and darkness of winter days sets in that I feel so “slumpy” if you know what I mean. I will be bookmarking this for sure 🙂 Luckily I already do take an awesome probiotic supplement from Vidazorb that has helped our family in so many ways especially with our little boy’s Eczema. Now if I could just find a way to get into an exercise groove.
    .-= smilinggreenmom´s last blog ..Wordless Wed ~ nice legs! =-.

  9. Laura

    I love these tips. This Mom does need to take in a little added comfort so she can comfort the rest of the family.
    My recipe-A bath with candles and sipping some apple cider.
    Thank you! I really enjoy reading simple mom.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Coupon Websites For Estores =-.

  10. Amy Reads Good Books

    Love the list! For me, one “feel good” is yoga. I got out of the habit of going to class because I was very busy this fall. Now, I’m committing to going once a week in December.
    .-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday =-.

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  12. Rana

    Great list! I just got done making a big pot of potato soup. One of Tiffany’s recipes. It is wonderful. I like the idea of the essential oils throughout the house. I need the pick me up when I start to feel depressed. Hot baths and foot spas are my favorite in the winter.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday "Self-Portrait" =-.

  13. supreme

    ON my list is just sitting in my chair with only the Christmas tree lights on for light while sipping on a cup of warm vanilla flavoured milk while in my flannel jammies (after the kids are in bed of course!) Ahhhhhhh, peace and quiet.
    .-= supreme´s last blog ..London Drugs =-.

  14. Renee

    This is indeed a great list! I completely agree with everything here, everything! It’s terrific to come across someone “kindred” with thoughts on health and wellness. I might add for those who suffer from lack of light issues to ensure they add a stimulus to their days, and also due to shorter days in winter, increase the b vitamins because so many suffer from depression issues during this time of year. Thank you so much for posting this, passing it along to our married kids.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Kindred …. =-.

  15. jill

    Find ways to serve–volunteer, give, be aware of how you can meet needs here and around the world.

    Love that photo of the runner in the snow!!

  16. Laura

    Just reading the tip list made me feel good 🙂 Thanks for this post!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Thai Textiles =-.

  17. The Wonder of Christmas

    There are some really great tips here, thanks! I never knew that garlic oil could help prevent ear infections….good to know! 🙂
    .-= The Wonder of Christmas´s last blog ..Christmas Pictures to Color in =-.

  18. Emily

    Such a wonderful and well-written post. I work in nutrition so am so glad to see the emphasis on organic food. Here’s another tip for you – I’m concerned about what schools are using to disinfect for H1N1. Cleaning supplies are often more hazardous than the H1N1virus itself. Here are some resources to help parents determine what their schools are using, and what they should be using: H1N1 in Schools and Environmental Working Group Report on Schools It all starts with asking your school how often they clean it (EVERY DAY should be the answer!).

  19. Max

    Vitamin A and D-fish oil is good stuff. Vitamin D provides nutritive support for normal, healthy skeletal growth, strong bones and healthy calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Vitamin A provides nutritive support for healthy skin, bones and teeth

  20. Bankruptcy

    I think all the points are good and I like the 12th and the 3rd most. Well it is a good season to enjoy heat and in winter we can feel the real need of heat in life.

  21. Manhattan cosmetic dentist

    Very very nice post. Thanks for the great list. I always enjoy browsing your site 🙂

  22. Susan Weaver @ King Sleigh Bed

    Tip #11 is actually more important than people usually think. It is understandable the desire to make the best out of each day, and to have only a few hours of sleep in order to have more hours of fun or work. But that affects our general health condition and our memory, for example. So I think everyone should get a good bed and sleep for as long as possible.

  23. Felix C. Obrien

    Wow! Great list and tips to stay healthy. I am actually one of those people who get sick often but there’s an instrument that also helped me especially with my allergic reaction to dust. I would want to share what eased me through it. You can actually check out http://www.bestairpurifiersforallergies.org and see for yourself. Thanks!

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