Keeping Your Mind and Body Healthy During the Winter

February 11, 2021

Like many mammals, humans tend to “hibernate” in the winter. While our bodies seemingly tell us to stay inside, eat and sleep more during the winter, there are simple steps we can take to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

Managing Stress through Mindfulness and Breathing

We all have regular daily stressors; health conditions, what’s going on with family and friends and financial stressors. The COVID-19 pandemic has added yet another layer of stress to manage.

Reducing and avoiding unnecessary worries can improve mental health, allowing us to think clearly, make good decisions and maintain good relationships – all of which are vital to happiness.

One of the easiest and cost-effective ways to improve mental health is deep abdominal breathing paired with mindfulness.

Through mindfulness, we pay attention to the present moment without judging and concentrate on our environment and what we are thinking or feeling emotionally and physically. Try to:

  1. Sit comfortably with your posture aligned and eyes open or closed.
  2. Notice your breath and where you feel yourself inhale and exhale.
  3. Notice where you have tension or discomfort that may be relaxed or neutral.
  4. Notice thoughts or feelings as they flow through you. Let them flow in and out, just like your breath. When the mind gets distracted or wanders, simply invite the mind/attention back to your breath.
  5. Practice this for as long/often as you want. Ten minutes daily is shown to improve mental health.

Proper Nutrition and Diet

A healthy diet impacts both physical and mental health — include lots of vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates while limiting sugar intake. Consult a physician or dietitian for advice on a healthy diet customized for your needs.

Get Good Sleep

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night is beneficial for brain function, emotion regulation, decision making and more.

Regular sleep patterns improve overall health and wellness. To get started, try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends.  

Physical Activity Helps Heart Health and Stress

Any activity that increases your heart rate feeds your body with oxygen and nutrients and reduces stress.

Many people stay active through walking, stretching or strength training. Any of these activities support your joints and muscles, help reduce stress and improve overall health.

Talk to your physician before starting a new exercise regimen to make sure it is appropriate for you.

Self-Care Is Not Selfish

It’s important to take care of ourselves and recognize that self-care is the opposite of selfish.

When our compassion bank is empty and we keep giving what we don’t have, illness is more likely to occur.

These tips can help keep your mind and body healthy through the winter and all year around.

To schedule an appointment for physical rehabilitation or the Good Shepherd Psychology Group, call 1-888-44-REHAB or request an appointment online.