Living Better in the Winter

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Let’s face it, it is a challenge to just walk out of the house. It is both physically and  mentally challenging to make it day by day. Here are a few tips to help fortify your body, mind and soul for the journey through winter.

Add yogurt to your diet.

Sometime you need something cool, creamy and sweet..think low fat yogurt. It satisfies our craving for a smooth and creamy treat while fortifying bones and reducing high blood pressure. You can’t ask for more than that in one little carton.

Beat the cold sores.

Whether you call them cold sores or fever blisters, they are still unsightly and painful. If you are prone to having them, you know how hard they can be to be get rid of them. They say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and in the case of cold sores, that can be truly. Consider doing the following: 

-Eat sensibly. There seems to be a link between cold sores and too much alcohol and sugar.

-Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep coupled with stress can add up to a nasty cold sore.

-Keep an eye on who you are kissing. You should probably being doing this already considering it is flu season. If someone has a cold sore…don’t kiss them! The same is true for you. If you are sporting a cold sore, don’t kiss anyone.

-Wash your hands. As stated above, it is flu season but the herpes virus that causes cold sores can also be spread by contact.

-Don’t share drink containers or any food utensils like spoons or forks. Virus germs cling to such items.

Get moving.

Just because the weather is cold, you can still get outside to exercise if you follow these few tips: 

-Dress for the weather: dress in layers. Not only is it necessary it is down right dangerous if you don’t. If you are serious about going outside on a daily basis (or if you have to just to get to work) you might consider investing in “body armour” which many professional football players wear under their uniforms. I became aware of it when my son starting playing high school football in the cold Midwestern fall weather. It is an undergarment made with spandex that helps to generate and maintain body heat. You can purchase one at any sports store or on line but I have also seen them at the large discount stores…and for much less. Over that, place a loose fitting cotton shirt that will help keep the heat close to the body while wicking away any moisture. Finally, you will need an outside layer (like a jacket) that will protect you from the elements. Don’t forget to cover your head and hands. Feet, and especially toes, need protection too. Dig out those boots and socks! One last thought: if any part of you gets wet, change your clothes. It doesn’t matter how many layers of clothes you are wearing, once wet, they are useless.

Feed you mind.

Since cabin fever is as much a mental thing as it is a physical problem, try to exercise your brain. Consider learning something new. Whether it is a sport, a craft or just something new about a subject that interests you, your brain will thank you and so will your mood and waistline. Learning something new helps to keep you interested in the world. Visit your library for ideas. Dig out those books that you’ve always wanted to read. Host a book club. Host a craft group and finish up all those projects you’ve never gotten back to finish. Meeting with people and having creative, constructive things to do will beat the cabin fever blues and help you to enjoy the winter.

Extend yourself to others.

Sometimes stepping outside our own world and helping others can make our lives better too. Volunteer at a food pantry or a local nursing home. Like children? Offer to listen to a child read. Volunteer at the library and read to children or elderly. Look in your local newspaper for opportunities to be of assistance to others. It will stimulate your mind and warm your heart better than any sweater or jacket could.

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