Staying mentally and physically healthy...

Staying mentally and physically healthy during the short, cold days of winter

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By Maryam Sheikh

Chilly nights, fluffy snow, and cozy blankets. It’s wintertime! While the winter season is a great one, it can also be difficult to get through. Short and cold days can hinder motivation and wellbeing. However, prioritizing your physical and mental health can help you make the most of the season. This year, we’re facing a winter like no other given the pandemic. Even so, there are a lot of ways you can take care of yourself.

There are still many ways to stay active this winter! Though you may not be able to go to gyms or in-person fitness classes, you can still find time to move your body thanks to technology. There are plenty of YouTube channels that provide easy and convenient home workouts for you to follow. If you need motivation, try asking your family members or friends to join you in a fitness challenge. That way, you can exercise and have fun with your loved ones at the same time. A few channels that I gravitate towards include MadFit, Emkfit, and The Studio by Jamie Kinkeade. These channels offer a variety of home workouts, from HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to themed dances. I’ve gotten a few of my friends to join me on Zoom calls to do workouts and I can assure you that it is a great way to keep in touch with others and take care of your body simultaneously.

Plan activities that you can look forward to! The holidays are a great time to set a winter routine for yourself. Give yourself some time each week to participate in an activity that is not school or work-related. Some items on my to-do list for this break include tackling a reading list, trying out new holiday recipes, making care packages for my friends, having virtual movie nights with my friends, and spending time with my siblings.

Though the days are short, nature is still beautiful during this season! Aim to get outside even if it is just for a short walk every day. This will give you a chance to appreciate the snow and scenery while getting a breath of fresh air. You can even plan socially distanced walks with your friends so that you can catch up and sip warm drinks together.

Sleep is important! It can be difficult to maintain a healthy sleep schedule during the winter, but trying to sleep and wake up at the same time each day can do wonders for your mental health. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can also improve mood, stabilize energy, and help you be more productive during the day.

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to handle winter on your own. That is why it is integral to your health to reach out to your family members and friends and form a support network. There are also a lot of virtual resources in case you feel comfortable talking to someone else. A helpful website I’ve come across is mindyourmind.ca which is a website that compiles mental health resources for easy access. This winter is very different from any other, but I know that we can get through it together!

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