GREENSBURG — Although the winter season is exciting, it also tends to be a busy and stressful time of year for most individuals. Holidays, shopping and family gatherings can become very overwhelming and time-consuming. At times, people find themselves too busy to focus on the important things, like their own health.
As the holidays wind down, and people are recovering from all the chaos brought on by the winter season, they find that their motivation to stay active is lacking. Some experience depression or feelings of anxiousness over expenses that accumulated throughout the holidays. Others let diet and healthy eating habits fall by the wayside.
Year after year, we seem to see a trend of shorter days and colder weather leading to less motivation to stay healthy and fit, which then leads to weakened immune systems causing individuals to be at greater risk of developing illness or injury. No wonder they call it the winter blues.
Luckily, there are many tips and tricks to staying healthy, fit and safe throughout the year.
Diet and Exercise
Diet doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you can only eat fruits and vegetables or that you no longer can dine out. Diet means making a conscious effort in watching what you consume and how much you are consuming of it. Appropriate portion sizes are one of the biggest keys to success when trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Most people in the U.S. tend to suffer from a thing we call “portion distortion.” We serve too big of portions, we consume too big of portions, and we think that is the right way to eat. Unfortunately, that isn’t they case and it tends to show as our nation’s obesity rates are increasing year after year. The best tip to a healthier lifestyle is to eat in moderation.
Whether its diet or exercise, it is important to start slow and not set yourself up for failure. Set SMART short-term goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). It is important when setting a goal that you know specifically what you’re going to do, how you are going to do it and what your desired expectations will be for yourself. A goal must be measureable to determine success or improvement based on the behavior change implemented. Attainability is the key to success. Set goals that are within your reach and not too far out. A realistic goal means challenging yourself, but understanding that results aren’t going to happen overnight. Finally, set a deadline for yourself of when you plan to achieve your goal. It will give you something to look forward to.
Mental Health and General Wellness
The winter season can also bring on an increase in depression, which may lead to a decline in overall mental health. Though many people may experience mild forms of depression or sadness due to lower levels of sunlight, there are an estimated nine million Americans chronically affected by the change in season. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and it is significantly more common in women than men.
When our mental well-being isn’t where it should be, we become even more susceptible to stress and illness. It is as important as ever in the winter to take a holistic approach to wellness, not only for our diets and physical exercise, but for our mental well-being, too.
Planning for a Safe, Healthy and Fit Winter
Many of these tips are easy to implement in your daily life if you add them in slowly. And assessing your own health and well-being during the winter will help you to find your own areas for improvement. Stay informed on the best health and wellness practices by browsing our Spirit of Women Health and Wellness website at https://dcmh.shghealth.com. It has a lot of helpful health information to keep you healthy and well throughout the entire year!