People love their seasons. Some prefer their seasons warm and vibrant, some prefer a whimsically frigid wonderland free of allergens and mosquitoes (may they burn in Hell). Regardless of your preference of season, each time of the year brings with it pros and cons.
Winter has always been an inherently tougher period of the year for everyone. Everything takes longer to get ready for, we're constantly worried if the itch in our throat is from thirst or death, and showering in the morning genuinely feels like a punishment. This winter looks even more challenging coming off a polarizing presidential election heading right back into economic uncertainty compounded by a life-altering pandemic.
For us here at ExecuTalks, it's not enough to simply survive. We like to make sure we all have information and resources needed to excel no matter what time of year it is. Read on for tips on how you can go from surviving the winter, to physically thriving in it.
1. Get a good snooze (not the button)
While you sleep, your brain goes through several cycles of deep and light sleep broken into two categories: NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement). Completing all stages of your sleep cycle is crucial to your brain health as it's the alternating between these stages of sleep that allows your brain to restore and heal itself. The successful completion of all stages of sleep is known as restorative sleep. Restorative sleep lends many benefits to the human body beyond neurological such as boosting your immune system, improving your memory, preventing unhealthy weight gain, and strengthening your heart.
To give yourself the best chance at a full restorative sleep, here are some simple tricks to use.
Don't use screens in your bed. If you have a TV in your room, remove it.
Once the sun goes down, switch your screens to a warmer tint or "night mode". This removes the majority of blue light from your screens as blue light stimulates the retinas keeping you from getting sleepy. Laptops, cell phones, even TVs can be altered to remove blue light.
Don't lay in your bed throughout the day. You want your brain to understand that when it finds itself in your bed, it's time for nothing else except sleep.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time, consistently.
Don't drink caffeine past noon. Eliminate tobacco. Build a consistent exercise routine, but don't exercise within 4 hrs of sleep.
Invest in a comfortable bed for you. You'll spend a third of your life in it, it's worth it.
I mentioned earlier how winter creates an environment favorable to spreading sicknesses. Pathogens thrive in colder environments, especially airborne illnesses that can linger in the air for longer periods of time increasing likelihood of transmissions. Heading into the 2nd winter of a global pandemic, historically worse than the first winter, of a bio aerosol-level virus makes it even more urgent that we nourish our bodies as best we can to prepare ourselves as best we can.
To optimally prepare your body for this winter, here's what to indulge and avoid.
Vitamin D may be one of the most crucial nutrients you can ensure you have enough of this winter. It helps stave off seasonal affective disorder and weight gain while also acting as an octane-like fuel for your immune system, which will be critical to this winter. Standing in the sun for 15 min at it's peak can load us up with 20,000 IUs of VitD.
Vitamin C has long had the myth of sickness-prevention tied to it. Sorry if I'm bursting any bubbles here, but it acts more as a symptom reducer once you've become sick. It's still imperative to your recovery that you eat enough VitC in citrus fruits, leafy greens, and even bell peppers.
Iron produces hemoglobins which transport oxygen to your muscles while also helping regulate your body temperature.
Vitamin E will keep your skin healthy and prevent dryness, itching, or flaking.
B vitamins are mainly responsible for the conversion of your food to the energy you need to keep working towards your goals.
Stay away (as much as possible) from sugar, refined grains, simple carbs, processed meat/foods, and alcohol. These are all shown to weaken your immune system and potentially starve your body of other vital nutrients through your microbiome.
3. Stay Informed
Regularly check bulletins from scientific institutions to stay up to date on how best to protect each other. This will contain useful info like any significant virus mutations and new covid-19 hotspots.
Wear a mask everywhere you go, invest in a face shield to protect your eyes from viral droplets that can survive lingering in the air much longer due to lower temperatures.
Socially distance, don't leisurely air travel, don't gather in large groups especially in small areas.
Don't make unnecessary trips if there's coronavirus actively spreading in your community.