Even in Colorado where we have more than our fair share of sunshine, winter days can be cold and gloomy. It’s tempting to stay indoors and eat comfort food while vegging out on the couch, watching tv and hoping to avoid the latest cold or virus that’s going around.  What can we do to keep from falling into that all too familiar trap? Here are 6 tips for staying healthy and happy this winter:

1.WATER, WATER, WATER!  And more water…  Staying hydrated is always important, but even more so in the winter when airborne viruses are all around us.  Dehydration can weaken our immune systems by drying out the mucous membranes in sinus passages and lungs, making them more susceptible to infection.

Are you drinking enough water? While expert opinions differ on how much water intake is enough, in this case, MORE IS MORE.  A good guide is to take your body weight and divide it in half. That is the number of ounces of water you should be consuming daily. (For example, a 150 lb. woman should drink 75 ounces of water per day.) Drink up!

2. WASH YOUR HANDS.  Every time you use the restroom, before preparing or eating food, after touching a public object such as a doorknob, a shared computer, etc., wash your hands with soap and water. The Cleveland Clinic recommends washing for 20 seconds. If you need to time yourself, that’s roughly the amount of time it takes to sing the song, “Happy Birthday to You,” twice.  As an added safety measure, keep hands away from eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible. Those are the main entryways into our bodies for germs and viruses. And always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, then (you guessed it) wash those hands again!

3.GET ENOUGH SLEEP.  Most people need between 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Sleep is the magical time when our bodies are on maintenance and repair duty. We aren’t using our energy for walking, talking, working and eating, so our bodies can use the stored calories for healing and regenerating, especially helpful during winter months when we are under attack from all those nasty germs!

If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying that way, develop a bedtime routine that sends the signal to your body: time for rest.  Check that you are avoiding caffeine, electronics and bright lighting in the hours before bedtime. These are just a few things that can hinder good sleep.

4. EAT HEALTHY.  For the scoop on healthy eating, we called in our resident expert, Health and Stress Coach, Susan Robbins, owner of Healthy Awakening, LLC. Here’s what Susan has to say,

Cold and flu season is in full effect!  Can the right foods help you through illness?  Absolutely! We tend to go for junk food for that comfort feeling. One of the best things you can do is cut out the sugar.  Sugar adversely affects your immune system.  It feeds bacteria, and can deplete the immune powerhouses Vitamin C and D.  So, instead of indulging in sugary treats and fruit juice because you don’t feel well, load up on food like veggies, berries, bone broth, soothing herbal teas, and lots of water. They are full of nutrients, healing, and the water ensures proper hydration, which is so important. If your friend is sick, bring him/her some homemade chicken soup instead of candy and cookies. They will feel better and thank you!  If you’re dealing with sinus issues and mucus, omit dairy.  It is very mucosal, further aggravating those already-miserable congestion symptoms.  If you must have “milk” during your illness, change to almond or coconut milk (unsweetened!).  And..take time to REST and recover.”

Here’s a link to Susan’s Healthy Chicken Soup recipe:  https://www.healthyawakeninghhc.com/recipes/susans-creamy-soup-paleo/

5. EXERCISE. We know, we know! You are busy. Who isn’t? But here’s why you should make exercise a priority during the winter months: moderate activity increases circulation, moving healthy immune cells throughout your body. Who could argue with that?  

Work exercise into your path daily. Just 30 minutes is all it takes. If you can’t find 30 uninterrupted minutes, why not divide it up into 15/15 or 10/10/10? Walk the dog an extra lap, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park as far away as you can from the door, do jumping jacks or lunges while the commercials are on during your favorite show. Be creative!   

Try to exercise outside if possible to get some fresh air in your lungs. You’ll get your 30 minutes of exercise in and you’ll be avoiding the recycled indoor air that could be full of germs. It’s a win-win!

6. SEE YOUR CHIROPRACTOR. Of course, this is our favorite tip! As Dr. Brad says, “Chiropractic care helps your immune system stay healthy, which is so important in cold weather.” Chiropractic is not just for when you are in pain. Think of visiting the chiropractor in the same way you think about brushing your teeth. Once is good, but you need to do it regularly to get the desired results.

Misalignment of the spine, also called subluxation, causes stressful neural dysfunctions in the body that can trigger a weakened immune response. An adjustment brings the spine back in line so that the nerves can send the proper impulses to the body. Then your body can do its job of healing more effectively!

Call us today to schedule your next adjustment, and in the meantime, make sure you are following the tips above to stay healthy and happy, not just during the winter, but all year through. We think you’re worth it!