This is a simple winter wellness guide for you and your family. We’ve got a multitude of tips, helps, ideas, and resources to keep your family well this winter season.
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1. Wash Your Hands
Train your kids and yourself to not touch your face or eat without washing your hands. We also wash our hands after being out in public. For example, we wash our hands right after grocery shopping.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse for hand sanitizing in the car, at the movie theatre, and anywhere on the go. Put a bottle of hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack — this is especially important for children who are moving from school desk to school desk during the day; use the hand sanitizer in between classes so that they are not picking up germs from the last five students who sat in that seat and touched the desk.
2. Add Vitamin C To Your Diet
There’s a bit of controversy over what vitamin C does or does not do for you regarding the common cold and your winter wellness. The Mayo Clinic says that Vitamin C won’t likely be preventing that winter cold. However, there is evidence that Vitamin C can strengthen your body’s immune system to keep that cold from dragging on and on.
At SMG we love natural sources of Vitamin C because of all the extra nutrients and fiber they provide — several easy tips on how to get that Vitamin C into your family’s diet here.
3. Reduce Your Stress
There is a connection between your immunity and stress. And while it may be different for each person, common helps include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and having positive social interactions. Knowing how to better manage the stress that is out of your control is also helpful.
If you’re struggling with a difficult child, we have tips here on parenting classes we like — it can really reduce your stress when you have parenting skills that reduce conflict at home.
4. Take Your Dog For A Walk
It depends on where you live as to how much you’d have to bundle up, but taking the dog for a walk or run is a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. If you can do it in the early morning when you get sunshine, even better. Our bodies need the bright light of the sun even more during the winter for health and energy reasons.
5. Go Sledding
Those of you who live near hills with snow can make weekend sledding a family tradition. It’s a great stress reliever and gets you moving with much-needed winter physical activity.
Even the local city park, if there’s a hill, can be a fun couple of hours of outdoor time. Here’s our simple sledding safety tips to make it as enjoyable as possible.
6. Enjoy A Winter Picnic
If you live in frigid winter areas, this hardly sounds like a possibility. But if you live in areas that get more intense summer heat, the wintertime tends to be fairly mild. And this is the best time for an outdoor picnic. Winter wellness is about finding that active downtime, just like during the summer. It gets your body moving and helps you obtain that much-needed sunshine.
For example, the Phoenix, Arizona area finds wintertime to be an exceptionally great time for outdoor activities due to the mild weather. Take advantage of the change in weather this time of year to explore parks, nature areas, and camping which would be less comfortable to do in the summer.
7. Avoid Holiday Overspending
This is another way you can reduce your stress during the winter months. There is a lot of consumer buying pressure this time of the year — if it’s not for lots of extra food, then it’s for gifts, parties, vacations, and all the product sales happening that try to lure you in and buy.
In our 7 Tips To Avoid Holiday Overspending, we tackle the main ways you can stay clear of drifting from your budget — and, in the process, make your winter holiday season more meaningful and less impactful on your pocketbook.
And here are some extra tips on how to reign in the spending on holiday gifts.
8. Plan Ahead When Traveling With Kids
It can be tough to travel with kids during the winter season. Again, this is about winter wellness stress reduction. You want to plan ahead and have lots of things to do in the car or on the airplane as you travel for vacation or see your loved ones during the holidays.
We outline a number of ideas here, which include less-thought-of tips like staying hydrated even though it’s the winter months.
9. Dial Down On The Holiday Treat Making
One thing we’re always short of during the busy winter and holiday season is time. And if we have to make holiday treats for a party or get together, it can stress you out because there often isn’t a lot of time to make those things.
On top of the time problem is that so many of the winter and holiday foods are full of sugar and unhealthy fats. And so our perfect solution is a more healthy treat that can be thrown together in a snap. Here’s our short list of ideas for you, including Cashew Carmel Dipped Apples and Banana Santas.
10. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is most often a winter danger. It happens when you are exposed to gas given off by gas furnaces, cars, charcoal grills, propane stoves, and portable generators. Here is what the Centers for Disease Control recommends as precautions.
11. Eat Those Veggies And Fruits
Certainly eating right with a moderate diet all year round is important. But in the winter, there are seasonal fruits and vegetables which are often on sale and really nutritious for you.
And this is really important because only about 10 percent of us are eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day . It is recommended that adults eat about 2 cups of fruits and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.
For ideas on those seasonal veggies and fruits for winter wellness, here’s a list for you.
Also, this is a how-to tutorial for how to stir steam your veggies — big time saver, and super delicious.
12. Try A Hair Mask
There are a multitude of recipes online for simple winter wellness hair masks that give your hair not only extra moisture but that can combat damaged hair and frizz. Here’s a list of DIY recipes to try, most have about 3 easy-to-find ingredients:
- Yogurt Protein Treatment — you’ll need Greek yogurt, shea butter, and blackstrap molasses
- Avocado Hair Treatment — the ingredients are an avocado, 2 eggs, honey, and coconut oil
- Tame the Winter Frizz Mask — banana, yogurt, honey
- Mayonnaise Mask — just regular egg-based mayo, for shine and moisture
- Egg Mask — egg and lemon juice, for protein conditioning and moisture
13. Use A Humidifier
Since running an indoor, forced-air heater (central heat) has a tendency to dry out the air in your home, consider using a humidifier to add moisture back in the air. It can help with dry hair, dry skin, and dry sinuses and throat.
14. Bond With Your Children Through Reading
Many adults have fond memories of their parents reading to them before bedtime. It’s a beautiful gift of precious evening time, imagination, and the calming voice of mommy or daddy. Use winter time with the shorter daytime hours and tendency to cocoon indoors as reading time with your children.
15. Teach Kindness To Your Children
Part of having a balanced life is to not just think about yourself. Serving others brings immense and satisfying joy into your life. And it’s something especially easy to do with your children during the winter season.
As an idea, you could do a kid giving project with fleece blankets — easy instructions here. This type of service project can be done by elementary age children and all ages above.
16. Keep Moving, Even If You’re Indoors
If you have challenging cold weather during the winter which keeps everyone indoors, look for ways to get your children moving and off the couch. Here are some ideas:
- Play hopscotch
- Have an indoor scavenger hunt
- Bounce around on a hooper — here’s what it looks like and how it works
- Explore in play tents, even those that connect to each other with tunnels
- Play in a ball pit
17. Make Snow Angels
Just run outdoors (all bundled up, of course) and jump into the snow. No equipment needed. Lay on your back and wave the legs and arms. Big arms! Get up and see what you have made. Kids will stay outdoors for at least an hour walking around, making snow angels, and exploring.
18. Build A Snowman
Engage your children’s imagination by making their own Frosty. Wet snow is often the best, to help it stick together. Siblings of all ages can work together to roll the snowman together. Be creative!
19. Make A Snow Fort
Instead of legos, have your little minds build a snow fort. How fun! Put the snow into a pile and slowly dig it out. Watch this video, made by a kid, to find out how it’s done. Hours and hours of creativity and budding engineering. Lots of digging. Lots of winter wellness exercise.
20. Talk With Your Spouse About Holiday Commitments
Two heads are often better than one. And this is no surprise when it comes to holiday planning. Talk over with your spouse about all the upcoming parties, to-do’s, gift lists, and visiting. See if it’s too much or if there are conflicting dates.
Look for ways to minimize commitments so that there’s downtime with the family, home time to do fun at-home traditions, and less running around. You can also coordinate together when it makes sense to go out with the kids versus when parents can trade off to give the other parent an easier time to run around and get things done. If you need a babysitter, here’s some helpful tips.
21. Take A Gratitude Moment Each Day
Make a habit of each day taking 2-3 minutes to think about what you’re grateful for. This tip is actually a lifestyle tip for year round, but it becomes even more important in the holidays. We tend to wish that a lot of things were happening the way we want and have less patience.
A daily gratitude habit helps to give you more patience and compassion. Gratitude can also help you avoid any holiday depression, for those who struggle in that way.
Lifestyle Coach Barnetta Bradley has a few thoughts about gratitude during the holidays:
22. Try Jump Roping
Jump roping is a perfect exercise option for busy moms who want all the aerobic benefits to keep you slim and healthy but without slogging through an hour to get it done (or more! if you go a gym). In fact, you can do an easy jump rope workout at home and burn twice as many calories as jogging. You’ll even strengthen your upper and lower body for your easy winter wellness routine.
23. Make Simple Resolutions For The New Year
24. Dress Kids in Layers
When it comes to winter health tips, Akron Children’s Hospital has advice for all parents during the cold winter months, and that is to dress your children in layers. It’s fun to play outdoors and super healthy for the exercise and sunshine. But, the tip is that if you’re comfortable in the layers you have on (as an adult), add another layer for the children. This is because, says the Hospital —
Kids are at greater risk for frostbite than adults, both because they lose heat from their skin more rapidly and because they’re often reluctant to leave their winter fun to go inside and warm up.
Frostbite needs medical attention from a health care provider. It also can be associated with hypothermia, a serious medical condition that requires emergency medical care.
25. Keep Everyone Hydrated
Most of us think about staying warm in the winter outdoor cold. But we often don’t think of hydration, which is a winter healthy habit.
Says McKay Gorse at Patient First —
Don’t think that you lose as much water during the winter? Take a look at your breath when you walk outside on a cold day. All of that steam is water vapor escaping your body with each breath.
Bundling up this time of year can also make us sweat more than usual when it’s time to get active. Since we dress in layers with turtlenecks and sweaters, our bodies work harder (by sweating) to cool us down. Shoveling snow, skiing, ice-skating, sledding or even building a snowman can be just as strenuous as summer activities. We work up a healthy sweat, and all of that lost water must be replaced.
Here’s ways you can entice your children to stay hydrated during the winter months, even if they don’t feel like it.