1. Eat mindfully
It is a great time to enjoy seasonal foods, especially vegetables. Foods like onion, celery, garlic, and mushrooms are found in many holiday dishes and are rich in phytochemicals, which aid immune system function and are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber. In the winter season, we are more susceptible to viruses like the flu and coronavirus variants, including Omicron, so adding color to our diets with fruits like pomegranate and blueberries will help support our immune system and can also boost your mood.
2. Get moving
During this time of year, it is very important to maintain a level of physical activity and movement in your daily routine, and that can look different for everyone. It can be a walk, yoga, or a 5K race. Be sure to choose whatever will bring you joy, and it’s an added bonus if it is outdoors! Days are shorter in the wintertime, so any extra sunlight exposure is beneficial. When our retinas are exposed to light, it sets our circadian rhythm, which will affect all areas of our life, including food-seeking behaviors, sleep, and mood.
3. Prioritize sleep
The goal is not just getting sleep, but getting enough sleep, which is about seven to nine hours at night. This is important for your immune system and metabolic health. Adequate sleep also helps lower risk for heart disease and high blood pressure and helps with focus, memory, and cognitive processing, which can be in overdrive this time of year. Most importantly, it will reduce anxiety and emotional distress and helps with the interpretation of social cues.