As the winter season approaches and before the cold settles in, it’s important to start thinking about how you’re going to stay healthy. This time of year brings seasonal illnesses and reduced activity due to spending more time indoors, which can both affect your well-being.
“When older adults take precautions during the winter season to be as healthy as possible, they reduce the risk of getting sick. Residents at The Merion benefit from our health services program, MerionCares, which creates a personalized plan for each resident so they can achieve and maintain their wellness goals,” said John Janco, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Merion, a senior living community in Evanston, Illinois.
John continued, “We hosted an event called WellFest on October 26, 2023 where people interested in learning more about health and wellness joined us to meet local health providers, attend educational presentations, and learn more about wellness programming at The Merion.”
No matter where you live, there are plenty of winter wellness tips you can follow to maintain your health so you can have a safe winter season.
How To Stay Healthy This Winter
Staying healthy in the winter is all about being proactive and implementing preventive measures. These tips will help you enjoy a safer and healthier winter season.
When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to want to sit on the couch. Whether you’re just not in the mood from the bleak weather, or you contend with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can cause symptoms of low energy and feeling listless, it can be hard to be motivated at this time of year.
But staying active during the winter months will help you maintain healthy energy levels and also improve your mood. While you may not be able to go outside for a walk, there are plenty of indoor workouts you can do.
Group classes, working out in the gym, and swimming in a heated indoor pool are all great ways to remain active in cold weather.
“It’s easy to remain active when you’re doing fun activities,” said John. “The Merion has a fitness center and activities room with darts, Skee-Ball, air hockey, pingpong, shuffleboard, and pool table so that our residents have plenty of options for how they want to stay active.”
Get Your Flu Shot
Winter is peak cold and flu season. For older adults with weakened immune systems, these illnesses can be debilitating. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to get the annual flu vaccine.
“For residents at The Merion, they enjoy our partnership with Dundee Pharmacy, a local, family-owned pharmacy that offers residents free prescription delivery, complimentary pill packs, and immunizations on-site. We highly encourage our residents to get the flu shot each year,” said John.
Wash Your Hands
Reducing the spread of germs is another essential part of maintaining your wellness in the winter. Washing your hands before meals and after you’ve been out of your home can help you limit your exposure to germs.
When washing your hands, use warm water and plenty of soap. If you want to make sure you’ve scrubbed long enough, try humming the ABCs to yourself.
Practice Skin Care
Winter is hard on your skin. The air is dry, and you’re washing your hands more frequently – which can dry them out. When you get dry skin, it can crack and, in some cases, get infected.
After you shower or wash your hands, apply lotion to keep everything moisturized and protected. Applying lip balm regularly will also protect your lips.
Stay Hydrated and Nourished
With winter come holiday treats and comfort food. While this is certainly a time when you can enjoy a holiday cookie, you’ll still need to make sure you’re giving your body what it needs.
You need to drink plenty of water each day and get the nutrition you need to protect your immune system. Leafy greens like spinach and kale can provide you with vitamins A, C, E and K, and are rich in magnesium, iron, calcium and more.
One of the easiest ways to get your hydration and nutrition is through winter soups. With bone broth as a base, you can add all kinds of protein and vegetables to the soup. You’ll have a warm, tasty meal to enjoy, and you’ll reap the nutritional benefits.
Get Ample Rest
Rest is an essential piece of the winter well-being puzzle. Getting enough hours of sleep has all kinds of benefits.
-Rest makes you feel energized and ready to take on the day – which will allow you to be more active.
-A consistent schedule of restful sleep will support your immune system, so it’s protecting you at full strength all winter long.
-Sleep also boosts your mental health. A study found that those who get less than six hours of sleep per night were 2.5 times more likely to report mental distress.
Connect With Family and Friends
While many of the tips have been about maintenance, this tip is about enjoying the season and the opportunities it brings. Connecting with your family and friends and enjoying your life is just as important to your emotional health and overall well-being.
When your grandchildren have a snow day, set up a Zoom call, and you can compare who’s getting more snow, or they can show you the snowmen they’ve built. You can plan a movie night and curl up with a cozy blanket while the winter wind blows outside. And, of course, at a senior living community like The Merion, you’ll always be surrounded by residents who will become fast friends.
Year-Round Health at The Merion
When the winter weather hits and you’d rather stay indoors, consider thinking about a senior living residence at The Merion.
Chicago seniors love the endless activities and events, and with our commitment to wellness, you know you’ll be taken care of. Contact us today to learn more about MerionCares and our health-focused lifestyle.