As the height of winter approaches, staying healthy becomes a big concern. As reported by the CDC, the months of January and February are actually the peak months for flu cases in the United States. From slight sniffles to full-out colds, being sick is the last thing any Smart Girl (or anybody) wants to happen do them! Here are some tips for staying healthy throughout winter.
Stay hydrated. The Mayo Clinic suggests that women drink up to nine cups of fluids per day. Water is essential for a body to work properly, and having a low intake of water can hurt your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. Also, try to drink more straight up water than soda and sports drinks. While these drinks may be good for energy, they often can contain sugars and other compounds that can leave you run-down later!
Keep lots of tissues nearby. Whether you will be the one using them or not, tissues are crucial to staying healthy during flu season. Not only will tissues help keep everyone else’s germs from you, you can protect others from getting a cold if you have one. Have a box or two of tissues around your home, and carry a pocket pack when you go out.
Sharing is not okay! Flu season is one time where it is not okay to share. Sharing water bottles, food, and drinks may seem like a nice thing to do, but in reality, you could be receiving (or spreading) viruses and bacteria. The downside about not sharing is that it can make things a little awkward. Have your friend group make an agreement not to share or ask to share during flu season so that no one gets their feelings hurt.
Stay calm. Too much stress leads to an overall weaker immune system, which can lead to illness. Take time to de-stress and calm down, especially during this season. Taking a couple of minutes to relax and calm your mind will have great effects for your body. Watching a movie, reading a book, or meditating are all great ways to reduce stress to help your body out!
Get some sleep. Your body needs time to energize and rejuvenate after a long day of school and homework, so getting a lot of sleep is crucial. Set a “bedtime” for yourself, and hold yourself to a schedule for your homework so you’re not staying up too late. Also, make sure that you get actual deep sleep. Deep sleep is the type of sleep where your brain activity lowers dramatically, and blood is redirected to your muscles, so it is an important component to keeping a healthy lifestyle.
Watch what you eat. What you put into your body is what you get out of it, and this holds especially true during cold and flu season. You need your body to be a peak performance, so a healthy diet is key. Citrus fruits, vegetables, milk, and nuts all have vitamins essential to a healthy body and immune system. Try to lower your intake of junk food, which can leave you feeling run-down. If getting essential vitamins is a concern, look into taking a multivitamin to keep everything on track!
Cold and flu season is unfortunately an annual occurrence, but hopefully these tips will keep it from affecting you too much! Stay healthy and Stay Smart!