Written by Aeryn McMurtry
October marks the beginning of fall weather: shivering cold and beautiful colors on all the trees around these Virginia mountains. Cold weather brings sweaters, cuffing season and, unfortunately, the inevitable health problems. Here are some tips to get ahead of the curve.
If you’re one of those people who finds themselves hiking or doing some other sort of outdoor physical activity, don’t forget to eat a hearty meal before you head out. Eating a salad or keeping it low-cal might seem like the healthier option, but remember that your body has to burn more calories in cold weather to keep you warm. No shame in tucking into a good stew or pasta dish before your next nature walk; your body will thank you.
Drink more water that you think you should. Summer is obviously a good time to keep hydrated, but in the winter, keeping more water in your system can help keep your skin from getting dry and rough. It’s the same premise as using lotion, just from the inside out.
It might seem obvious because of the general discomfort, but try to avoid going outside in cold air with wet hair, especially if your hair is thick. This will keep your scalp from drying out and getting irritated. Imagine that dry scaliness of winter hands on your scalp. Yuck!
It’s totally tempting, but try to avoid using the cold as an excuse to eat those more indulgent comfort foods. Weight gain in the winter is typical because most people cut down on exercise in favor of staying cozy, but that doesn’t mean you should let your diet get lazy. As mentioned above, there are obvious exceptions, but generally it’s a good idea to keep eating as healthy as you can.
Don’t forget about your mental health! Seasonal depression is very real and can affect you when you least expect it. If you find yourself staying in your room more than usual, make sure you keep your space clean. Nothing organizes a cluttered mind like keeping physical areas clean and calming. Don’t slack on laundry, and go through your backpack every once in a while. Fall break might have just ended, but exam season gets closer every week. That may seem stressful, but putting in the work to get yourself ready now will take a mental load off when all those papers start piling up.