3 Steps to Stay Healthy in a CNY Winter
With the outbreak of mumps on the Syracuse University campus, many students and parents are wondering how to stay healthy this winter. As you’re gearing up for the cold, here are three steps to keep you healthy and happy this winter.
The Real Life Saver: Hand-Washing
While it may seem obvious, hand washing is the most important and simple step anyone can take to stay healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control, most people do not properly wash their hands. On college campuses, germs are easily spread via door handles, public keyboards in computer labs, and through sharing drinks.
Having clean hands is essential to prevent the spread of germs. You should wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Scrubbing your palms, the back of your hands, in between your fingers and underneath your nails is important to wash away potential illness.
Make it fun, rather than counting, sing the sing the Happy Birthday song or the ABC song – twice. You’ll know you are in the safe zone.
Tip: Hand sanitizers really aren’t that healthy for you. You’re better off washing your hands.
Final tip: use a paper towel to open the door when you leave the bathroom – just in case the people before you didn’t wash their hands so well.
Eat & Rest Well
Eating fresh vegetables and fruits help build a healthy immune system, as well as a regular sleep schedule. A healthy immune system is essential to warding off illness.
Make sure to get your daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals from healthy food sources: fresh veggies of many colors, a nice hint of fruits, as well as lean-proteins. These foods will nourish your body and keep your immune system in optimal shape, ready to fend-off illness.
Hydrate. Water flushes toxins out of the body and helps your mental state stay alert and focused. Dehydration can contribute to feeling fatigued, so avoid coffee and drink water. The amount of water varies for each individual. Avoid junk food. Any food that comes in a can or box, or that is fried or sweet, compromise your immune system’s ability to keep you healthy.
Get an adequate night’s rest, every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, young adults 18 to 25 years of age require seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The body heals and recovers in sleep. Having a regular sleep pattern keeps your body healthy and contributes to mental well-being.
Lack of sleep not only compromises your body’s ability to fight off illness, but also your ability to focus and feel happy – this will not help your grades.
Avoid all-nighters because it may have negative effects on your body.
Nutrition tip: take a daily multi-vitamin to ensure that you are getting your daily dose of nutrients to stay healthy. This does not replace a healthy diet and adequate sleep.
Demanding school schedules and projects may have you all stressed out, but make sure you take time to de-stress. Stress is a leading cause of many illnesses, and it weakens your body’s ability to fight off illness.
Not only does eating and resting well help you handle stress, but exercise, meditation, and even smiling, will help you to curb your stress. Make sure to get some regular exercise three to five times a week. Exercise helps to strengthen your immune system and reduce stress.
Syracuse has very limited sunlight during the winter month that can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The lack of sunlight can make an individual feel depressed. Make sure to get outdoors when there’s sunshine, even sitting in the sunlight in a window helps. Fresh air and company with others also helps to lift your mood. If you’re unable to shake the depressed feeling, make sure to get in and see your doctor.
Yoga, meditation and the art of mindfulness (staying present and aware without overly reacting) are all known to increase the feeling of a positive mood. Science shows that the simple act of smiling helps you feel better. And if you need to get out of town, here are some affordable travel ideas for you.
Tip: Engage in activities that lift your mood
Final Tip: Smile.