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3 Steps to Stay Healthy in a CNY Winter

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.

Hand typing on keyboard

Germs are most commonly spread by hand. Photo credit: James McKinven

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.


fruit filled breakfast

Healthy balance of vegetables, fruit and water keep you healthy. Photo credit: Jannis Brandt at 

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.


Take time for you. Photo credit by Lesly Juarez

Reduce Stress

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.


About The Author

Michelle Schenandoah

An inspirational writer, speaker and thought leader, Michelle Schenandoah is a member of the Oneida Indian Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She and her husband, Neal Powless founded Indigenous Concepts Consulting to incorporate Indigenous perspective into mainstream culture to raise a new consciousness of peace in the world. She has served as an economic and governance strategist for Native American Nations across the country and has an extensive legal background in tax and business law. She also has substantial experience working in the non-profit sector and served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Seven Dancers Coalition, a sanctioned 501(c)(3) by the Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women. Schenandoah holds a JD and LL.M. in Taxation from New York Law School and a BA from Cornell University. She lives in her ancestral homelands with her husband and their beautiful children.


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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