How to keep your Mind and Body Healthy during the Winter

The winter months provide a number of difficulties for many of us. It might be tough to find desire to undertake activities that appear to be simpler in the summer. Spending too much time at home might have a detrimental impact on your mental and physical well-being. International students, who face a unique set of problems, may be more affected by these consequences. We’re looking at many strategies to keep your mind and body healthy over the winter months to help you beat the winter blues.

Walk Once a Day

People spend less time outside as the weather becomes cooler. For some, this means more time binge-watching Netflix and nibbling on chips on the couch. Allowing yourself time to unwind is crucial, but it shouldn’t take up the majority of your time. Consider taking up a new interest instead. Hobbies can provide people a sense of accomplishment and a purpose to work towards, therefore enhancing their mental condition and providing joy to their days.

Establishing a walking plan with a friend is one method to make your walks more enjoyable. Combining physical activity with social interaction can increase self-esteem, stave off despair, and improve bad moods. If you prefer to walk alone, take a stroll through your new city while listening to your favorite album or podcast. Either way, be sure to bundle up before heading out!

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Pick Up a Hobby

Make a daily commitment to go for a stroll (unless your local weather advisory recommends against it). This may appear to be a poor idea for getting some exercise during the winter months. However, evidence suggests that even 15 minutes of brisk walking each day can significantly improve your physical and mental health. Walking improves your mood through increasing blood flow to both the body and the brain. Improved sleep, weight loss, and enhanced stamina and energy are just a few of the major advantages of walking. Not to mention that it’s completely free and can be done from anywhere!

Science has proven that having a pastime has major health benefits. A hobby can help you relax and de-stress while also improving your overall health. When choosing a hobby, go for something that will provide you happiness in the near run.

Consider something you enjoyed doing as a child as a starting point. Snowboarding, cooking, art, ice skating, or photography are all possibilities. Filling your time with activities that bring you joy is an important step in maintaining your mind and, depending on the interest, your body healthy during the winter months.

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If you’re comfortable with it and your country’s COVID regulations allow it, consider volunteering. Volunteers benefit not only the communities they serve, but they also benefit their own mental health. In a study published in the United Kingdom in 2020, experts discovered that people who volunteer feel more fulfilled in their life and have better overall health than those who do not volunteer.

As an international student, volunteering is a great way to improve your mental health, help those around you, and meet people. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, take the following steps to get started:

  1. Identify the causes you are passionate about.
  2. Consider your knowledge, availability, and skill set.
  3. Research volunteer opportunities at your school or in your community.
  4. Check out local volunteering websites.
  5. Learn the expectations of the volunteer position.
  6. Apply for the position.
  7. Follow up with the organization after you apply. (Remember, charitable organizations are often run by volunteers who don’t work full-time, so they may take a few days to respond.)

Whether you spend your time volunteering at animal shelters, retirement homes, art galleries, or coaching a sports team, you may find that helping those in need will, in turn, help you meet your needs.

Seek Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as “winter depression,” is brought on by the transition from warmer to colder seasons. SAD accounts for 10% of all depression cases in Canada, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

If you think you may be impacted by SAD, be proactive in your treatment of it. To do so, you must first be able to recognize the common symptoms. Here are a few of them:

  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Experiencing low energy levels
  • Feeling depressed most days
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Experiencing problems with sleeping 
  • Feeling agitated or sluggish

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you should get therapy to assist you get through the next colder months. Light therapy is a widely used treatment that has been shown to help persons with SAD. Before beginning light therapy, see a doctor or other health professional, as this treatment may have side effects. Light treatment entails sitting near an artificial light source that causes a chemical change in the brain, improving mood and alleviating SAD symptoms. More than half of those suffering from SAD find considerable relief from light therapy.

Make use of the suggestions above to keep your mind and body in good shape throughout these darker and colder months!