Well, it's 7 degrees in New York today and I really don't even know what do with myself. These are the moments that I wish I had legitimate reasons to question why we live here other than "I don't like the weather" and "I miss Florida." We actually drove to dinner on Saturday night so that we wouldn't have to stand out in the cold to pray for a vacant cab or pay asenine Uber surcharges. I prefer not to leave the house when I can't feel my face, but we made an exception for Valentines Day (and I got to change from Uggs to Sexy Boots in the car, so it was a win all around).
Last week I was the sickest I've been since I had the flu two years ago, and it got me to thinking about all of the precautions we can take to keep ourselves healthy during cold and flu season. Although I wasn't sick with either (I had a bad stomach bug) it was a good reminder that we need to do everything we can to keep our immune systems well and ourselves in tip top shape!
1. Put tissues to work beyond their intended use. Tissues are a necessity to have on hand for runny noses during winter, but they can also act as a great barrier when you have to use a piece of public equipment, like a phone or computer at work or elsewhere. Wrap one around the receiver or layer one on top of the mouse. If people look at me like I'm crazy, so be it. And if you're filling up your gas tank anywhere it's not cold out (read: you're not wearing gloves) be sure to wrap a tissue around the pump.
2. BYOP: Bring Your Own Pen. Think about how many times a day you use a strangers pen. For some of you it may be zero; but if you're dining out, running to the bank, or signing credit card receipts on the reg, carrying your own pen is a great way to keep germs at bay. Throw one (capped!) in your purse next time you head out the door.
3. Carry hand sanitizer, but don't depend on it. I've always loved hand sanitizer; I'm something of a germophobe and so the ability to cleanse my hands on the go is pretty rad. But the truth is, nothing beats a good hand washing with hot water. (Side note: I used to raid the 5 for $5 hanny sanni shelves at Bath & Body Works, but these days I veer towards more natural brands. I love The Honest Co. & EO - the skinny vials are perfect for smaller handbags and clutches.)
4. Go to bed earlier. If you're living somewhere snowy and cold, you know how very short the daylight can be. Take advantage of the dark by getting into bed earlier at night. Waking up before the sun rises sucks way less when you've had a good night's sleep.
5. Wipe down gym equipment before use. It can't hurt. I always wipe down afterward and I'm sure you do too but you can't assume that the person before you was as considerate. I also hand sanitize immediately after hopping off the indoor cycle.
6. Keep your gloves on indoors as much as possible. I keep mine on for subway rides, while I'm using money machines and at the automated check out at CVS. Basically if a tissue isn't appropriate (see no. 1) I keep my gloves on to touch any and all public equipment.
7. Take vitamins! This is something you should be doing all year round, but if you're not, now is the perfect time to start. I take a women's multivitamin, and now that I eat less meat than I used to, I take an iron supplement daily as well.
8. Keep your feet and ankles warm. I am flabbergasted every time I see a woman walk into the gym in capris and sneaks when its 20 degrees out. Yes, I can appreciate keeping cool while you're getting ready to sweat, but the truth is that if your feet and ankles aren't warm, the rest of you probably isn't, either. For this reason I always wear boots and a second pair of pants to the gym. Yes, it's a pain in the you know what, but I'd rather be peeling off layers inside than uncomfortably chilly while I'm outside.
9. Spice up your life. Utilize different spices in your cooking (or takeout!) to your advantage. Tumeric can act as a decongestant, for example, and Cumin contains Vitamins A and C, that can help ward off colds. I like to sprinkle cinnamon on my coffee: one teaspoon packs as much antioxidants as a serving of blueberries!
10. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This old adage actually carries some weight: apples are packed with phytonutrients that fight damage from free radicals. Apples also contain Boron, which supports healthy bones and Vitamin C, which is an immune system booster.
How do you stay healthy in the winter?