It’s bone-chilling cold, it’s super dry, it’s…quite miserable, to be honest! Winter can be a tough time to get through as the holiday high fades, fewer hours of sunlight cut the days short, and frigid temps take grip of the body.
Alas, you’ll need more than chicken noodle soup to cope with the harsh conditions during these winter months. Learn how to deal with it all by targeting the areas of the body that need extra TLC in winter.
What Does Winter Do to the Body?
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, January and February are the coldest months of the year, which can affect opportunities for getting fresh air and exercise. But this drastic temperature change can also impact your overall level of comfort and the stress placed on the musculoskeletal system – all that shivering can cause serious aches and pains!
Whether it’s a slight dip in temperature or a stark drop, kicking the heat on – even just a few hours – can fill the house with ultra-dry air. Combine that with the compounding cold and wind when you step outside, and it’s safe to say that winter can be cruel on the body.
Areas of the Body that Need Extra TLC in Winter
One of the keys to thriving throughout the winter is to anticipate the areas of the body that will need extra attention these months.
With so much dry air, it’s common for skin to become flaky, scaly, itchy, and generally lackluster in appearance. Areas with taut skin and a lot of movement, like knuckles, can even crack and bleed.
Get a head start by leveling up your moisturizing routine. Keep showers short – no more than 10 minutes – and lukewarm rather than boiling hot, as research shows that hot water can strip natural oils from the skin faster than lukewarm water. Also, don’t dare skip moisturizing afterwards.
It’s also a good idea to create a bedtime routine. Lathering on extra lotion for the areas that need it most – usually the hands, feet and elbows – is a great way to practice preventative care. Another simple way to keep skin healthy and strong? Stay hydrated!
Dry air can cause dry eyes. The key here is to nip dryness before it takes hold and leads to rubbing and redness that can’t be soothed. Sometimes the solution is as simple as wearing contact lenses for shorter periods of time and donning glasses instead. Being mindful of screen time and taking more frequent breaks is another way to reduce eye strain. But in some cases, a hydrating eye drop is needed.
Throat and Lungs
Dry air can also create a tickle in the back of the throat that leads to an ongoing cough – even for folks who don’t have a preexisting respiratory condition. Repetitive coughing can do serious damage to the windpipe and lungs, so it shouldn’t be ignored.
Coughing that’s triggered by dry air tends to be worse at night, so think about setting up a humidifier in the bedroom. This is an easy way to add moisture back into the air while you sleep, reducing the likelihood that you’ll wake up in a coughing fit. What to do during daytime? Stock up on soothing lozenges, honey and peppermints.
With winter comes targeted challenges for the body. Pay attention to these areas this winter to keep your wellness up to par.