Compared to much of the country, Florida is a pretty nice place to call home in the winter months. However, winter does affect everyone.
Here are five health effects that can be brought on by winter, and how to manage them.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Its acronym, SAD, says it all. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very distinct type of depression, marked with extreme sleepiness, increased appetite, a sense of hopelessness and social withdrawal. In its most severe cases, doctors use cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise and light therapy. This disorder is triggered by the change in daylight. In the winter the extended non-daylight hours can lead to a growing depression. You can help stave off the effects by spending time outdoors or finding indoor areas bathed in natural light.
Dry eyes and skin
While we sometimes cringe at the humidity of July and August, that humidity keeps our eyes and skin hydrated. Cooler air carries less water and can affect our bodies over time, particularly the eyes and skin. Artificial tears and increasing your intake of water and fresh fruits can give relief to your eyes during the winter. Keeping your skin healthy has two components, one you may not expect. Running a humidifier and/or using moisturizer can prevent cracks and dry skin. You may be surprised to learn that using sunscreen is important during the winter. While we aren’t as prone to sunburn, UV rays do dry the skin and can cause as much damage.
Many of us aren’t as responsible about healthy eating during the winter months. Holidays in November and December can kick off poor eating habits, which are often carried throughout the winter. Try to keep healthy foods available and avoid evening snacking. Staying indoors on cool Florida evenings makes the refrigerator for two convenient. Find after dinner activities that don’t include food to help maintain a healthy diet and stable weight.
Whether you have a specific exercise regimen or not, being more active in the summer is common. This winter find activities that keep your body moving. Don’t skip evening walks, simply move them indoors. Replace your yard projects with indoor crafts or home improvements. And if you do exercise regularly, keep it up or even turn it up!
If you’re prone to migraines, winter may be more challenging. Some people are affected by changes in barometric pressure. Winter storms often affect barometric pressure and temperature swings that are more significant. Summer storms may bring a refreshing drop by 10° in temperature, but it’s not unusual during the winter for the temperature to plummet by 20° or 30° within 24 hours. Keeping track of your migraines using a headache diary can help you determine if these temperature and pressure changes are one of your triggers. Understanding the causes of your migraines is half the battle.
Keeping your mind and body healthy during the winter is often a matter of retaining good habits that are easier to maintain during the summer.