As Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December approaches, it’s a timely reminder to make sure we’re looking after our own and our family’s health this winter.
Next month will be the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for all nations to provide for their citizens affordable, quality healthcare.
There are lots of ways you can make sure you get through the winter without a sniffle or worse. Your body may be begging you to stay indoors and under the duvet in the coldest months, but here’s how to inject it with some energy.
Eat plenty of fruit and veg
This is something you should do all year round of course. But, it’s particularly crucial during winter when all you feel like doing is sitting in the house in front of the fire.
Dietician Victoria Taylor @runveetee says: “The cold weather and long nights can increase the temptation to comfort eat in the winter. Resist the urge but if you are really hungry between meals, try a cup of homemade vegetable soup or a bowl of stewed fruit to fill the gap.”
At least five pieces of fruit and veg a day is the standard to aim for, according to the NHS. Root vegetable soup is comforting and warming in winter, and by using carrots, swede and parsnips – that’s already three of your five a day in one yummy bowl!
Do new family activities together
The winter is a great time to go ice skating, particularly in an outdoor rink (and Christmas markets often have one of these). That way, you’ll have fun and exercise at the same time. Or, how about family skiing (and lessons) if you can afford it?
Biking through forests and parks is great during the winter months as you’ll soon get warm on the bike and afterwards you can enjoy a hot chocolate in a local café. Beach walks too can be lovely in winter – you might even be lucky enough to get the whole beach to yourself.
Doing exercise together as a family is best as it means no one is sitting indoors getting grumpy and ready to start an argument.
Prevent winter tiredness
The decreasing daylight hours make us feel more tired and want to sleep more. And that’s why it’s even more important than usual to get out and make the most of the daylight for at least one hour every day. It will help to keep your circadian cycle in balance too.
It’s also a good idea to try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. That’s another way to keep your body in rhythm.