7 winter health tips for newcomers

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Dreading the winter with the shorter days and dark, long and cold nights? For some, it also signals the cold and flu season which could get you more down and depressed. If this is your first winter in Manitoba, don’t worry! The trick is to prepare before the onset of the season.

Here are eight tips that can help you ease those winter blues:

Do some fall cleaning

As early as September-October, dust off furniture, carpets, and check your windows for moulds. Dust and dirt can trigger allergies, nasal congestion, or asthma. Having a clean environment will help prevent respiratory problems. While you’re at it, you can start taking out (or buying) some of your winter gear, like jackets, boots and scarves, and re-arranging your closets. Seeing some of your awesome outfits may lift your mood and make you look forward to winter.

Boost your immune system

While the winter doesn’t directly cause colds and flu (since these are caused by viruses), we are more prone to getting sick because the cold weather affects our immune system. The best way to avoid this is to stock up on fruits and vegetables that are full of immune-boosting powers. Fruits in season in Manitoba like strawberries, grapes and oranges, as well as greens that are available all year-round, help our bodies because they are rich in Vitamin C, fiber and anti-oxidants. Check Canada’s Food Guide for the daily recommended amount of servings per day.

More foods that enhance your immunity include yogurt (which is rich in Vitamin D), as well as zinc-rich food like oysters, liver, lean beef, pork, turkey, lamb, lentils, pumpkin and sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, and yogurt. Some of these ingredients are best used for soups that are not only nutritious and can warm you up, but can also help you stay fit and slim (read Total Beauty.com’s 7 winter diet tips nutritionists swear by). For more great food ideas, go to the spruce.com’s Manitoba fruits and vegetables: What’s in season in Manitoba? to help you maximize the nutrients of local produce and save on money as well.

Get a flushot

Increase your body’s defences further by getting immunized. You can get a free flu shot at your doctor’s health office, in pharmacies, or public health offices. You can check with Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors to find out the best place and time you and your family can receive immunization.

Stay active

With the cold days and long nights, it is very tempting to just stay indoors, cuddle up in your bed and sleep. Resist the temptation and continue to stay active. Regular physical activity helps elevate the mood and boosts your energy.

Remember that Manitoba is one of the sunniest provinces in Canada, so walk outside and get some Vitamin D when you can. Indoors, you can follow a multitude of winter exercise routines on Youtube, from yoga to simple stretches. Here’s an example (7-minute workout from Lumowell):

Don’t stress

This period could be a stressful time for you and your family with all the adjustments you need to make in your new home. All these worries are normal but if you focus on them too much, it becomes unhealthy. Try to stay positive, pause and take a break, even meditate if you can. It is important for you and your family to make time for rest and recreation. There’s a lot you can do in Manitoba even in wintertime that will help you better appreciate where you are now (read: 20 + free and almost free things to do in Manitoba).

Save your skin

The cold winter winds can make your skin dry. It can also cause chapped lips and wind burn. Remember to moisturize your face, hands, as well as your legs and heels. Lotion and petroleum jelly can help prevent dry skin, from dry lips to cracked heels (consult your dermatologist if you are prone to skin allergies). Also, in sunny Manitoba, always use sunscreen.

Stay hydrated

You may not feel the need to drink often when it is cold, but it is important to keep hydrated, not only for your skin, but for your general health. It is best to drink lots of water or alternate with green tea.

Keep warm

Knowing the right winter clothing to wear helps enormously in keeping you warm when outdoors. Your best strategy would be to always check the weather before you leave the house and dress accordingly. The article Is it really colder than Mars? The truth about Manitoba weather will help you stay on top of Manitoba weather like a pro.

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Community Resources

For more fall and winter health and safety tips, go to the Government of Manitoba site.

Check the Leisure Guide and sign up for the many free programs available for you and your family this fall and winter season.

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7 winter health tips for newcomers

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