The Student Guide to Staying Well in Winter

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The frosty mornings are rolling in, making it even harder to get out of bed in the morning. And while we’re getting excited about snuggly scarves and crossing our fingers for a snow day sometime soon, there’s one thing everyone dreads about winter: the very real possibility of getting a cold. Red runny noses, contagious-sounding coughs, and the outrageous cost of Lemsip are real-life winter struggles.

With shorter bursts of sunshine and longer chilly nights, it’s inevitable that the cold will catch you – whether it’s the sort that gives you the shivers, or the one that has you sniffling in class. At The Student Housing Company, we’ll try anything we can to keep that fluey feeling at bay. Here’s what’s worked for us so far:

It’s not cool to be cold!

Yes, we sound just like your mum when you refused to take your coat to school in winter, but sometimes mum knows best.

Keeping warm is super-important if you want to ward off attacks on your immune system. You’ve finally got an excuse to top up your winter jumper collection. Pile on the woolly scarves and socks, and don’t go outside without your hat on – hat-hair is so ‘in’ right now.

Why not stay in this Saturday night instead of standing in the queue for the students’ union for half an hour and walking home without your shoes on? Organise a movie night with plenty of duvets, and cuddle up with your nearest and dearest. Cook up a hot meal together, wash it down with mulled wine, and binge on festive films.

Clean freaks: take charge

If you’re a bit of a clean freak, you’ve already got this one covered. If you’re usually a little lax on the germ front, however, now is the time to clean up your act and follow in the footsteps of your favourite obsessive-compulsive cleaner.

With everyone around you coming down with a cold, it’s difficult avoid the germs completely, but you can avoid spreading the bug by being extra conscious of cleanliness. Invest in some hand sanitiser and remember to use it after travelling on public transport or working on uni computers, and make sure you scrub up before cooking or eating.

Fill up on goodness

It’s really important to eat healthily all year round, but in winter especially it’s essential to make sure you’re supporting your immune system with plenty of vitamins, minerals and hydration.

On your next supermarket shop, take a look at the fruit and veg that are on offer – seasonal vegetables are super-cheap and are great for creating hearty hotpots and warming soups. They’ll take the chill off and top you up with nutrients that you might be lacking, which will help to keep you fighting fit when the flu comes a-knockin’.

While you might not associate dehydration with winter, it’s just as vital to drink plenty of water in winter as it is in summer. Spending more time indoors means less fresh air and sunshine to keep your skin fresh, so keeping hydrated will not only help you feel great, you’ll be looking your best too!

Don’t get S.A.D.

Tend to feel a bit down as the days get shorter? It’s only natural. Winter doesn’t just attack our immune systems but can also wreak havoc on our mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonally occurring depression which is most prominent in the cold and dark winter months.

With fewer opportunities to soak up the sunlight, your body produces less serotonin, which can affect your mood, appetite and sleep pattern. This has an impact on your circadian rhythm – you may know this as your body clock – by tricking you into thinking you need more sleep than usual, mimicking the hours of daylight.

In order to keep your mental health strong, make sure you’re seeing plenty of daylight hours. This can be tricky if you’re in uni all day, but wrap up warm and have a winter picnic at lunchtime, or get active and go for a run – we know it’s really cold, but keeping active is a really effective way to boost your mood.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

A little winter sniffle is pretty much inevitable, but our tips will help you stay fighting fit throughout the colder months. Go ahead: build a snowman and throw snowballs at scrooges, but make sure there’s a designated hot-chocolate maker for when you come inside, and keep your pyjamas on the radiator for optimum cosiness.

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