leavesThere just seems to be something about the colder weather and the shorter days that really brings out the worst in people. And since it’s that time of year again, it’s worth mentioning some of those terrible fall and winter habits many of us tend to slip into before we’re too far gone.

It isn’t easy to stay healthy or active when most of us would probably rather hibernate until spring, but it’s not impossible either. Here are some of the most common bad habits you should steer clear of this fall and winter, plus some suggested solutions to help get you through them.

1. Trading in those fresh fruits and veggies instead for comfort food.

Cold weather and comfort food pretty much go hand-in-hand. What better way to spend a cold and dark night evening with a huge bowl of homemade mac ‘n’ cheese? It’s nice for your emotional wellbeing in the short term, but bad for your physical wellbeing over the long run. If you want comfort food, try some of these healthier vegan alternatives instead.

2. Forgetting to drink enough water.

It’s not just you—colder and drier weather definitely does make everyone more prone to dehydration. In fact, your sense of thirst may even be blunted enough to trick your body into thinking that you’re already pretty well hydrated when you may not be. Check out these five reasons why you need to drink more water during the colder seasons.

3. Taking longer and hotter showers.

When you’re freezing, there’s nothing better than hopping in the shower or tub and being drenched in nearly scorching hot water. It might feel great, but it’s bad news for your skin. Turn down the temperature of the water until it’s comfortably warm and give yourself a time limit if you want to avoid dry skin that’s itchy and uncomfortable later on.

4. Spending too much time on the couch watching TV.

It’s almost as if TV and Netflix exist to distract us until spring arrives. And that can lead to a whole bunch of problems like excessive sedentariness, eating out of boredom, lost productivity, sleep pattern issues, and more. Instead, try cutting back slowly on your TV time by at least an hour. Replace that time with reading a book, indulging in a hobby or doing something more active.

5. Spending too much time with blue light-emitting devices in your face.

Speaking of sleep pattern issues, do you have any idea what staring at a TV screen, computer screen or smartphone screen does to you? It keeps you awake. Like, really awake. That blue light from your devices confuses your brain and delays the hormonal response you need to fall asleep, messing up your sleep cycle in the process. Aim to turn your devices off at least 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to hit the hay.

6. Spending 99.9 percent of your time indoors.

Staying inside 24/7 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you’re not getting out in the sun or supplementing with vitamin D, you could find yourself feeling seriously down in the dumps. Likewise, many homes and buildings have poor indoor ventilation, recirculating all the dust and particles that collect there over time. Bundle up and go for a short walk so you can get some fresh air and a bit of natural sunlight, too. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)

7. Skimping on your exercise regimen.

Getting active outside in the winter isn’t exactly as simple in the summer, and it can easily become a chore to head out to the gym when it’s cold and dark. But skimping too much on your workouts can quickly become a slippery slope that’ll lead you all the way back to couch potato mode. Consider these five tips for working out in a small space to keep your activity level up without having to leave home.

8. Not washing your hands often enough.

Fall and winter mean cold and flu season. With everyone spending a lot more time indoors, there’s a higher chance you could touch something that a sick person already touched. If you want to avoid getting sick, make sure you wash your hands before you eat or need to touch your face. Take it a step further by incorporating these five household hacks to prevent the spread of colds and the flu.

9. Guzzling down coffee to stay awake and keep warm.

If you’re the type of person who struggles to feel awake and alert during the colder seasons, you may find yourself kicking up your coffee consumption to get that nice hit of caffeine and a bit of extra warmth. Steer clear of increased jitters, anxiety and late nights lying awake. Caffeine affects your body clock when you consume it in the afternoon or evening, so consider making the switch to decaf coffee, caffeine-free herbal tea or plain water if necessary.

10. Oversleeping.

It’s unbelievably easy to oversleep during the colder seasons. Whether you passed out from a comfort food coma or you finally fell asleep at three in the morning after having a cup of coffee too close to bedtime, sleeping too much and waking up late is a common winter trend. Take extra care of your sleep cycle this season by being mindful or your habits, and avoid hitting the snooze button every morning when you do wake up!

Source:   Elise Moreau, Care2.com