Winter is here and with the season comes an increased risk for the common cold, coughs and the flu. For most busy people that are juggling the demands of home and work, getting sick is simply not an option. The good news is that staying healthy during the winter is entirely within your reach. Here are some suggestions on how you can do just that:

Wash your hands

How many times as a child did you hear the words “wash your hands?” Well, it seems like those adults were right because clean hands are one of the first defenses against the germs that contribute to making you sick. When you find yourself out and about shaking hands and picking up items that have been touched or held by others it makes good sense to wash your hands and cut your risk of “picking up a bug”. When soap and water are not available hand sanitizer will do just fine and a few bottles tucked away in your bag or briefcase can help you to stay healthy.

Get enough sleep

People that are well rested will typically be more resilient, have a stronger immune system and less prone to colds. Establishing a sleep “routine” might be your best strategy to achieve the 7-8 hours of sleep per night that is recommended for adults. Trying to “get by” with 4-5 hours will undermine your stamina and energy and you will find that getting the appropriate amount of sleep is easier if you restrict your use of technology at bedtime as well as curtail your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

Avoid close contact with friends and co-workers that are sick

While it might be difficult to do it makes great sense to try to keep your distance from friends and co-workers that have become ill. Try to cancel appointments, eat lunch by yourself and stay away from anyone that is coughing, sneezing and may even have a fever. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that they are no longer “contagious.” It’s far better to wait until they have no more symptoms, however if you have no choice but to be in their presence, make certain to stay as far away as possible and either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after the meeting.

Continue to exercise

The cold weather usually means that your exercise routine must be moved indoors. Jogging, tennis, bike riding and swimming are great ways to get your exercise in the summer and they can be done in the winter as well. Most gyms and YMCA’s offer classes, exercise bikes and tread mills and many have tennis courts and swimming pools too. Research the facilities that are convenient to your home or office and establish a workout schedule that is achievable. Being too optimistic and aggressive with your personal goals means that you have a higher probability of being disappointed in yourself and stopping altogether.

An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure! I do hope these suggestions help you to remain healthy throughout the winter months, however if you do happen to fall ill make certain to take care of yourself so that you’ll get better faster and won’t infect anyone else. Stay home from work and get some rest, drink plenty of liquids and see the doctor if your cold or cough lingers for too long.

Enjoy the season!