A woman rubs lotion on her hand and looks out to see a winter snowstorm.

Tips for Staying Healthy During Winter Months

Last updated: January 2023

I have noticed a pattern over the last several winters that I seem to pick up an onslaught of viruses. The exception for this was during the Covid-19 lockdown where I remember thinking it was amazing that I had only one cold during the whole winter period. Obviously, this was probably because people weren't mixing like they usually would.

I dread the cold of winter

I always dread it because I know whenever I get struck down with 1 it often seems to take weeks for me to get back on my feet again, even a simple cold will often zap me of what little energy I have, which can trigger a flare-up. Second, I have a 5-year-old daughter and as much as I try to rest up it’s not always easy. My partner helps as much as he can but he has to balance his work commitments too.

As the cold weather approaches it’s not just viruses that can be problematic for us lupus warriors, it’s also the prospect of dealing with stiff and painful joints, flare-ups caused by the shift in temperatures, and even isolation.

Being proactive about winter

I want to try and be proactive this winter and do all that I can to stay as healthy as possible.

Keep warm

The most important thing we can do at this time of year is to keep warm. It may sound rather obvious, but there is a lot of worry and concern for people this year due to a huge rise in energy bills. I live in England. We may also have to face ‘blackouts’ at certain times of the day if the demand for power is too high.

With this in mind, it's a good idea to think of investing in items such as hot water bottles and even thermal clothing. I have just purchased a fantastic piece of clothing called a 'heated snuggle blanket.' It’s so cozy and warm. It is also essential to keep your hands and feet warm with hand warmers, thick socks, and slippers. It is good idea to keep some warm blankets on supply, too.

Stay away from germs

I asked my rheumatologist about how we can keep those pesky viruses away and he advised me that it’s really important to keep our zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C levels topped up. This can help to strengthen our immune systems. I can be very forgetful with my brain fog so I'm making sure that I take these every day now! He also mentioned how important it is to sanitize our hands regularly.

Humidifiers for dry nights

Humidifiers are great for keeping the air in our homes moister which is kinder on our skin. Certainly, for me my skin suffers a lot with lupus so I am going to try this.

Nutrition is key

Nutrition is also very important. I have a friend who is a nutritionist and she told me how in the winter months we need to nourish our bodies with foods such as soups and stews. I have a slow cooker and this has been a fantastic investment as I find I can just chuck everything in the pot and forget about it.

Stay hydrated

Drinking lots of fluids is extremely important. It seems so much easier to keep our water intake at a good level in the summer months, but we often don’t feel as thirsty when it’s colder. Our bodies still need water in winter. This helps our bodies to stay hydrated and be able to eliminate waste. It’s also important to drink hot drinks to help keep warm in the colder months.

Practicing self-care for mental health

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health so being indoors more often at this time of year can feel more isolating. It’s important to feel connected so try and keep up to date with friends and family or look into support groups. If you are unable to meet people face to face then perhaps you could schedule an online chat with them.

Look into hobbies that interest you. Once again there seems to be many online meet ups for all kinds of interests. It can be so therapeutic to chat to people who are in a similar situation as you and understand what you are experiencing.

These winter months can be challenging but hopefully you’ll find some of the above tips to be helpful and always remember to reach out to us here at lupus.net for support if you need it.

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