College Winter Wellness: Nine Simple Tips for Staying Healthy

St. John's University students practicing winter wellness on campus
By Toni Critelli

Winter can be challenging for college students, especially when trying to maintain good health. With the cold weather, shorter days, and more time spent indoors, it is common to feel ill or run down. This blog post explores nine winter wellness tips to help you stay healthy and feel your best. Whether it’s getting outside for fresh air, staying active, or eating healthy, they will help you stay on top of your game and achieve your academic goals.

Tip 1: Spend Time Outdoors.

As the colder weather sets in, it’s natural to want to stay indoors and keep warm. But did you know that getting fresh air and sunlight is beneficial? Not only can spending time outdoors help keep you from getting sick, it can also improve your mental health, give you a healthy dose of vitamin D, and generally make you feel better. So, take some breaks from your studies and spend outside when possible.

Tip 2: Stay Active. 

Do you ever feel like hibernating during winter and skipping exercise? You’re not alone! However, staying active during the colder months can be great for your physical and mental health. 

We should aim for 150 hours of physical activity spread over the entire week, which means 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. You could try walking around an indoor mall, hitting the gym, joining a virtual fitness class, or even trying a winter sport. By staying active during winter, you help combat those winter blues, boost your immune system, and keep your body in good shape.

Tip 3: Add “Whole” Foods in Your Diet.

Maintaining a healthy diet during the winter months can be challenging, especially with the convenience of fast food and busy schedules. However, incorporating whole foods into your meals can significantly improve your overall health and energy levels. 

Adding leafy greens to a morning smoothie or replacing processed snacks with a handful of nuts and seeds are simple ways to incorporate whole foods into your diet. 

Tip 4: Sanitize Commonly Used Items.

Keeping your living space clean is essential to avoid getting sick during winter. Regularly sanitize commonly touched items you carry around campus, such as your cell phone or backpack, and things widely used in your living space, like door handles and remotes. You should establish a cleaning routine to disinfect these items daily or every few days, which will help reduce the risk of spreading germs. 

Tip 5: Wash Your Hands Often. 

Maintaining good hygiene is vital when living in college dorms and sharing common spaces with others. To keep yourself and others healthy, wash your hands frequently, especially before eating and after being in public spaces. When soap and water aren’t readily available, carrying a small hand sanitizer can be handy. By taking these simple steps, you can help prevent the spread of germs and illnesses. 

Tip 6: Drink Water Frequently. 

Did you know drinking your daily recommended water can help you recover faster if you get sick? It can also hydrate your skin, maintain healthy bowels, and regulate body temperature. One of the simplest ways to keep yourself hydrated is always to carry a reusable water bottle. Additionally, you can download a hydration app to get several phone reminders throughout the day. When you start making it a habit to stay hydrated, you enjoy good health benefits. 

Tip 7: Get Enough Sleep.

You may have a lot on your plate as a college student, but you must prioritize your sleep. Lack of sleep can make it harder for your body to fight off infections, which is the last thing you want when you’re busy studying or attending classes. So, aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep each night to support your overall well-being, even if it means skipping that late-night study session or Netflix binge-watch!

Tip 8: Be Cautious at Larger Gatherings.

Living and studying near others in a shared environment like a college campus can increase the risk of infections spreading rapidly. Even a seemingly harmless cough can quickly become an outbreak affecting the entire campus. The risk of transmission becomes even more significant in large gatherings such as parties or sporting events where close contact is unavoidable. By avoiding these events or opting for smaller, well-ventilated alternatives, you protect yourself and help reduce the burden on-campus health services face, ensuring that everyone has access to care when needed.

Tip 9: Get Vaccinated. 

It is essential to prioritize your well-being, especially during the winter season when the risk of cold and flu increases, as well as the ongoing concern of COVID-19. One effective measure you can take is to consider getting vaccinated. This can help strengthen your body’s defenses and reduce the likelihood of contracting illnesses.


Final Thoughts  

Prioritizing your health is essential to avoid catching colds and improve your academic performance, social life, and personal achievement. So, take a break and enjoy the sun, eat nutritious whole foods, and get plenty of rest. By following these simple tips, you’ll set yourself up for a healthy semester.

Young female professional

Toni Critelli

Digital Content Creator

Toni Critelli is a full-time staff writer for Johnnie's Blog. Through engaging content, she captures the essence of the institution, its students, faculty, and alums.