Feel Your Best With Our Three Winter Tips

Winter is here. Learn expert advice on everything from dealing with seasonal affective disorder to preventing dry skin.

The winter blues. The winter doldrums. Seasonal depression. We have all sorts of terms to describe just how miserable this time of the year can be. One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is by focusing on your health and wellness.

“There are some very basic actions we can all take to stay healthy this winter,” said Daniel E. Huckestein, DO, a physician at Penn Highlands Family Medicine in Clearfield, Pa. “Practice hand hygiene and wash your hands regularly. Get your flu shot and keep your immunizations up to date. Stay home when you’re sick.”

By taking a few easy steps, you can feel your best even when the weather outside is terrible.

How to prevent dry winter skin.

Why does skin feel dryer in the winter months? The combination of cold air, dry indoor heat and low humidity levels is the perfect recipe for zapping the moisture from your skin. You can prevent dry skin by moisturizing your face, hands and body right after washing with soap and water, which strips your skin of its natural oils. You should also use exfoliants and cleansing scrubs less often. Harsh scrubs can break down your skin’s moisture barrier, leading to raw and irritated skin.

In addition to using moisturizer and avoiding exfoliants, you can use a humidifier to increase moisture levels in the air. A humidity level of 60 percent can help replenish the moisture in the top layer of your skin. Hot water can also strip away natural oils, so be sure to keep your bath and showers warm, not hot.

How to deal with seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression related to seasonal changes. SAD is typically associated with the lack of sunlight during the winter months, which can disrupt our internal clocks and the neurotransmitters in our brain. People who experience SAD may feel unmotivated, sluggish, sad or depressed.

Light therapy is often an effective way to reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy works by using a special lamp to mimic outdoor light, which can help regulate your brain chemicals and elevate your mood.

How to get a better night’s sleep.

As tempting as it may be to hibernate in bed all winter long, sticking to a regular sleep schedule will help keep both your body and mind feeling their best. To get a good night’s rest every night, be sure not to crank up the heat too high when you go to bed. A cool room, between 62- and 68-degrees Fahrenheit, is the ideal temperature for your best sleep. You should also try to avoid big, hearty meals right before bed. When your body is forced to digest while you sleep, it has a hard time transitioning into sleep mode. Try eating dinner a few hours before you hit the hay.


Sometimes, no matter how careful you are to maintain your health, a germ will make you sick. Respiratory viruses, colds and stomach bugs can be more prevalent in the winter months when schools are in session and people are in closer contact indoors.

If you need medical care, Penn Highlands Family Medicine offers comprehensive primary care at convenient locations throughout Pennsylvania. The physicians and providers can take care of your whole family – from infants through seniors.