Written by Delaney Rea | Photo by Lauren Bruce

When the ice-cold hand of winter hits, there’s one thing you can count on: flu season will do everything in its power to make life a major drag. If you’re like me, the thought of dealing with a cold while trying to keep up with all of life’s responsibilities is a grim idea. Though the onslaught of seasonal sniffles and winter moody blues seems inevitable, they are still problems you can prevent if you know what you’re doing. With that in mind, follow these tips for staying healthy during the cold of January and beyond. You just might make it to spring without so much as a light sneeze.

Eat Well, Feel Well

Stop – before you succumb to the desire to indulge in less than healthy foods this winter, remember what’s at stake. Besides the famous, obvious consequences of spending too much time in the upper sections of the food pyramid, you’re also putting yourself at risk of catching a cold. Sickness is closely linked to diet, so making a point to eat well will help keep the cold away. Research healthy meal options that appeal to both your tastebuds and your budget – there’s plenty of options out there to satisfy both. Plus, it never hurts to shop for local produce. This way you’ll support your community while supporting your body.

For a cold-prevention standby, a piping hot bowl of soup can’t steer you wrong. Street Soup Company and Soup Nation are two great places In Eugene to get hot soup take-out. Nothing fights the cold better than a steaming hot bowl of chicken soup.

Exercise Your Right to Exercise

The Student Rec Center. It can be a daunting place for those who prefer hibernation in the cold months. Pulling yourself out of the house to go exercise may not be easy, but once you do, you won’t regret it. Exercise is proven to raise endorphin levels that keep the mind at ease, so taking a run before class or practicing yoga will keep your fitness in check and put a smile on your face. Additionally, the likelihood of catching whatever bug that’s going around plummets when you keep up with exercise. If you need more structure to your workouts, the Rec’s Group eXercise, also known as Group X, offers a variety workouts each week for drop-in participation. Top-of-the-line student instructors will provide a workout that pushes your limits each session.  All workouts modify the intensity level for your specific fitness ability, guaranteeing that everyone can hit their fitness goals. Once you purchase a Workout Pass at the Rec Center’s front desk, you can drop into any workout you choose. So put down the books for an hour and set Netflix on pause. Your physically-fit self will thank the effort you put in during winter, come the warm days of spring.

The Great Outdoors

A common effect of the winter season is Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise ironically shortened to SAD. If you’ve ever been affected by a gloominess brought on by short days, rainy weather and limited sunlight, you might be looking for a way to combat these effects. One great way to do this? Get outside.

Even though the temperature has dropped, it’s still important to taste the outdoors. Try to leave the house within two hours of waking up for the best results – this will set the tone for your entire day. Even if it’s still cloudy and gloomy outside, remember that even a brisk walk around the neighborhood can lift your spirits. If you have access, take advantage of one of Eugene’s scenic hikes such as Spencer’s Butte. It doesn’t matter what mood you’re in – scenic views make any day better.

Campus Has Your Back
The great thing about living in a campus community like this is that they understand the difficulty of being sick as a student. There are a variety of resources on campus to help you cope. Stressed out? The Duck Nest, located in room 041 at the EMU, offers free drop-in stress release workshops each Wednesday at 2 p.m. until the end of the term. You’ll learn quick techniques to bring down your stress levels that you can use in everyday life. During each Dead Week, the Duck Nest also offers their Stress-Less week program. Classes during this time include acupuncture and yoga, the perfect activities to put you in your happy place. Plus, if cold season has you down, stop by the Health Center. They offer a free comfort package, complete with chicken soup, a thermometer, cough drops and more to help you fight off the common cold.