If you would like to maximise your chances of staying healthy this winter, follow these tips to keep your health buoyant.
With the onset of winter and the shorter, colder days, nature is inviting you to slow down, rest, and prioritise stillness and quiet. Look at the natural world around you and you can see now is a time of relative rest and inactivity. To live in harmony with winter, try to get to bed earlier than normal and prioritise getting more sleep. Keep in mind, the quality of your sleep is a reliable barometer of the health of your nervous system, so if you suffer from insomnia then now is a good time to address it.
Don’t take the hibernation theme too literally! It’s still important to get your body moving to boost lymphatic and blood circulation, move joints, stretch muscles and to clear the mind. Your body doesn’t like being sedentary, so if your job involves you sitting for long periods of the day, make extra sure you get moving. Try going for a walk/jog/bike ride at lunchtime and you will also get a vitamin D immune boost from the benign winter sun. I know it’s cold, but as the saying goes, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing’ so get as many layers on as you need to keep on moving.
Now is a great time to support your wellbeing with good nutrition. Winter is the perfect time for slow-cooked stews and soups. Throw some fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, or kimchi into the mix to nourish your gut health. For inspiration, visit your farmers’ markets for some locally grown produce including in-season truffles. Introduce new vegies and fruits into your diet to increase the variety of nutrients your body is getting. If you’re feeling tired or stressed, be mindful of relying on alcohol to wind down and coffee to keep you going as you’re just adding to your body’s toxic load and adrenal exhaustion.
Speaking of adrenal exhaustion, prolonged stress is the most common reason for a struggling immune system. If you’re the one who catches every bug that’s going around, it’s likely that your stress levels are too high.
Destressing means finding ways to switch off your mind from its habitual worries. Creative pursuits are a great way to absorb your mind in the moment and are a good fit for winter. Knit yourself a scarf, bust out the mindfulness colouring book you stashed in the cupboard years ago or pick up a musical instrument. Being alone and having time and space to be reflective is important and so is being around people who make you laugh and take your mind off your day-to-day responsibilities and worries.
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