Sunshine isn’t the only thing that dissipates in winter. Often the cold weather is accompanied by sniffles, sneezes, coughs, colds and flu. With the pressures and temptations of modern living it is easy to cram too much into each day, eat too many processed foods, stop exercising, increase snacking, put on weight or lose precious sleep – and this combined – is likely to leave you feeling lethargic and run down and with a compromised immune system this could leave you vulnerable to a cold or flu bug. With the shorter days and colder weather it may seem harder to get motivated and keep up a healthy regime. But follow these simple health tips and you should sail through winter unscathed and feeling more radiant than ever!
1. Drink Plenty Of Water Don’t be fooled into thinking you need less in winter. Ideally try to stick to the recommended eight glasses a day. Obviously if you workout intensely most days you will require more. Remember tea and coffee do not count as one of your glasses. Caffeine drinks are diuretics, which will dehydrate you and cause tiredness. Try drinking hot water with a few slices of lemon, orange or mandarin.
2. Make Quality Hearty Soups Winter is the reason comfort food was invented! Due to less light hours people are more likely to be indoors watching television than outdoors enjoying the sunshine! People can get bored or depressed over winter and as a consequence tend to nibble more, or go for more sugary snacks and drinks to get a bit of an energy rush. Unfortunately this will be followed shortly after with a severe energy slump and weight gain if abused. Avoid things like refined sugar and processed grains. Eat lighter over winter if you can. Aim for whole foods that are nutrient dense and comforting. There is nothing better than a good hearty chicken soup, particularly one made from a bone broth.
3. Have A Hearty Breakfast Avoid a mid morning slump by making sure you do eat a good breakfast. Treat yourself to a quality breakfast such as nut porridge with a small amount of honey or maple syrup, or CADA with papaya and coconut or acidophillus yoghurt, or a piece of chia toast with a poached egg and greens, or a hearty green smoothie.
4. Eat Plenty of Green Vegetables At least 5 servings of green vegetables a day is a good starting point. You can have a bowl of rocket with your poached eggs, some celery and almond butter as a snack, a super green salad for lunch, more greens on your dinner plate either as a salad or steamed greens and you cannot go past a green smoothie.
5. Graze Don’t Gorge Most people over eat – or eat when they are not actually hungry. Listen to your body. Take smaller portions, add some quality fat like a good cold pressed oil on your salad, or cook in coconut oil and see how you feel. If nothing else you will feel fuller for longer and you wont crave sugary foods. To keep your metabolism more stable you might be the type better off grazing on five or six small well-balanced meals a day rather than gorge on three huge ones! And don’t pig out at dinner-time. Aim to eat less as the day goes on and maybe try eating your evening meal before 7pm.
6. Use Essential Oils High-grade therapeutic essential oils are the best method of defense through the colder months. Immune boosting oils like lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedarwood and pine are all fantastic at strengthening the body’s innate ability to fight off bugs. This Immune Boost combination of oils can be used in a vaporizer or diffuser, in a compress, inhalation, body massage, chest rub or in a spritzer and you will give you and your immediate environment the best immune support ever.
7. Supplements May Help If you do succumb to a bug or are burning the candle at both ends you can boost your energy levels and immune system with a little extra help like a quality supplement. Opt for real food supplements though. Colloidal minerals, super green powder and a quality probiotic are a fantastic combination for a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Simply place a teaspoon of greens, a teaspoon of colloidals and half a teaspoon of probiotics into a glass or coconut water and you are done!
8. Get Up Early Every Day Even though it is darker in the mornings, still try to get up early. Lie-ins are great for catching up on sleep, but erratic sleep patterns can confuse your body and cause insomnia or broken sleep cycles. This does not support a healthy immune system. The earlier you get up the earlier you will want to go to bed which supports your natural circadian rhythms which in turn supports and strengthens your immune system.
9. Get Moving The human body was designed to move! Not everybody likes the same form of exercise but a general rule of thumb is to make sure you try to approach your fitness in three ways – aerobic fitness (cardiovascular), endurance fitness (sustainability) and strength fitness (weight bearing). Each week try 2-3 good fast walks or jogs for at least 20 minutes. Go for at least one good long one that will last anywhere from 40-60 minutes, and twice a week aim to do some weight bearing exercise – yoga, pilates, weights or use your own body weight. It may be best to exercise first thing in the morning as statistics show those who exercise in the evenings are more likely to be distracted with the days events and miss their exercise all together!
10. Rehydrate Your Skin Your skin can often feel a little surface dry in winter, due to heaters and fires, not too mention the wind. So once a week use a quality mask to replenish lost moisture in those top layers. This is important for all skin types. Add a quality Serum to your routine and don’t forget to lock it in with a nourishing moisturiser. Keeping hydrated on the inside too by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. This will make a huge difference in how your skin copes through winter. And don’t forget to body brush or use a loofah to keep the skin refreshed and the lymphatic system stimulated.
11. Nourish All Over It is easy to forget about moisturising or nourishing your whole body in winter. Often people jump out of the shower and get their clothes on quickly to stay warm, as well thinking – nobody will see my legs today anyway! Mix up your own skin nourisher that will feed your skin as well as warm you up with stimulating energising essential oils. To support your immune system there is the added benefit of the antiviral and antibacterial properties of high quality oils. Mix 50ml of Sweet Almond oil with 10 drops Rosemary, 10 drops Rosewood and 5 drops Bergamot. Massage 6mls – less is best when applying oils to the body – of this blend all over the body after your morning shower. We call it body boosting and it is a great way to start your day!
12. Take Time To Relax It is important to find time to chill out and relax but this does not mean lounging about in front of the television or drinking out at a bar each night! Quality relaxation can be as simple as reading a book, yoga breathing techniques, visualisation, meditation or running a nice aromatic bath using 6 drops total of relaxing oils such as lavender, marjoram, orange, rosewood, sandalwood or frankincense. Give your mind and body the time it needs to recharge and de-clutter. This simple ritual alone can boost the immune system tenfold. Don’t under estimate good quality rest!