With forecasts for snow around the UK, winter has truly arrived. Although, this time of year doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom with the colder weather, the thought of catching a cold and very short dark days. Winter is a time to slow down and be kind to your body.
Your body naturally takes a bit of a beating due to the lack of sunlight, so do more of what your body inevitably needs. Be it more sleep, rest or starchy foods – there are ways you can stay healthy and happy in winter. Here are my 7 tips for a healthy and happy winter:
Sleep seems to be the key ingredient for just about everything which includes staying healthy. Make sure you get your eight hours per night and if you find yourself needing more, take it. Winter is a phase in the year where we need to rest and recuperate after a busy summer. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
I’m a big believer of getting all the vitamins and nutrients from your food and only supplementing where necessary. If you’re going to take anything extra this winter, make it vitamin D. We need vitamin D to support our immune system, but levels are much lower in winter as there’s less sun. I use a Vitamin D oral spray from Planet Organic and seems to do the trick. I pop it in my bag and bring with me everywhere.
This might be very straight forward, but dressing for the weather is imperative to staying healthy. I was always taught to cover my neck in winter as this is an area where chills can set in. Wear a scarf, simple. After exercising at the gym or yoga class, wrap up before going out into the cold. You’re sweaty and your pores are wide open for wind to invade. If you’re an outdoor runner make sure to keep your neck protected as well.
If you think eating salads everyday in winter will keep you warm you’re wrong. Fuelling your body with warm and nourishing foods will help keep your immune system strong. Think root vegetables, locally sourced protein and lots of herbs and spices. Cruciferous vegetables – from cauliflower to broccoli contain food chemicals that help ensure white blood cells function at peak performance to fight off infections. So get into those veges!
Have you ever thought about the germs on the tube railings or on the escalator? Are you guilty of holding onto a pole in the tube for then to be texting friends a minute later with the same hand? Yes we can all admit to touching multiple germ infested public items, transferring them to our phone and possibly to our our food too. Wash your hands after using public transport and before you eat/drink anything. Even give your phone a clean with an antiseptic wipe.
I am a big believer of taking a probiotic all year round. From January to December, a daily probiotic helps to balance the friendly and bad bacteria in your gut. I’m not a doctor but I have worked with many nutritionists and naturopaths over the past 10 years and every single one of them has recommended a probiotic. And, I’ve only ever caught one cold while living in the UK the past 2 years. So give it a go.
Last but not least, winter is not a time to stop exercising. Yes it’s a time to slow down on the social engagements and the late nights, but it doesn’t mean we need to hibernate completely. Getting in a few workouts a week will help your immune system stay strong and fight off those nasty germs. Overdoing it on the other hand, can have an adverse effect and cause you to get sick and repeatedly. So everything in moderation and of course plenty of yoga.
So there you have it. They might not be complete health and wellness secrets, but they are my tips for keeping happy and healthy in winter. Slow down, listen to your body and be kind to yourself. What are your secrets for keeping well this Winter?