When the cold winds blow and the snows begin to fall, many of us feel the urge to go into hibernation mode. We bundle up and sink into a blue mood, not wanting to leave the house, and our health often suffers the effects of this seasonal change. In our culture, winter is typically the time of lethargy and overindulgence, and these behaviors, coupled with the low-grade depression that is common this time of year, can wreak havoc on your body, mind and spirit.
This year, instead of giving in and giving up, try making small and sustainable choices to support your wellbeing. Here are a few tips to help you feel your best, even during the cold, gray days ahead.
Fall and winter bring dry, cool weather, so it’s important to be extra mindful of your hydration. Carry a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go, and sip at regular intervals. Moderate your intake of things like caffeine and alcohol, as these dehydrate the body, and reach for drinks like herbal tea, coconut water or almond milk instead.
Your body is finely tuned to your environment, so it’s natural to feel more sluggish as the days become shorter. Allow yourself a bit more relaxation, whether that’s adjusting your bedtime to be an hour earlier or taking a short siesta in the afternoon.
Extra sleep is great, but other low-stimulation activities like meditation, journaling or gentle yoga are wonderful, too.
In the throes of cold and flu season, give your body a leg up using proper nutrition and herbal medicine. Try to cut back on refined sugars and flours, and savor things like nourishing soups and casseroles with lots of veggies. Stock your home with immune boosters like elderberry syrup, fresh ginger, mushrooms and echinacea.
Those who spend more time with loved ones tend to be healthier and happier, so take this to heart during the cold months. Make an effort to get together with your friends and family; meet them over coffee, plan a shared feast, or organize a game night. The feeling of belonging (and lots of laughter!) can be a powerful way to feel good, physically and mentally.
Melani Schweder is a certified health coach and mindfulness educator based in Thornton, Colo. You can keep up with all of her adventures at abrighterwild.com.
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