How to stay healthy over Winter (no need to hibernate!)
It stayed pretty mild until quite late on this year, but the recent snow has chilled the air somewhat! Time to wrap up warm and alter our wellness routine to accommodate the cold and dark! Here are some of my tips on how to survive the winter without going into lock down:
Get some sleep
And quality sleep at that. We need between 7-9 hours a night to really benefit. So how do we get quality sleep? Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake, get rid of electronics from the bedroom, wind down before bed (with a good book or a bath), block out the noise and light where possible to make it more conducive to sleep and stick to a regular bedtime (difficult with all the parties at the moment I know).
Eat nutritious foods
Don’t settle into eating carbs and chocolate now that it’s the run up to Christmas. Do grab those nuts though as they contain healthy fats that are good for the heart and your cholesterol levels. A handful of nuts each day is great for the immune system. Just don’t eat loads as they are still a fat. Try and have a rainbow of food on your plate at meal times. It will a) look lovely and make you feel happier but the different colours bring with them different vitamins so you’ll be getting a great range if you eat loads of different veggies. Get those slow cooker recipes out or create your own soup combinations and just eat some comfort food (albeit nutritious food!).
Stretch it out
Wake yourself up with some stretching to get the blood flowing. Let go of all the tightness and just reach side to side, up and down. Just shake it all out, do a dance, whatever makes you feel more energised and less sluggish.
Grab some blackberries
Theyre a great source of b vitamins, calcium, antioxidants and manganese and can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure as well as PMT. Loads of iron too so a great energy booster. In season now so go grab some. We love going blackberry picking – so satisfying picking your own.
Pop some ginger in it
Lemon and ginger in hot water – a great cleanser to start the day, but also great for fighting off colds and giving you a bit of energy. Also perfect as a hangover cure as it helps with nausea!! Spices such as turmeric will boost your antioxidant levels too.
Get some vitamin D supplements
Over the winter months we unfortunately don’t get our share of vitamin D from the sun so now is the time to boost it with some supplements.
Opt for dark chocolate
White and milk do have a lot of sugar and fat in, but if you go for the 70% or above cocoa content of dark chocolate you’re onto a winner. It’s full of antioxidants, potassium, iron and copper. That’s not to say you should go crazy but a small amount here and there is good for reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Mulled wine is good for you
Team the chocolate with some mulled wine (tis the season after all) and you’ll be benefiting from lots of antioxidants! The spices in the wine – cloves, cinnamon and star anise – offer loads of health benefits. Obviously again, not great if you’re downing it by the gallon!
Don’t neglect your skincare
Make sure you replenish the moisture you loose from all the central heating. Don’t let your skin or lips dry up – invest in some nice skin care (good excuse for you to go shopping) and make sure it still has UVB/UVA properties for when you go out.
Do some breathing
We’re all so busy and we just don’t take time to sit and just be. Try and find a few minutes every day just to sit, switch off and just concentrate on your breathing. It will clear your mind, de-stress and enhance your fitness. Breathe into the side/back of your ribs (feel them expand) on your inhale through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Don’t worry if your mind wanders – it can take a while for our brains to shut out the external chat. Just try and return to peace on your next breath.
Just because you're not hot and feeling thirsty like in summer, doesn't mean your body doesn't need the water. We still need to be drinking 1.5-2 litres a day. Hot water with herbal teas count so it doesn't have to be cold. Not enough water means we become sluggish and get brain fog.
Go out in the great outdoors
You may not feel like going out in the cold, but if you wrap up warm, just feeling the fresh air on your face and basking in the natural sunlight will make you feel more energised. Go for a jog or a brisk walk and you’ll soon forget about the cold and will benefit from a) bit of exercise to get the heart going and b) get those happy hormones going
Keep active in general
There are plenty of class options if you’re not an outdoors fitness type. Get yourself down to a local club and try some classes you’ve not done before. Or, pop on a YouTube workout and do in the comfort of you own home if you don’t like group exercise. There’s something for everyone so no excuses not to keep moving.
I hope these simple tips help you feel a little more with-it over these next couple of months. Stock up on all the antioxidants you can get – ward off those colds before they get too close.
Here’s to a healthy, cold-free and happy winter!
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