The Holidays are a time of excess. We don’t think about the price of all that rich food and drink until January, when reality hits with a resounding thud. But wallowing in regret isn’t going to keep you healthy through the cold winter months. Instead of feeling lousy, recharge and boost your wellness with some natural strategies.
For every action (overeating and drinking), there is an equal and opposite reaction, so let’s examine some natural ways to enhance and boost your wellness during winter!
In Praise of Hydration
You’re probably sick of hearing it but hydration is one of the simplest keys in existence that boosts well-being. Drinking enough water and eating water-rich food becomes even more important during the winter months. Your thirst response is lower during the winter months because perspiration is reduced and blood vessels contract in the cold, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood to the extremities. So, you can see why your body needs that water more than ever!
It’s easy to forget to drink water when it’s cold! So, create a schedule to ensure you’re getting enough water. You’ll eventually develop the water habit but until you do, a simple, scheduled routine can help. And because you’ve probably been imbibing alcoholic beverages over the Holidays, add a lemon-based detox beverage or a smoothie with citrus fruit, bananas, and strawberries. You’ll remove the residual toxins, replacing them with the goodness of vitamins lost to alcohol’s diuretic effect.
Sure, it’s cold out there. But getting outside for a 30-minute walk, 5 days a week is how to keep yourself from getting pulled down into that familiar winter funk. The short days and long dark nights can lead to lethargy and depression if you don’t fight back.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a yearly battle for more than 10 million Americans. People with normal mental health experience symptoms of depression during the winter, with usual onset occurring as the time changes and the days grow short. In addition to people struggling with SAD, 10-20% of Americans get the “winter blues”, a milder form of the disorder. Being outdoors in natural light, walking, gardening, or even doing winter sports like skiing or Nordic pole-walking can make a huge difference in energy level and outlook, so bundle up and get out there!
Related reading: Beat Those Winter Blues with Mindfulness
Add a Powerful Supplement
The rigors of the cold months sometimes call for a little extra support. If you’d prefer not to have a cupboard full of supplements, there’s one important supplement you should know about. Black seed oil, extracted from the small seeds of the Nigella sativa flowering plant, has been in use as a health support for its many benefits for millennia.
Containing the powerful antioxidant thymoquinone and a multitude of amino acids, carbohydrates, and proteins, black seed oil restores balance in the body and bolsters immune response. With anti-inflammatory action provided by thymoquinone, black seed oil supports optimal respiratory and circulatory function, providing numerous health benefits. For a winter wellness edge, this is the only supplement you’ll need. You can even apply black seed oil topically for smoother, softer winter skin.
We’ve already discussed the widespread impact of SAD and the “winter blues” and how important it is to get outdoors frequently during winter. But another important facet of winter wellness is understanding that the brain and body are one thing. The brain is more than part of the body, though. The brain is the body’s command center. When the brain’s not well, neither is the body and vice versa.
The health of the brain and body go hand in hand and when the lines of communication are open and functioning properly, homeostasis (balance in the human organism) is achieved. Instigating balance is a matter of getting enough sleep, eating mindfully, and exercising. One of the most useful types of exercise to serve homeostasis is Yoga, which implicates the magnificent human brain as much as it does the rest of you. Dancing is another tremendous way to obtain the kind of balance you can both intuit and feel physically. When your brain and body are working together because you’ve instigated two-way communication through physical movement that’s deliberate and intentional, you’re provoking overall balance and well-being to get you through winter in good health.
Eat the Good Stuff
We started off talking about the Holidays and the overindulgence in rich food and drink that goes with them. Too much of a good thing can lead to weight gain and lethargy and leave us vulnerable to winter’s ills.
So, improving your diet will boost your wellness and also help you detoxify from the surfeit of calorie, fat, and sugar-rich food and drink you consumed with abandon over the Holidays. Focus on winter fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean fish and meat. Start with this amazing broccoli soup recipe to boost your immune system and detoxify. Avoid prepared foods high in salt, sugar, and fat. Opt instead for whole foods. As long as you’re keeping warm inside, you may as well put on a pot of comforting soup!
Don’t Neglect Sleep
Needing to sleep is not a sign of weakness. Adult humans need to sleep between 7.5 and 9 hours a night. You may not sleep as well in the winter, which is partially due to reduced activity levels but there are others culprits that might mess with your nightly rest.
Before you hit the hay, put down your phone, your Kindle, your tablet, your laptop, and any other screen that emits blue light. If that blue light is not banished from your sleeping space it can wreak havoc with your sleep cycle. That’s because it slows the release of melatonin, the natural compound in the body that promotes drowsiness and eventual sleep. You’ll also want to avoid alcohol and caffeine after 5 pm to enjoy a peaceful, healing night’s sleep.
These natural solutions are simple things you can do to improve your winter wellness with very little effort. Follow these natural ways to boost your wellness during winter and emerge from the depths of the season spring-ready!
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