This time of year can be challenging as we say goodbye to balmy summer evenings and hello to shorter, darker, cooler days. One of the most powerful antidotes to the winter blues or run down at this time of year is prevention. This is where natural medicine and small lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. As the winter months loom ahead it is a fabulous time to start to nourish your body, fill your energy reservoir, restore your immunity and simply, slow down.
We have put together a small collection of winter wellness tips for you to read over and start to implement into your lifestyle.
If you are prone to running yourself down each winter, start taking a Vitamin D supplement now. We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, so our intake decreases when the weather is colder since we spend most of our time inside during the cooler seasons. Vitamin D is known to boost your mood and immune system, which are both vital to our overall wellbeing. The balance of vitamin D in your body will also help to regulate your sleep-wake cycle which support your body in the cooler months.
Take some time to yourself. Autumn and winter are Mother Natures way of telling us to slow down. Start a journal or track your moods to get more in touch with how you are feeling. Even better/smarter, start some restorative practices – yin yoga, gentle walks, run a bath, light a candle, deep diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or simply take your time to sip your tea slowly. There are many forms of self LOVE and self care, find what works for you and prioritise them in your week.
Boost your immune system. Increasing your water intake, taking the therapeutic dose of magnesium daily, regular nourishing meals, de-stressing, reducing sugar and refined foods, achieving optimal digestive function and ensuring you are receiving at least 8-hours, of uninterrupted restorative, sleep a night are all good ways to start building your immune system naturally.
We also encourage you to wear warm layers to keep your body temperature up and to stay active to help keep your circulation moving (I know it’s hard when it’s cold outside but raking leaves counts). Increase warming foods in your diet to help fight off colds and flues – such as spices, ginger, chilli, pepper – will also support healthy immune function.
Additionally, there are many herbs which can help you – withania, astragalus, echinacea and andrographis are herbs to look out for in immune boosting products that you might find in a health shop and are specific for building and modulating the immune system. Also, never miss breakfast! It is key for keeping your immune system functioning at optimal levels.
Buy in-season foods. Beets, leeks, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kale, pumpkin, squash, roots and sautéed dark leafy greens are all great choices, and affordable.
We also cannot emphasize the importance of eating organic or spray free where and when you can. There are now many organic stores and farmers markets around New Zealand that provide seasonal organic wholefoods and fruit and vegetables. Find one near you and visit it regularly.
Be kind to yourself, always. The shorter, cooler days can cause low mood and energy, increase the requirement of sleep/rest and can cause sickness. Listen to your body, give it what it needs, and don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing the very best you can. Autumn and winter are times to restore and give back to yourself, tune into Mother Nature’s rhythm and find ways to Nourish / Restore / Rest.
Wellness Retreats NZ, BA, Yoga Teacher, Naturopath, Medical Herbalist