All year round, you need to be working to keep your immune system in the best possible condition so it can work at its very best to keep you well. But as we shift into the winter months with shorter days and colder weather, this may leave you especially vulnerable to illness if you have a weak immune system. Bugs seem to be flying around and our immune system can be challenged by getting chilled at a freezing bus stop, or simply running on empty after Christmas. It’s very easy for the immune system to take a dip, and for us to wind up in bed.
At our clinic we help patients build a strong immune system naturally to help fight illness. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay focused on staying healthy and well this season:
- Start your day off right
It’s getting dark earlier, the sun isn’t shining as bright, and it’s cold. These seasonal changes can certainly have an impact on your mood and your workout routine. Our bodies still need fresh air during the winter, and outdoor exercise is supportive to your overall health. Make it a morning ritual to help you maintain your fitness momentum. Working out in the mornings, when you have the most energy to spend, has been shown to burn more calories. Plus those who work out early tend to make healthier choices throughout the day (because no one wants to ruin all that hard work your trainer put you through). People who regularly exercise are 25% less likely to be affected by “seasonal affective disorder”, which means less winter blues and overeating.
- Make time for yourself
You can’t be present and take care of your friends and family if you’re not well yourself. Take care of your family by taking care of yourself first. Decrease stress by allowing yourself a self-care routine like a nightly relaxing bath with lavender, or a weekly massage, or a restorative yoga session. Sleep is one habit that can affect your well-being almost more than anything else:
Make it a priority to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
- Maintain a healthy diet between the holiday parties
Take advantage of the seasonal fruits and veggies like apples, turnips, pumpkins, parsnips, yams, winter squash, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, pears and elderberries. Eating seasonally can help add variety to your diet; these fruits and vegetables are fresh, so they typically contain a higher level of vitamins and minerals.
Try roasting these vegetables or use them in soups and stews. Up to 40 percent of body heat can be lost if your head is bare, so in addition to wearing warm clothes we should eat warm soup too! Add warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom; also ginger, garlic and onions. These spices have been used for centuries to build a strong immune system and ward off infections.
- Use natural herbs and supplements
There is a wide variety of herbs that have traditionally been used at the onset of a cold or flu. Echinacea and other herbs can be used to help shorten the duration of illness.
- Slow down, reflect, and think positively!
With a new year around the corner, the excitement and challenges in your life may be for the better, but too much pressure can lower your immunity to illness. Meditation and self-reflection are crucial in allowing ourselves to make positive changes and grow in life. Reflect and release negative thoughts or things that no longer serve you or bring happiness to your life. Not only will this help you achieve a better sense of well-being, but it will also decrease stress and improve your immune system.
We hope you take advantage of these suggestions so you can build immunity naturally and make the most out of these months with your family.