A Healthy Winter Guide
We’ve all been there during winter, the dreaded cold hits, our moods dwindle, our skin dries out, we feel sluggish and the only solution is to shut ourselves off inside with a hot cup of coco. I agree, the hot coco is a great idea, but the other not so fun aspects of winter can be prevented with a few simple tips to follow every day:
1. Stay hydrated.
It’s one of those things that we are constantly being reminded about and is almost a cliche, but during winter you can become just as dehydrated as during summer. During summer we tend to make a conscious effort to drink lots of fluids. We also eat more hydrating fruits (watermelon anyone?). Because we don’t sweat as much during winter we can often forget to stay hydrated. If you often feel sluggish during winter and feel your skin drying out, this could be the culprit. Make sure you stay on top of drinking lots of water, seasonal fruits and my winter fave, hot herbal teas!
2. Get some sunshine
A lack of daylight is associated with increased rates of depression (hence the term “winter blues”) and decreased levels of Vitamin D. In Australia we are lucky that we still get quite a few sunny days even during winter. Take every sunny opportunity you get to hit the outdoors and expose your skin to a short healthy dose of UV. It will improve your mood, aid with sleep as it increases melatonin levels and improve your Vitamin D levels. Besides being important for bone health, Vitamin D is also important for a healthy immune system (goodbye cold!).
3. Open your windows more
If you are like me you may love barricading yourself inside and shut off every opening from the slightest glimmer of cold during winter. While we are keeping the cold out, we are also keeping many air borne toxins and viruses indoors. Common household chemicals from cleaning sprays, paints and even pots and pans release Volatile Organic Compounds into the air which react and create new toxic chemicals such as Formaldehyde. If you’ve got a sick family member their viruses easily spread into the atmosphere. Sounds like a nasty concoction, right? You can reduce it by simply opening your windows for at least one hour a day. A few leafy pot plants in your home will also naturally clean the air and renew it with oxygen.
4. Eat Healthy Comfort Food
Sometimes there is nothing better than a soul warming comfort meal and no better time than winter. We are wired to like comfort foods more during colder months as it keeps our fat stores in check and naturally insulated from the cold. But unfortunately half a tray of lasagne every second night will see those fat stores fill up rather quickly! Instead try out healthy comfort foods such as slow cooked veggie stews paired with a side of fermented veggies or organic chicken soup with plenty of green leafy veg thrown in the mix. They will give you the wintery comfort you crave with plenty of veggies, fibre and protein. Make sure to incorporate healthy fats such as avacado, olive oil and nut butters into your meals l to help absorb fat soluble nutrients and to hydrate your skin.
When it’s cold and rainy outside, your motivation for that regular jog can quickly deteriorate. If braving the cold and rain isn’t your thing, there are plenty of indoor exercises and activities that will keep you looking toned and fit all winter long. My fave is Pilates for its low intensity, high impact and intensely toning workout. Going to the gym is always a good option, but if the idea of spending loads of money on various classes and memberships doesn’t appeal to you, there are tons of exercises you can do at home without even having to change out of your lounge wear! All you need to do is check out some fitness blogs for inspiration.
6. Drink that cup of coco!
Colder weather means we may not go out as much as we may do during summer and it may get a little lonely and boring at times. Take this time to catch up on sleep, rest , have a warm cozy bath and reflect on your achievements this year so far. Listen to your body, take a break when you need to, eat when you're hungry and be mindful of yourself.