“Ready or not. Here I come!” Winter yells, every November. Often, I feel like the child who can’t quite find the right hiding spot. Hiding out or not, there is no escaping winter. So I say, why not face it head-on? This year, I’d like welcome winter, rather than dread it.
It’s not that I hate winter. I actually, quite, like it. That is, until January when the holidays have passed and the frigid air refuses to leave (until April….where I live). Everyone starts to get cabin fever and colds.
While I can’t shorten winter, I can care for myself and my family. I find that when I feel better mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I’m much more suited to weather a storm and to not be as affected by things such as the weather. When I feel strong and balanced within, then my outside environment really has less of a “say so.” The following are a few ways we like to stay healthy, in our family.
6 ways to stay healthy
It seems we all tend to relax more readily in the winter. You can find me cuddling up on the couch watching movies or binging on Netflix. Hibernating and resting is good, however, it isn’t the same as sleep. Be sure to turn off screens and go to bed at a sensible time. It gets darker earlier which, certainly, can help our circadian rhythm. One thing that is sure to tamper with our ability to sleep is the blue light emitted from screens. Consider leaving your phone in the bathroom, rather than by your bedside. This is something I’m working to implement. Now, how much sleep? We are all different but the average adult needs anywhere between 7-9 hours a night and children need more.
Eat Your Veg
It’s really easy to overdo it with comfort food in the colder months. Just as it is always a bit easier to eat more produce in the summer. I don’t know about you but my idea of comfort food doesn’t always include a lot of nutrient dense food. One of the greatest ways we can boost our immune system is to get the nutrients we need. Plants are rich in vitamins and minerals that our body needs to stay strong and healthy. A wide variety of vegetable keeps are gut healthy–which we now know is very connected to our immune systems. Cold produce may not sound great in the cooler months, so think soups, stews, and roasted vegetables. And, always consider what is in season and listen to your body. If you are craving an apple, chances are that your body may need more fiber.
I love getting as many vitamins as possible from my food, but sometimes we need an extra boost–a little help from our friends. In the winter months, we especially need extra amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Three-quarters of teens and adults are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D can be hard to come by in the winter months, with lack of sunlight, so supplementing is really important. In our house, we are loving the Rainbow Light gummies. Their Vitamin C Slices are jam-packed with necessary nutrients that provide antioxidant protection and help support immune health. My teens really like them (if we forget to take them at breakfast, I pop them in their lunch bag). We are also loving the Vitamin D3 Gummies. These lemon flavored chewies are high-potency and help support bone and muscle strength, immune function and circulatory and cellular health (bonus: Vitamin D3 is the most effective form of Vitamin D). Living in the Midwest means that we, often, don’t get our dose of Vitamin D from the sun during the long, cold winters. Rainbow Light makes it super easy to for my teens to take supplements and ensure that everyone stays healthy (We are also really excited to try their Active Health Teen Multi-Vitamin, which helps promote clear skin from the inside out and, also, helps digestion).
I don’t know about you, but I always find it harder to exercise in the winter. It easier to move more when the weather invites us outside. However, studies show that exercise is not only good for our physical health but also our mental health. Moving can help with the winter blues–so hop on the treadmill to get your steps in. Sometimes, I jump on while in my regular clothes (if I have to put workout clothes on it’s more of an ordeal) and walk at a pace that you would on an afternoon stroll. I find that I’m more likely to walk every day if I don’t make a fuss about it. Another great option is to consider taking a group class. It’s easy to feel more isolated in the winter months. Exercising with a friend is a like a double shot against seasonal depression and a weakened immune system.
Gratitude can change everything. Of course, it changes our perspective, and help us to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t, but did you know that it has a profound effect on our physical health? Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis says of gratitude: “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.” While a study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that”people who were more grateful actually had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms” (via today.com). Start by practicing gratitude today. I like to use the word practice because it is something we can become better. I’ve created a beautiful Gratitude Journal with prompts that you can download here if you’d like to practice too.
But, Baby, it’s cold outside. I know! Hello, Chicago sub-zero weather with a wind that is so cold it burns. It’s so easy to stay home and to stay indoors. But did you know that fresh air (even if it is freezing) is good for you? It can sharpen your mind and your immune system. I usually can’t do my 30-minute outdoor walk, but sometimes I can do a five-minute walk and I feel so much better for it. On days, when that isn’t going to happen, I often stick my head out the sliding door and take a few deep breaths. I love the Scandinavian saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Invest in some winter gear and get out of the house–for fresh air–for seeing friends. And don’t forget to wash your hands!
Here’s to staying warm and healthy in the coming months!
What are some of your favorite ways to stay healthy during the winter months?
I’d love to hear and give them a try.
*This post is in partnership with Rainbow Light. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this blog. As always, I only share products that I truly love or use myself.