Winter can be a restorative time to embrace slowing down and focus on warm foods and good company. However, with the cooler temperatures, our bodies reacting to the cold can make it harder to stick to the same healthy habits we implement in the warmer months.
Self-Care RoutineHow you start the day is vital. Beginning your day with positive actions that nourish your body, sets up the rest of your day for success. We recommend choosing rituals that speak to you and that you can easily tack onto your existing morning routine. Here are a few easy healthy habit additions that take less than 5 minutes:
- Dry Body Brushing: Using a dry body brush can be a great way to exfoliate away dead skin cells and encourage the turnover of new cells. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, which in turn helps to strengthen our immune system.
- Morning Meditation: By taking a few minutes each morning to practise mindfulness and meditation, you are shifting your focus to your mental health and cultivating a peaceful and happy mindset. It’s great for helping to reduce stress and anxiety, but also aids in waking up you mind!
- Oil pulling: This ancient ayurvedic practice, which involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes, aids in promoting oral hygiene and removing cavity causing bacteria.
- Skincare routine: There is so much more to a good skincare routine than just great looking skin. This daily routine shouldn’t be dismissed as a mere hygiene practice, a hobby or for being self-indulgent. A good skincare routine can keep you sane. Through the act of taking care of your skin, it boosts your self-confidence, thereby improving your mental health.
Although it can be tempting to stay rugged up on the coach or even better sleep in, exercising is an incredibly important tool that you can use to help beat the winter blues and keep your endorphins pumping. If you’re struggling to get out and get moving, our first tip is to get yourself some motivation buddies. Taking a walk with friends, even if the end destination is the local coffee shop, will help to hold you accountable and take your mind off how freezing it is! If you can’t gather the courage to get outside, there are plenty of at-home workout apps and YouTube videos at your disposal – from stretching and yoga to HIIT sessions, you won’t be short of a program to get you moving. But if your preference is to exercise outdoors, warm up inside with some dynamic movement and stretches, your body will heat up in no time and the cold air outside won’t feel so brisk.
Keep Warm and Cosy
With the temperature outside dropping it’s a great opportunity to indulge in staying indoors and making your surroundings as cosy as possible. Think candles, warm blankets, thick woollen socks and cups of tea. If you must leave the house, make sure you keep your body warm and wear plenty of layers – The cooler weather impacts on our body’s ability to fight off viruses and infections, so it’s important that you’re helping your body to stay warm by wearing appropriate clothing (thanks for the lecture mum!).
Eat well and in season
Look after your immune system by eating nutritious foods and wholesome meals. Rather than focusing on removing particular foods (because #balance), choose nutrient dense foods that you love! If you’re stuck for ideas, you could try porridge or eggs on toast for breakfast; homemade soups for lunch and pastas or a roast for dinner.
Make sure you’re eating balanced meals containing vegetables, protein and some good quality carbohydrates. If you’re looking to spice things up a little with different flavours, try adding some warming herbs and spices like Turmeric, Chilli or Cinnamon. Grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and oranges are all delicious and in season over winter. Try involving fruit in your breakfast if you’re not already, and add an extra serve of vegetables to each main meal.
Broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are great winter vegetables, particularly for soups. While fresh is best, don’t be afraid to stock the freezer up with cheap and easy additions to any meal. A great winter warmer! Make your casseroles and stews with lots of vegetables to boost your meals with heart healthy foods. When cooking stews and casseroles, remember to trim fat off meat before cooking and add kidney beans, chickpeas, soy beans or lentils for fibre, and use reduced salt stock. Making extra means lunch is sorted too. For winter desserts, stew some fruit and save some for breakfast for the next day.
Supplement when you need
To give your immune system a helping hand, you can also try adding Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc and Iron into your diet. If taking supplements isn’t an option for you, make sure to choose foods that are rich in immune boosting vitamins and minerals.
During this drier and colder time of year, we can easily become dehydrated as the urge to quench our thirst is diminished. This means that we could be depriving our body of the hydration it needs to stay healthy. If you’re struggling to drink enough water, start a water tracker, and make sure you're ticking off eight glasses of water per day. If you struggle to drink cold water, try drinking cups of hot water with lemon or your favourite herbal tea.