CURES FOR THE COLD WEATHER BLUES (JAN 2018)
Staying motivated when darkness falls at 5pm can be challenging.
The lack of daylight, dulled sunshine, and months of chilly weather can really take you down a peg. Sometimes I just want to wrap myself and my loved ones in Snuggies and hibernate until spring.
Weathering the winter can seem like a full time job. Between dry eyes, dry skin, dry scalp, the many colds and viruses floating about, threat of flu and many ailments brought on by sheer exhaustion, it can be bit overwhelming. But, small adjustments to your daily routine and a proactive approach to things can make all the difference in fending off sickness and
staying healthy, happy, and beautiful all winter long.
Stay connected to your body:
You might need to make changes in your diet. I don't mean to "go on a diet," unless, of course, you need to. Packing on the pounds is a winter curse that won't serve your health very well. Stay mindful of your body and how you feel your best. If you're feeling lethargic, uncomfortable, bloated, lacking spirit and spunk and don't fit in your jeans, consider a gym membership, joining a yoga or Pilates studio, investing in an online subscription to Gaia, Yogaanytime, or Myyogaworks. There are so many of them. I love doing Danielle Peazer videos. They’re quick and effective and great when you don’t have time to take a class. You might invest in a Peloton. There are endless options, but you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to stay healthy. Ten minutes of physical activity is much better than none at all. Now, back to diet and nutrition.
Eat the right foods:
You might need to change your day-to-day habits. Many favor cooling foods in the summer like salads and cold smoothies. Your body might crave warm, nutrient rich, foods that fuel the body and soul in the winter months. Think in terms of warmth and nourishment. Consider swapping out cold cereal for heart-healthy oatmeal. Try wholesome soups (so easy to make yourself with a Vitamix or Blendtec) instead of a cold sandwich or salad, or add a soup or chili to your salad routine. Ever notice how almost every culture has a soup for the soul? Chicken, Miso, Pho, Stracciatella, and so on. Soup is good food. Root veggies are very grounding. Go figure!
Comfort foods don't have to be unhealthy. You can show your body comfort and care and help it stay on track by eating warm veggies, stews, drinking teas (like green, mint, chamomile, and ginger) and drinking plenty of water. Watch your sugar intake and keep your energy up in the colder months by eating small meals comprised of anti-inflammatory foods throughout the day. It’s actually a good practice all year long. Take your time when you eat. Make it a gadget-free environment; savor your food and the company whether it's with family, friends, colleagues, or yourself!
It's very easy to get dehydrated in the winter when heaters are kicking and there is less moisture in the air. Invest in a Swell bottle, ModernHuman bottle or the like, and tote your water around like your life depends on it. Staving off dehydration could prevent a host of issues from cropping up.
Hydration helps with sleep and with detoxification. You can prevent cramping, headaches, skin problems and keep your digestion healthy by staying hydrated. So don't skimp on the H2O.
Save your Skin:
So many people complain about scaly skin, eczema, flakiness and dry scalp. You kind of need to stay on top of things. Invest in a good night cream. And when I say invest, it doesn't have to cost a lot. There are non-toxic companies like Acure that make a wonderful soothing lavender night cream (works great in the daytime too), One of my faves is Alba Even Advanced Night Cream. Another winner is Pharmacy Green Clean Makeup Melt away Cleansing Balm. It will leave your skin feeling silky and hydrated.
Aquaphor works wonders on lips, and cracked fingers. Sky Organics lip balm is a savior and DoTerra makes amazing essential oils and luscious skincare. Cetaphil Restoraderm eczema calming body wash and moisturizer can do wonders for dry patches and if they persist, a trip to a dermatologist is a great idea. You might need a prescription cream to combat the dryness. Shorter, fewer hot showers can also be a big help. If your hands are taking a beating, try Okeeffe’s tried and true Working Hands hand cream.
If you've ever considered upping your game and adding a serum to your regimen, now is the time. The right serum can really boost radiance! An appointment with a good facialist or esthetician is a great way to save face! Facials can keep your skin looking lovely, clean and dewy all winter long. It's a lot of bang for your buck. I have been seeing the same esthetician for over 15 years. She not only helps me get my glow on when I desperately need it, she also creates a feeling of calm, restorative bliss and helps recommend targeted, personal, skincare. She is like a skin shaman
and everyone should have one.
Your hair needs TLC too. I recommend less hair washing, more conditioner. Scalp treatments. You can give yourself an oil treatment at home. Coconut oil does a great job and there are many home treatments like Dr. Haucshka's Neem hair oil. Rub it in, wash it out; it feels amazing.
Ask your favorite salon for a deep conditioning treatment. It can make all the difference, help with breakage and add and restore shine! And who doesn't want to shine?
Sleep it off:
If there was ever a time to be mindful of your zzz's, it's during the winter. Sleep is paramount all year long, but during flu season you really need to keep your body in check. Sleep helps your body restore, repair and fight off illness. You wouldn't try to drive your car with no gas or dive into a pool with no water, would you? Don't attempt to get through cold season with too little sleep. This is the thing to be vigilant about. An extra hour can make all the difference. If you have small children, who are up insanely early you might need to make concessions and schedule sleep.
My husband and I shift sleep sometimes. I'll get up with our son early on Saturdays and let my husband sleep. Then, when he wakes up I'll catch a few more zzz's and the boys get quality time together. It's win/win! Do what you must to get that sleep.
I have recommended golden milk to my clients who have trouble winding down. You can make it yourself or buy it at most health food shops. Many swear by it. Chamomile tea, an essential oil diffuser with lavender and a few minutes of meditation can be a huge help. Sometimes my hubby and I will take five minutes to meditate together in bed and before five minutes is up, he is snoring! Deep breathing works wonders, too. It seems too simple to work, but the power of deep breathing cannot be overstated. Another nighttime tip is to abstain from eating too close to bedtime, which can exacerbate and even bring on acid reflux. Nobody needs that!
Eating well, sleeping well, exercising and mindfulness are all imperative to good health, especially during this bone-chilling season. But sometimes it's not quite enough. I recommend speaking to your doctor about Probiotics, fish oil. Vitamin D. and Curcumin. Make sure you are taking a good multi-vitamin and try supplementing your meals with super foods like goji berries, cacao, Spirulina, maca, hemp hearts and flax seeds. You can really get a boost from these supplements. You might also add lubricating eye drops to your daily routine to keep itchy, dry eyes at bay and saline nose spray to keep your sinuses clear and your nasal passages from drying out. Adding a humidifier to your nighttime routine can also help in a myriad of ways. If your sleeping space is dry at night (most are during the winter) invest in a good humidifier.
Follow the light:
An obvious drawback of winter is all the hours spent inside. Getting disciplined about getting outside is big. The lack of light this time of year can be catastrophic to some. We need sunlight on our faces. We need vitamin D. A walk in fresh, crisp air can revive our spirits and give the body the boost it needs to function the way it should. Even a quick brisk walk can do the trick. Try to resist the tendency to hide away. Get out in nature, or at least on your front lawn or street corner.
This is the holy grail of winter wellness strategies. You've probably heard it a thousand times, but do you take it to heart? You should. If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take proper care of others. The care you give your body, mind and spirit is beyond important. If you are stressed out, twisted up, or riddled with tension, consider some yoga or a deep tissue massage. If you gave up purchasing all the unnecessary items, fancy drinks and such on a monthly basis you could spring for a massage. At the very least, call a your mother or a good friend. Your soul sisters will keep you sane. Guys need this stuff too!
Style yourself warm:
Two words...Retail therapy. Invest in a warm scarf, gorgeous hat, toasty boots, and really good gloves. You don't have to spend a fortune. You can find the cutest hats at H&M, Gap, Zara, outdoor markets, or even Target. Investing in UGG gloves could be the way to go if your hands are always cold. Keep your extremities warm; add some flair to your sleeping bag coat. Never underestimate the power of a poncho, wrap or shawl. They make great accessories and great gifts.
Invest in yourself for real:
Consider an integrative health coach, a fitness expert such as a trainer, a membership to an exercise studio, a trip to the acupuncturist, physician’s office or a functional medicine practitioner if your health feels imbalanced. Find a therapist if you are struggling in your life.
The world is finally getting the hint that mental heath is vital to your entire sense of well-being. Invest in plants, non-toxic products, especially during the winter months when doors and windows are closed and there is less ventilation. Take baths, take time off. Caring for your mind, body and spirit is a beautiful thing and will result in the most beautiful you!
Ask for recommendations, do research, take good care of yourself and enjoy all the wonders of winter including staycationing, resting when you need to, reading, reconnecting with your heart’s desires, writing, listening to music, getting cozy by firelight and reflecting on life. And don't forget to sing! The best remedy for the winter blues may actually be... singing them away!