The first sights of winter can be exciting, cozy and comforting with the holiday season, as we await the beautiful snow in all its traditions and nostalgia. However, winter can also be a challenging time to embrace with tolerating short daylight, bearing cold temperatures, and getting cabin fever from being indoors too much as we bear the whole season. This issue offers tips and ideas for making your winter brighter, more comfortable, and enjoyable, especially through the later winter months. You’ll learn how to take better physical and mental care of yourself by giving yourself the extra care and attention you need during this time of year, from foods to skin care, seasonal affective disorder, physical fitness, getting outdoors, immunity, and much more than simply giving in to hibernation.
- Spice Up Your Cooking
Using spices such as garlic, ginger, and cinnamon, and saffron are comforting smells and are warming to the body, and can be added to vegetable dishes, sautéed with onions, Indian curries, soups, stews, and more. In Chinese medicine, herbs like these are often prepared and given like medications for patients suffering from conditions caused by cold and dampness, so they are also good for the immune system as they help ward off bacteria and viruses.
- Laugh More
Laughing increases blood flow through circulation, as well as lifting your spirits and feel good chemicals in the brain. Spend time chatting with friends and family, watch funny movies and shows, or read books that inspire positivity.
- Give Your Skin Extra Care
With the carefree nature of summer behind us, avoiding water that is too hot, using soap only where needed, and using a moisturizer right out of the shower can help in preventing extra skin dryness that is experienced in the winter. Hot water and excess soap can strip the oils in your skin, while moisturizing helps give you more moisture and seals it in. Look for soaps that are natural, such as castile, or homemade bar soaps that are superfatted.
(Try Dr. Squatch Bar soap, available in-store at OYESPA!)
- Play Outside
Staying active promotes circulation and heart health, lowers depression, and helps the immune system so that you get sick less. One of the reasons people are more sick in the winter is from being indoors too much. Cross country skiing, sledding, ice skating, playing with the kids, and other forms of recreation can help keep things exciting when we’d rather stay indoors to keep warm. Keep yourself bundled to avoid unnecessary bare skin exposure.
- Give Back
Connecting with your community by volunteering or giving to charity, such as providing warm coats, blankets, clothing, and food to those in need is a sure way to spread joy around to everyone, including yourself.
- Get Some Fresh Air
Fresh air helps oxygenate your body more than the stale air in the house. Even going outside for just a few minutes will perk you up and refresh you. Deep breathing throughout the day is also healthy for your cells and organs and gets rid of stagnant waste in the body while also burning fat.
- Tend A Windowsill Garden
Growing herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and basil can give you a sunny feeling, and will provide you with fresh greens to add to your meals. They also provide phytochemicals and minerals that are nourishing for your immune system. Seeds can easily be germinated in a mini greenhouse with a cover, or place a paper towel inside a baggie and wet it. Place some seeds and be sure to keep it wet and the bag closed. It acts as a super mini greenhouse seed germinator. Once the seeds sprout, you can transfer them into containers and keep them by a window.
- Avoid Sunglasses for Part of the Day
Wearing sunglasses all the time can be detrimental to your body’s day and night cycle, as light needs to enter the retinas of the eyes. This will help prevent seasonal affective disorder, which causes depression and fatigue. Only wear them if you absolutely need to, such as a white out while driving on a sunny day. In addition, you can purchase a light box that simulates sunlight that you look into for about 15-20 minutes in the morning, and can include a negative ion mist that is similar to that fresh smell when you go outside, especially near trees and grass, or near the ocean.
- Have a Soothing Beverage
Warm beverages help replace the lost heat you are feeling during this time of year, and the addition of warming herbs like cinnamon and ginger make them even more comforting. Sipping on drinks like Indian Chai, hot tea, hot cocoa, and soups are comforting, warming, and nourishing.
(We offer a variety of soothing beverages at OYEVIDA)
- Focus on Winter Produce
Don’t let your diet suffer in the winter months by losing your focus on fruits and vegetables. Abundant produce like carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, celery, apples, bananas, frozen berries, spinach, and frozen vegetables can still be mainstays of your meals, such as veggie stews, soups, salads, fruit smoothies, green smoothies, baked squash, and more.
(Try one of our healthy meals at OYEVIDA)
- Enjoy Nature
Try to enjoy nature in all its wonders. Even when it’s easier to stay indoors, spend some time each week outside when the weather isn’t unbearable and enjoy the peacefulness and solitude winter brings, or pair up with a friend.
Over the years, scientists have been studying meditation and its effects, and are discovering that it raises the threshold of the brain to stress, while also increasing positive chemicals that make us feel happy and motivated, with clearer thinking. Brainwave meditation is an easy way to synchronize the brain to specific levels from high to low, or beta to delta, making it more convenient today than ever, even on mobile devices.
- Color Your World
Color affects your mood, and the whitewash of winter tends to dull the senses, especially after the holidays when all the presents and colorful lights are gone. Opt for using more sunny colors in your wardrobe or your home such as yellow, orange, red, and green.
- Soothe Your Nose
Colds and other viruses can be hard on the nose, drying it out and making it red and sore. Opt for tissues made with lotion, or apply a light, fragrance-free lotion a few times a day to your nose. Neti pots are also helpful in eliminating stagnant material and congestion from the nose and sinuses. Essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary, made into a salve with unpetroleum can be applied like a balm to the nose, ear, neck, chest, and back area.
- Eat a Little Comfort Food
We often turn to comfort foods for, well, their comfort it brings us in taste or memories of the past we enjoyed. Indulging a little in these or healthier versions of them can bring warm feelings and happy state of mind.
- Turn Up the Heat
Engaging in activities that create deep warmth in the body, such as yoga, a bath, or a sauna can go a long way in helping your body feel like it’s summer again.
- Increase Humidity And Moisture
Utilize a humidifier in your home if your central heating system does not already have a winter humidity setting. Use low setting on dryer. Even clothes need the extra moisture to keep them from drying out and looking dull.
After washing your hair, let it air dry or partially air dry and it will feel smoother and more moisturized. Try to avoid very hot water in the shower, or a long shower, and use less soap to help preserve your skin’s moisture. Applying a moisturizer right after the shower is also helpful in sealing in the moisture.
Use a spritzer made from water and essential oil, such as rose or lavender, and use for a hair and face mist to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
Keep a bottle of water by your bedside at night to stay hydrated and sleep better.
- Be Optimistic
Look at the bright side of things. After the holidays, daylight starts to increase slowly each day. Before you know it, the long summer days will be here and you can use this time to make your summer plans!
- Warm Your Core
It’s difficult for your hands and feet to stay warm if your core is not warm. It may seem like common sense, but we often forget or avoid when we’re in a hurry. Use extra bundling to increase blood circulation such as more layers like sweaters, vests, gloves, and hats.
- Keep Up on Vitamin D
In the summertime, your body can easily make plenty of Vitamin D within twenty minutes of sun exposure. Vitamin D is a hormone responsible for several chemical reactions in the body, as well as affecting hormones and the immune system. However, in the winter, with staying indoors more and the sun’s UV rays not reaching adequately, it’s easy to become deficient. Many doctors are now testing Vitamin D levels as part of regular physical examinations through a simple blood test. Be sure to get your levels checked once a year at least to keep it at optimum levels.