Winter is fast approaching, and with it come countless opportunities for illness, dis-ease, and dysfunction. Don’t make yourself susceptible to every pathogen, virus, and germ that crosses your path. Get proactive with your health and keep yourself in top form this winter!
Here are my top 10 things to do to stay healthy when the temperatures drop (though, really, they work all year long):
1. Stay hydrated! The drop in temperature outside and the increase of dry heat inside spell dehydration for many. But it doesn’t have to. Up your water intake. It’s cheap and easy, so there are no excuses. While using a quality filtration system for your water, such as the Berkey filter system, is optimal, the most important thing is to aim for drinking half of your body weight in ounces daily. Also, for every cup of booze or caffeine you have, you should add an extra cup of water to counter the dehydrating effects of these beverages. Do this, and you will have a much better chance of staying hydrated. Hydrated tissues are less inclined to pain and tension than dehydrated ones. And staying nice and hydrated keeps immune function high and toxicity levels low.
2. Get consistent sleep. Sleep is so unbelievably important. It’s during sleep that our bodies go into hyper-healing mode repairing injuries, healing dis-ease, eradicating the signs of aging, and restoring immune function. We are now in the dark half of the year when the nights are getting longer and longer, thus Naturally cuing our bodies to want more rest. Act those cues! And be consistent. Your health depends upon it.
3. Limit mucus-producing food and beverages in your diet. Foods such as red meat, eggs, cheese, milk, ice cream, and other dairy foods encourage the production of, or thickening of, mucus when consumed. Being that this time of year is often fraught with mucus-heavy illnesses and dis-ease, it is best to steer clear of meals, snacks, and beverages containing them.
4. Get at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted fresh air and sunshine every day. It can sometimes be more challenging to get outside at this time, what with the diminishing hours of daylight, plunging temperatures, and the pitfalls of ice and snow in many areas. Still, we need consistent fresh air and sunshine to thrive in our bodies. Getting regular exposure to the elements helps our bodies produce vitamin D for energy and strong bones. It elevates our moods helping to fend off seasonal depression. And breathing fresh air keeps our lungs strong and optimally functional. Take a walk every day. Or just sit on your porch and watch the world go by, knowing you’re doing good by your body.
5. Visualize yourself in optimal health. This is arguably the most important and most powerful tool you can implement to keep yourself healthy. It’s simple Law of Attraction stuff. Regularly focusing on what it’s like to be in optimal health, creates optimal health. Spend time every day visualizing how you feel, what you look like, the things you do and eat, and the energy you have when you’re in a state of optimal health. If you do this consistently, you will notice an improvement in your heath.
6. Be diligent about getting the highest quality and quantity of nutrients in your diet on a daily basis. Include a salad of fresh raw leafy greens, and at least a couple servings of fresh fruit (especially citrus) in your diet every day to boost your nutrient uptake and to support your immune function. Fueling your body with nutrient-packed, easily absorbable and digestible foods will go a long way to keeping you well this season and always.
7. Move your body for at least 15 consecutive minutes every day. Find an activity that is fun for you. Stretch, dance, run, climb trees, whatever. It’s best if you can mix things up every day, but the most important thing is to do something every day. Not only does this help keep your immune system toned, it also keeps your joints lubricated and your circulation strong which keeps you warmer and more comfortable in your body during the colder months.
8. Moisturize your skin daily. That cold weather and dry indoor heat can also wreak havoc on the skin. Protect your skin from the inside with hydration (as mentioned above), but add a second layer of protection on the outside with moisturizer. I recommend using something with little to no synthetic additives such as jojoba or rose hip oil for the face, and shea butter or coconut oil for the body. Pay special attention to areas that are frequently exposed to the elements, such as face, neck, ears, and hands.
9. Take time to breathe. Sometimes, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we can get so busy that we forget to breathe. The more stressed, overwhelmed, and overextended we get, the more shallow and restricted our breath becomes. Restricted breath means less life-giving oxygen for our cells and, thus, decreased health. Making time for breathing might seem a little strange since we do it whether we think about it or not, but starting a breathing practice can help us to expand our breath and hone its efficiency. You can do this by simply finding a quiet place to focus on your breath for 5-10 minutes every day. And if you want to get fancy with it, you can do this with the help of a humidifier or steam bath, essential oils optional.
10. Follow Monty Python’s advice, and always look on the bright side of life! Keeping a positive outlook adds years to life, and ups the potency of our health, like little else. Most of us have learned to focus on the things that are wrong or challenging or uncomfortable about our lives, because, let’s face it, they can be difficult to ignore. But we can totally re-train ourselves to shift that focus toward the things that are awesome, blissful, and inspiring. It begins with a decision and a desire to do so. If it helps, go watch The Life of Brian to get yourself in the mood.