This summer I manged to avoid getting sick. I usually get some nasty coughey thing that lasts for weeks and at least one summer cold. Amazingly I stayed completely healthy for the entire summer, despite travelling a lot (with sick people everywhere!) and despite having a toddler that was sick (and coughing in my face repeatedly.)
Somehow my Immune System fought a good battle and we defeated all those nasty germs floating around.
So this winter I am really, really determined to stay healthy and to avoid all those miserable winter viruses and bugs. I have been researching tips to stay healthy in winter and wanted to share them with you. Some of these are common sense but it never hurts to be reminded.
I think the holiday season can get so busy for all of us, it is easy to let yourself become a last priority. So here are 7 ways you can keep yourself healthy and feeling great this winter!
Do not let this slip! In summer we are always thinking about nice ice cold drinks and staying hydrated. I think this easily slips in winter when I tend to start drinking Starbucks coffees like it is my job and I forget to be diligent about my water consumption. So watch this and make sure you are on top of lots and lots and lots of water. This is my super easy Early Morning and Just Before Bed Detox Water that works really well for me. So comforting!
You Must Rest.
This is the hardest one for me- I tend to put this last and I have to really force myself to make rest and sleep a priority. In winter we get so busy with parties and travelling and shopping and the holidays. Don’t let your sleep fall off your priority list this winter and if you do start to feel like you might be coming down with something- the very first thing I do is stop and rest. It is the best way to keep yourself healthy and help your body fight off nasty stuff.
Stick to Your Fitness Routine.
This is another hard one… it is cold outside maybe snowing or rainy and who wants to put on light clothes and head out to the gym. Not me! 🙂 (My yoga class was FREEZING this morning.) I tend to stop running in winter as well because it gets so dark so early- the time I can take off for a run is so limited that I just can’t make it work. If that is the same for you in winter, it might be time to revamp your fitness routine and maybe you take a Spin class instead of doing laps in the pool or take a yoga class instead of your evening run.
It is really important to stick to your routine and find a way to stay on track with fitness. Having a fit body is the best way to stay young and energized. I can absolutely feel the fatigue and moodiness when I let my routine slip for a few days. Here are some tips to stay motivated on your exercise routine.
Wash Your Hands.
Duh? Right? Wash your hands. Seriously wash your hands like you have a slight obsession with it. I try not to be mindless when I wash my hands in winter- remember to thoroughly lather and wash the front and back of your hands for 30 seconds. And do it a lot. Here is a yummy Satin Hands scrub you can make if your hands start to get a bit dry.
Take a Bath
I am not a bath person really. I prefer super hot showers myself but a nice hot bath can be so good for your body! Especially if you are feeling a little fatigued. A detox bath can be so good for you too- just add Epsom salts, baking soda and a few drops of therapeutic grade essential oils to the tub. The Epsom and baking soda will relieve achy muscles, soreness, help you sleep better, reduce tension and stress. You should do this no more then 3 times a week for 12-30 min and be sure you drink a TON of water to re-hydrate your body.
When my girls start to seem like they are getting sick, the first thing I do is put them in the tub with just a small amount of Epsom salts and theraputic grade oils and then into pj’s and then onto the couch to rest up with a huge bottle of water.
In winter it gets so cold and there are just treats and wonderful things everywhere to tempt you. Fresh spinach salad? No thanks, pass the steaming hot bowl of potato soup please! And I’d like to wash that down with a few cookies… and possibly a Hot Toddy. I can’t be the only one on that right?!
It is actually so easy to let your diet slip a little in winter and it is so important to continue to fuel your body with the right things to stay fit and energized. I spoke with Janet Little, Director of Nutrition, for Sprouts Farmers Market and she gave me tons of tips on what to eat in winter to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs:
- Squashes, sweet potatoes and pumpkins: Vitamin A and beta-carotene rich, they stimulate and enhance immune function.
- Spinach and broccoli: Vitamin E-rich, they enhance helper T-cell activity. T-cells are your powerful natural killer cells protecting your immune system.
- Onions and garlic: Their sulfur-containing compound called allicin functions as an antibacterial and antiviral agent.
- Apples and pears: their soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells—they go from being unhealthy pro-inflammatory cells to healing anti-inflammatory cells that help us recover faster from infection.
- Chicken soup: Scientists have confirmed that the ingredients in chicken soup help increase neutrophils activity – your white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and help the body’s immune system to fight colds and flu.
And as we get busier and busier it is easy to forget to grab breakfast- Janet has some great ideas for make ahead, grab n go breakfast options:
- Fruit Salad To Go: Simply add sliced fruit and berries to a recloseable bag and send along a plastic spoon.
- Peanut Butter Whole Wheat Toast & Sliced Bananas: We timed this kid’s favorite, and it only took 2½ minutes to make— and about three minutes to devour. Serve with a glass of soymilk.
- Berry Good Yogurt and Granola Parfaits: Layer yogurt, blueberries and Henry’s bulk granola in a parfait glass.
- Strawberry-Orange Smoothies: Blend strawberries with ice, protein powder, orange juice and a banana.
- More eye-opening ideas! High fiber, low sugar cereal, granola bars, trail mix, low fat muffins, breakfast burritos, oatmeal, scrambled egg and veggie pitas.
Mind Over Matter.
This might sound silly but I am a firm believer in the power of your own mind. I really do believe that if you tell yourself you are healthy, happy, energized… whatever… you will start to feel those things. When I get a little moany in my life “I’m so tired. My back hurts… blah blah…” well I feel awful. When my littlest in particular gets sick I know I am going to get whatever it is right after she starts to feel better. The little ones have no problem sneezing right on you and they can be so clingy when they are sick (and rightly so)- so it is pretty much inevitable that I will get whatever she has. Every.time. This year she was sick twice and I kept telling myself to be diligent so I stay healthy. And I did! Instead of saying- “Oh great now I am going to get sick.” I was telling myself over and over that I need to take care of myself too so that I can stay healthy. ‘Cuz Ain’t No One Got Time for That. So try to stay positive this winter and maybe you can convince yourself that you really do feel great :).
And if you are a user of essential oils, here are three extra things I like to do:
- Add lemon to my water or a drop of lemon and thieves to hot water.
- Diffuse thieves or another oil that helps to support the immune system.
- My friend taught me a little trick- if you can wear a lightweight scarf you might drop a little theives onto your hands and then sort of rub over your scarf. All day long you will be inhaling the yummy scent and the goodness that thieves can do for your body. She does this when travelling and I thought it was genius.
Hopefully these tips keep you feeling great all winter long. What other tips would you add to this list?
And here are some other articles you might enjoy:
Mango Green Smoothie Recipe- easy way to get Spinach into your diet!
Crock Pot Marinara Sauce– delicious way to get garlic, onion and broccoli in your diet!
15 Infused Water Recipes – great way to increase your water consumption
**Note: I am not a Doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. Simply tips that have worked for me to feel great. Please consult a physician for any concerns or questions you might have.