It’s officially winter here in NE! Despite it being above freezing almost everyday this past month doesn’t mean our bodies don’t come in contact with seasonal threats with the change of weather. Germs are everywhere at all times and winter forcing us into hibernation mode with different habits can naturally make us a little more susceptible to catching virus’.
I’m here to give you some valuable tips that can really help you beat those winter blues. I’m all for going with the flow of the natural rhythms of seasons, I think it is vital for our overall wellbeing. Slowing down in winter is inevitable but there can be a beautiful balance found in the slow movement of this cold season.
Most people dread this time of year but it’s important to find the eb + flow and find beauty in a season that isn’t always easy to get through.
I promise you these tips are full proof in helping you get through this winter. These are simple + easy routines I have put in place for myself to ensure I stay healthy, active and mentally well. I hope you gain some perspective and incorporate these things into your routine too.
Vitamin D is stored in the liver and in fatty tissue in our bodies. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays many roles in aiding our bodies. It differs from other vitamins because our body makes it on it’s own, oppose to receiving it from food sources. While I am a big believer in receiving all of our vitamins + minerals from the foods we choose to nourish our bodies with, vitamin D is an exception. Moving from a climate where there was constant sun exposure year round to a climate where there is sun exposure 75% of the year calls for supplementation.
A large percentage of adults suffer from vitamin D deficiency as is, despite the fact that winter increases those percentages even more. I’ll leave a study for you here.
You’re probably asking: “what does vitamin D have to do with surviving winter?”
Vitamin D naturally enhances the immune system! It is known to block inflammatory responses because our immune cells hold vitamin D receptors.
TIP: If you live somewhere you don’t get exposure to the sun for a good few months, I recommend you go see a trained professional and get your vitamin D levels tested to then decipher whether you need to supplement or not.
When you are purchasing supplementation, opt for a vitamin D3 supplement in a liquid form. This is easiest for your body to absorb and it is the most beneficial.
I can’t stress this enough. This is literally my mantra for this blog — Food is medicine people!!! I get it, it’s getting colder and your body is craving alllllll the foods that don’t necessarily bring you much nutritional value but they fill your soul with all the goodness. It’s easy to reach for convenient foods. I’m in the same boat, I want all those foods too but at the end of the day, from my personal experience, they satisfy me for about 10 minutes and then I feel bloated, sluggish and slow.
I know carbohydrates make us all feel great. I totally believe in honouring those cravings and eating intuitively with the seasons but instead of filling your plate with a bunch of white potatoes (which are full of starch and don’t hold as much nutritional value) opt for sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes give you sustained + slow burning energy that will keep you full for a longer period of time and they have SO many vitamins + minerals that bring your body nourishment.
Your diet directly impacts every part of your body. We all want to stay healthy during this winter season and I can write this with confidence, eating a diet filled with good quality meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds has boosted my immune system dramatically!
Here is a list of foods I love to eat for a healthy immune system:
Protein, protein, protein. I chose to eat good quality meat + eggs for my main source of protein.
Dark Leafy greens + cruciferous veggies. Kale, Baby spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower.
Herbs + Spices. Beautiful natural healing foods like: Garlic, onion, turmeric, parsley, oregano to name a few.
Berries. Antioxidants are amazing for our bodies. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
Nuts + Seeds. Almonds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and pepitas.
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know this was a thing until I moved to the States. I haven’t personally experienced this but I understand how and why some people do. Being somewhere that is cold and grey for 3 months can really negatively impact a persons mental health, especially if all they are doing is waking up and going to work.
I love that winter is a time for us to slow down, reflect and rejuvenate for the spring but in that season of slow I believe you still need to find a healthy balance of resting while embracing other activities.
3 things to continue during the winter:
Movement. Moving your body is good for your physical health, emotional health and your mental health. This past winter in Nebraska I was at home every single day without a license. Gideon and I made it a priority to get out of the house (as much as I wanted to stay cozied up) and go to the gym. We are all aware of the incredible benefit of the release of those good endorphins when we exercise, keep those going during the winter!
Be Social. It’s easy to retreat and stay hidden in your home when it’s cold outside but I believe there is power in human interaction. I challenge you to get out of the house or invite people over once or twice a week and build intentional relationships. I’d like to add, it’s okay to be a little more picky with who you have in your world because some people can be really toxic. Set those boundaries and invest in the ones you have on your heart.
Set a good Routine. I am a sucker for routines. I have a whole blog post on my morning routine that I will link below. As I said above, I was home everyday last winter, so it was really important for me to set a good routine that allowed me to work towards my goals and keep busy.
BONUS: Get creative. I am in love with dreaming + creating. Set yourself a little or big passion project to work on during the winter.
I am a sucker for good quality bone broth and I absolutely swear by it. Before I moved to America I was in the habit of drinking a cup of bone broth every single morning. I noticed improvements in my digestion, skin and immune system. Bone broth is extremely nutrient dense! It contains collagen, all amino acids and essential vitamins + minerals. It’s also a great way to get more protein into your diet.
Bone broth helps to build up the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. These good bacteria help to fight inflammation in the body and in turn can benefit your immune system.
Sweet, sweet Elderberry — AKA my literal love language during the winter. This berry is freaken powerful and you need to get your hands on it ASAP!
Elderberry has been used as a natural remedy for many years. It dates back to being used by Caveman, ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks! This little wonder herb has SO many incredible healing benefits.
Sambucus nigra (scientific name for elder) is a part of the Adoxaceae family. Both the berries + flowers are used as medicine. Elderberry is native to Europe, Africa and certain parts of Asia. It is now commonly found in many parts of the US too.
Elderberry is considered and immunostimulate. This means it has specific chemical compounds that contain immune boosting properties. In this case, Elderberry contains a chemical called, anthocyanidins. It is rich in color which means it contains a tonne of antioxidants and is also an anti-inflammatory herb.
There have been numerous studies conducted proving that elderberry actually decreases cold + flu symptoms dramatically and if it is taken within 48 hours of onset sickness, it can actually decrease the duration of said sickness.
I know that after reading that the first thing you want to do is race to the store and get yourself some elderberry goods but let me give you this little piece of advice: Syrup is good but tinctures are better! The minimal ingredients the better!! I personally make my own tinctures now oppose to buying because I like to know exactly what goes into something I’m consuming orally for illness. I make mine with elderberries + vinegar. Simple ingredients that get the job done! If you don’t have a problem with alcohol based tinctures there are so many out there that contain just elderberries + grain alcohol.
There you have it lovely’s, my top tips for surviving winter 101! I hope you found this blog post informative. These practices + foods are tried and true. I promise they make a world of difference in surviving these cooler months! Let me know how you liked this post and which of the tips you are most excited to add into your routine this winter!
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