Happy Winter! It’s hard to believe, considering the holiday frenzy, but we have officially transitioned from fall to winter!
By any chance have you noticed a shift in your body/mood/energy levels lately?
We don’t tend to pay much attention to the winter solstice when it’s already been snowy and cold and our focus is on the holidays, the celebrations, the shopping, the eating, the family… but it arrives, noticed or not.
What does this mean for your body? Each new season requires a slightly different approach to health, because each season brings different needs both mentally and physically.
Winter is a time for us to shift our focus inward and rest up, before intense energy is needed for spring renewal and growth. We’re biologically programmed to rest and conserve energy this time of year. These days when we’re more apt to curl up on the couch, craving rest and restoration are, of course, all totally normal! But learning how to use this to your advantage is a key part in maintaining health and vibrancy during the long, cold, winter months.
We all know the symptoms of winter’s toll on our bodies. Cold, dry temperatures often mean dehydration, dry skin, eczema and chapped lips. Viruses bring on a red nose. The excess of the holiday celebrations and cravings for comfort foods often mean a few extra pounds gained, followed immediately by desperate resolutions to undo the damage.
Preparing your body for each season, is essential for optimal health and vitality and it’s important to flow with the season and all it offers, a slower pace, peace and rest.
By both eating seasonally and focusing on a few key factors in seasonal health we intuitively bring our bodies back into balance and boost our immunity. As you nurture your body this winter, try focusing your attention on the following key areas:
Circulation – Break a sweat regularly and get the blood flowing. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the skin, boosts immunity, lowers stress, detoxes your body, improves sleep and lifts your mood! Another tip to get the circulation flowing, especially to the skin, is a self-care tool called dry brushing. Dry brushing consists of brushing the skin with a dry brush (made for this purpose) or a washcloth. Skin brushing supports the lymphatic system, increasing circulation and encouraging detoxification. Also, try sipping on warm water (add lemon if you like) throughout the day. Not only with it support your lymph, circulation and detox, but it will help keep you warm!
Immunity- Naturally support your immune system to stay healthy all winter by eating lots of fruits and veggies. Boost your vitamin C intake with veggies like Brussel sprouts and citrus fruits. Ditch the refined sugar which both represses your immune system and hinders nutrient assimilation. Stick with naturally sweet whole foods and natural sweeteners like raw honey or maple syrup.
Sleep (the long winter’s nap!) – ‘Tis the season to nurture your body with deep rest. Sleep is essential for weight control, adrenal health, immunity and overall well-being all year long, but especially in the winter! It is one of the most overlooked aspects of well-being in our busy culture and is absolutely essential. If you’re not getting enough it’s taking its toll one way or another.
Warming foods- Our bodies crave cooked foods over raw in the winter, which is why the salads you eat all spring/summer/fall may not have the same appeal. The energy in your body is different and has a more difficult time digesting as many raw foods in the winter season. Switch to warm salads, such as greens topped with roasted or sauteed veggies. Ideal foods are soups, stews, warm veggie dishes, wild salmon and healthy fats. Use warming spices in your cooked foods such as cinnamon, cayenne and ginger to heat up your body and aid in digestion.
Focus on fats- Fats are your friend, if they’re the good kind! You know the healthy fats by now, avocado, nuts and seeds, wild salmon, coconut oil! Skimping on good fats in the winter can make you feel colder, hungrier and sap your energy. They also help to hydrate your winter skin from within, support balanced hormones, balance your blood sugar and increase absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
So many of us suffer from burnout this time of year as a result of stress, dietary choices and lack of good sleep. This all leads to fatigue, sugar cravings, anxiety, poor sleep and ultimately takes a huge toll on our health.
It’s important not to miss the restorative moments of winter, supporting our bodies with deeply nourishing foods and rest.
If you’d like a little guidance with your winter restoration, this January we are excited to offer our group reboot program, the 14 to Fully Functional® Winter Reboot! This is a restorative, nourishing program, focused on the specific body and soul needs of winter. Detox is a way to get your body functioning at the highest level, which means natural weight loss, improved digestion, a strengthened immune system, reduced inflammation and a big energy boost! It can help you ditch nagging cravings and establish a completely new relationship with food. I hope you’ll join us!
Let’s make this winter the best yet for ultimate health and well-being!