Top 5 Tips for Staying Well This Winter
Winter can be a wonderful time of year if you prepare well. In Sydney we are blessed with short winters, just long enough to rest, recharge and refocus so that we feel totally rejuvenated in time to enjoy the long summer ahead. If we plan really well we can even generate a bit of savings to enjoy spending when summer returns. Fail to plan or to take care of ourselves however and this rest time quickly becomes a depressing time filled with sick days, sore noses, junk food, bloating and weight gain - the horror!
With this in mind in the autumn months of 2014 I created my "8 Weeks to Winter Wellness" program - 8 Weeks to focus on truly exceptional health and well being with weekly focus points including meditation, sleep, exercise and of course a healthy winter diet.
Needless to say, it took off and winter became the busiest season of that year – almost unheard of in the Nutrition business. My practice was bubbling with wonderful, happy and healthy patients all through winter – it was a really wonderful time.
This spawned the birth of my 8 weeks to change your life program, which could be carried out at any time of year. Again this has been an incredibly popular program despite the fact that we’ve never formally advertised it or even listed it on the website. This program has taken on a life of it’s own and now month after month we have patients referred by their friends/family/work colleague who completed and loved the program.
This year I'm rolling out the Winter Wellness program again with some exciting changes including an online only version, digital meal planner and one-click shopping list generator. To make an inquiry and secure your place click here.
So of course doing my program is the best way to find true health this winter so that has to be number 1, here's my top 5 tips for staying well in winter:
Tip 1: Prioritise your health and wellbeing, both physical and mental:
In my 8 Week "Winter Wellness" program, we have weekly dedicated sessions to optimise your health. We'll set personalised, specific goals and create a week by week plan to ensure you have every opportunity to achieve them.
Focusing on your health throughout winter allows you to bounce in to Spring with vibrant energy, clarity and real vitality - while many others drag their stiff tired bodies to work you'll be feeling cleansed and energised.
It is important to prioritise your metal health as much as your physical health during winter. Winter is known for comfort foods - many people are driven to chocolate, wine, pizza and pasta to give them moments of joy in miserable weather. Shift your focus - take this time to rest, recharge, relax and focus on your goals. Feed your body good healthy food, there are many delicious comfort foods that are really healthy - prioritise these and kick the junk. Junk food lowers your immunity, energy and mood - all precious gems which need to be preserved to thrive in winter.
Tip 2: Plan your week and cook up a feast of nutritionally dense, immune boosting foods:
Take some time each weekend to plan the week ahead. Create a meal plan
which includes cooking enough for leftovers for a day or two. Then create a shopping list from this meal plan so that you only purchase exactly what you need. My "Winter Wellness" program includes a personalised digital meal planner and one-click shopping list generator - one of the most exciting additions to the program,
Planning the week ahead also helps you to ensure you stay on track with your healthy eating goals. Plan some comforting warming foods that you can look forward to heading home to. Having meals pre-cooked that just require warming up preserves more evening "me-time" for you to enjoy quality rest and good sleep.
Make the most of your craving for soups and curries. These are great foods for winter which can be packed full of healthy immune boosting foods to keep you well through the colder months.
You can take leftovers of your soups and curries to work too. This keeps you in total control of what you are eating and stops you from being a slave to the weather. You'll save a bucket load of cash in the process!
Mushrooms, garlic, coriander, lemons, ginger and all veggies are your best friends during the winter months. I wrote a blog named "fighting flu season" a while back with some cool tips. Read more here.
Don't forget your water! Many people let this slip in winter. Don't feel like cold water? Drink lots of herbal tea, just be sure to ask for advice from someone who knows their herbs first to make sure the tea is right for you.
Tip 3: Preserve your sleep and rest time but maintain your exercise:
Good quality sleep can make up for a multitude of "sins" when it comes to your health. Winter is your perfect opportunity
to rest and recover - enjoy it! Get early nights, stay in some weekends and don't be afraid to curl up with a good book whenever the urge strikes (maybe not at your desk though - I don't want phone calls from your bosses!).
Develop a calm and organised evening regime. Brush your teeth and wash your face immediately after dinner - don't wait until just before bed to do these things. How often do you remember feeling nice and sleepy and then getting in to bed wide awake with minty fresh breath and skin still tingling from the cold splash? This does not do you any favours. Getting these things done early in the night sets you up for a relaxing evening and a healthy night's sleep.
Purchase a calming tea. I love the night tea by Lotus Peak. T2 also has a great range of sleep-inducing teas. Good old Camomile tea or Celestial Herbs Sleepy Time Tea usually work for most people too. All of the above, with the exception of T2, can be bought at your supermarket. These herbal teas can be enjoyed after tooth brushing and do not stain your teeth.
Don't let your exercise regime slip in winter - your lymphatic system which clears wastes from your body relies on muscle movement. Keep active. Be sure to exercise at least 3 times per week, rain, hail or shine. If it's too miserable to get to the gym then do workouts at home. Even 20minutes of body-weight exercise is enough to keep things moving. Yoga is a wonderful balance of rest, play and exercise - do lots of yoga in winter.
Tip 5: Take the right immune boosting supplements:
As a health care practitioner I see tonnes of sick people through winter. I will sometimes need one or two days off but I generally recover very quickly thanks to the right supplemental regime.
Supplements such as Zinc, Vitamin C, Mushroom Extract and Probiotics can be useful for boosting immunity. However it's important to remember that each person is individual and what works for your friend may not work for you. Also usually with supplements less is more - a small amount of the right support for your body will always respond more positively than a cocktail of random supplements.
As part of the Winter Wellness program we do a supplement review to ensure you are taking the best nutritional support for your body and ensure you are fully supported for the colder months ahead.
So that is it in a nutshell, these are my top 5 tips for thriving through the winter season.
I hope that this gives you a little insight and inspiration. Many of you will be ready to take the next step and book in for your Winter Wellness program and I'll look forward to hearing from you.
For now, until next time, stay deliciously healthy.
Jennifer May Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.ATMS.MINDD