During the cold winter months where the days are darker and seem to drag on… we find ourselves wanting wholesome foods, warmer meals, wanting to hibernate and sneezing more and running out of tissues! I must say I almost never get sick. But, this year the cold got to me. I live in a terrace house where you would think the insulation would be helpful, but on the coldest and dampest of the winter nights no matter how many blankets I have on my bed my nose still gets cold. Since living in the United Kingdom now for 12 years I have figured out how ‘not’ to let the cold get to me.
- drink warm liquids all day eg herbal tea
- always where a hat
- keep your feet warm
- invest in a luxurious electric heating blanket
But what if you prevented as much as you could prevent and the cold snuck through and has gotten inside those bones? You feel run down, tired and cold all of the time. You don’t seem to have enough energy to get up and go to work, or when you come home from work the first thing you want to do is to jump in your pajamas after scarfing down a pot pie and digesting it in a fetal position coma style under ten inches of Habitat blankets.
It all comes down to self-care. Sometimes getting ill is inevitable no matter how many precautions one can put in place or practice. Self care involves slowing down, resting and taking it easy. Resting is okay. Taking it slower in the winter months is quite normal. After all, we human beings are animals, too. Depending on where our geographic make up stems from some of us really need the heat of the sun where as others are happy to embrace the colder weather.
As a psychologist, I have learned on this wild ride which we will call ‘my journey’ many things. One thing I learned is to practice what I preach. And, what I like to put in place when I am not feeling up to scratch in terms of my physical health are a few tips that I will share with you right now.
- Keep warm. If your head, hands and feet are warm you will be able to get through these long winter months with greater ease. Investing in a warm winter coat is helpful as well. Sometimes it is not all about the fashion as it is as much as staying warm.
- Drink plenty of fluids. I opt for YOGI tea. At the moment I have an Echinacea tea, Green Chai and Chamomile at my fingertips. One thing that I have done is purchased a mini kettle that I can keep in my room. I don’t have to move from under my blankets when I want a cup of herbal tea.
- Invest in a heating blanket. I know that some people may use hot water bottles… go for it! I need to feel heat inside my bones or I will never leave the house. This technique actually give me more energy, but then again I am a person that needs the sun.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO WHEN I DON’T FEEL WELL AND IT’S COLD OUTSIDE?
4. Up vitamins especially D and B, but don’t forget the omegas!! When the sun doesn’t make an appearance that often our bodies tend to lose energy. Vitamin D is one vitamin that we need to up in our diet over the cold winter months. This Krill oil with complete D and B vitamins is a sure way to jump start that hidden energy that we all long for during the winter months. I swear by this Krill oil!
5. Practice self-care by taking up exercise. I love swimming and jacuzzi! No, jacuzzi is not an exercise; however, the warm water warms up the old bones and keeps the muscles relaxed. Hot steam is good to decongest those stuffy noses. You can do this in your very own bathroom. Try getting some Eucalyptus essential oil and put a few drops in your shower before you turn on the hot water. Take three deep breaths in and and slowly exhale. Feel your sinuses getting clearer.
6. Eat lots of veggies! I also eat garlic, onions, and turmeric on a daily basis. Yes, there are no vampires knocking on this front door- but you will never see me missing work or staying in bed all day because I am ill.
7. Keep stress at bay. Taking things slow, breathing, meditating, practicing yoga, reading, watching movies, having a glass of red wine… whatever it is to help relax your mind, your body and your soul will reduce stress. And, when there is a high stress level running through that body… you are more likely to get ill.
8. I believe in red wine. There is something in red wine that is just so medicinal. Sore throat? Have a glass of red. Feeling drained? Have a glass of red. I am not saying down a whole bottle. But, those tannins must have some antioxidants.
9. Mind over matter. ‘I do not get the flu’ I will not get the flu’ ‘I don’t get sick’ … these are mantras you need to tell yourself. Your brain is more powerful than you think!
10. Wash your hands. Simple thing. You touch a door handle in a public place. Wash your hands. You come in from work into the house. Wash your hands. By practicing simple hygiene will reduce how many times you get ill or not.
There are so many tips and tricks on how to stay healthy physically during the winter months. Do you have a trick or top tip to share? Do you have something that really works on helping you not get sick over the winter months? Please do share.
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Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.
follow her on FB and IG: @getwellbrighton