In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
Change and transformation are natural parts of life, it constantly reminds us that nothing is permanent. We grow by going through all phases. Although we might resist change, it will happen regardless, so we might as well relax and go with the flow. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to become in tune with nature, and to flow freely with the current of life.
Depending on our personalities we may like or dislike the colder seasons and yet we are not in control of the seasonal changes and cycles of nature. What is happening around us is not always coming from our desires, though what is happening within us is 100% our responsibility.
There is actual scientific evidence that humans are more likely to get less happy during the fall and winter season.
Yes, it might be so, but does it have to be this way? What can we do to stay healthy and happy throughout the colder months?
Let’s take a look at the most common challenges we face and how to mitigate them during winter time!
Common cold, Flu, Respiratory issues
Achy muscles, sneezing, coughing, and sore throat are something that happens more often during cooler seasons.
Advice: I would assume that with COVID pandemic we all learned to wear masks and to wash our hands frequently. This is the first and foremost step to stay healthy. Since we still spend most of the time at home it’s a good idea to keep it super cozy and clean. Air purifiers are my best friends at all times, but especially during the winter. Keeping the air clean from germs is the first step to prevent respiratory infections. Diffusing essential oils is tremendously beneficial. I highly recommend a blend of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Tea Tree, and Lavender oils. I even apply essential oils on my wrists.
Winter brings changes in humidity and temperature that create perfect conditions for causing dry skin. For individuals with primarily dry skin type (that would be me) it might be a real challenge to keep the skin in a good condition.
Advice: What I found super helpful is using an air humidifier in the bedroom in close proximity to my bed. Just my preference. I noticed that even my kid breathes much easier at night when the humidifier is right by her side. Avoid bathing with hot water, choose mild soap and hair care products. Using moisturizer immediately after shower helps to prevent skin from overdrying. Since the face is a very important part of our image, get religious about daily facial skin care routine. Exfoliators, toners, serums, creams, masks, oils! And remember that our skin reflects what goes into our body and all processes within. So stay well hydrated and nourished!
Unhealthy eating habits
The cold weather impacts digestive changes, so it’s important to pay extra attention to the foods we eat.
Advice: Warm, softly spiced food, full of healthy fats (coconut oil, ghee, variety of nuts) and fiber (leafy and squash family are my favorite for fall and winter), something that we can call a comfort food. Winter time is the best time to indulge in soups and vegetable stews - Pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds, Split Pea Soup with garlic croutons, Vegetable Ramen with buckwheat noodles, Vegetable stew and many others. Hot tea with fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, lemon and side of honey is perfect to keep warm at any time. This tea is healthy and beneficial on all levels starting with digestive aid to help with reducing inflammatory processes.
When It’s cold outside, we tend to spend more time indoors. This typically means sitting and reading, lying on the couch, playing games, with very limited physical activity, or none at all.
Advice: Make a point to stay active during the winter. Wear layers and brave the cold, or find ways to exercise indoors. Go to the gym, find an indoor track, have a family dance party, or play sports at an indoor sports complex.
The decreased sunlight/daylight hours and winter blues can have a real effect on people and can cause some seasonal depression.
Advice: Make an effort to get natural sunlight during the day, go for a walk, and limit your days spent entirely indoors. Get enough sleep during the night, read inspiring books, meditate on a regular basis, and practice yoga.
Benefits of cold weather
Regardless of the challenges that winter brings upon us, there are incredible benefits of cold weather. Let’s look at them!
Reduced inflammation: Cold weather can reduce inflammation and pain. One study suggests that exercising in winter may result in less inflammation and soreness than in the summer.
Improved brain function: It was proven that our brains work better at cooler temperatures, for example, 62 degrees is the best for students to learn.
Increased fat burn: Our body uses more calories to stay warm, research suggests that being cold can increase our ability to burn fat. In cold weather our body’s energy flows for hours after exercise, so we end up burning more calories.
Quality time with loved ones: Being less outdoors in cold weather, causing us to spend more time with family and friends. Spending time with ones that we love and cherish helps us to reduce stress by making us happier.