We’re in the thick of winter now and even though the solstice is past the days are still cold and dark. So many people around us are getting continuous colds and feeling sick, that it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with bugs.
It’s around this time each year we start to see people who are onto their 3rd or 4th cold for the year and just keep getting sick.
All we want to do is hibernate and the motivation to go outside can be hard to find.
But did you know that getting outside, soaking in some sunshine and exercising (even a little) is one of the best things you could do to maximise your chances of staying healthy?
Our clinic provides a combination of complementary natural therapies to support and boost your immune system in winter.
That is why, especially over winter, it is vital to remember self-care, eat nutrient-dense foods, get enough sleep and do what you can to maintain overall balance.
We know that it can be really hard to fit self-care into your daily routine and that the temptation to swap that lunchtime walk for sitting inside with a hot chocolate can be strong!
Here are ways that you can have both!
TRY TO EAT LESS SUGAR
Hot chocolate from the cafe to warm you up on a winter’s day is tempting or a sneaky chocolate for afternoon tea can help pep you up but they are loaded with sugar which has been shown to suppress the body’s immune response, an effect which can last for 5 hours after you’ve had it.
So, if you have that hot chocolate at lunchtime, your immune system will be suppressed on the train home when you’re surrounded by the colds and flu of the general public. Instead of the hot chocolate opt for a herbal tea.
REDUCE THE STRESS
Long term stresses affect your cortisol levels when you’re stressed your body secrets more cortisol which can suppress your immune response if you’re stressed for long periods. Keeping stress levels low, when there are lots going on can seem challenging, but the following things can help reduce its impact.
- Get enough sleep, make sleep a priority and work out a regular routine to help get into a regular pattern.
- Try herbal tea with passionflower, lavender or chamomile, these are soothing and relaxing.
- Go for a walk at lunchtime. This will do two major things:
- one is it will give you some exercise which helps manage stress and will give you some downtime,
- the second is that it will expose you to what little sunlight there is available at this time of year and Vitamin D is essential for boosting your immune system.
- Book a massage with Sam to de-stress and walk out floating!
VITAMINS TO HELP BOOST IMMUNITY
- Vitamin C can reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, it increases the production of white blood cells, and it’s basically an all-around good guy. Have some lemon and honey in hot water to keep you hydrated and increase your vitamin c intake.
- Zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells ability to function properly. Try having some tahini on your toast in the morning, it’s delicious, nutritious and an easy way to get some zinc in you.
- Vitamin D plays an important part of maintaining almost all body systems and during winter, even in Australia, many people are affected by low Vitamin D levels. It also can play a part in our mood and emotional regulation (ie Seasonal Affective Disorder) and even without us realising it can play a part in us feeling stressed and gloomy.
BUILDING UP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
As a team we’ve sat down and come up with some tips to help you stay well this winter:
- Wake up and spend five minutes meditating
- Eat warm and cooked foods that are in season
- Get out in the winter sunshine
- Increase your Vitamin C and zinc rich foods
- Try to get to bed early
- Always wear a scarf, or clothes that protect the neck and throat area
For some extra immune support, we are here to help.
Our practitioners wan’t to stop you from continually getting sick. We can help you unwind, relax, offer herbal support, acupuncture and specialised dietary advice.