So you don't want to get sick this winter? Great, join the wellness club! Knowing these 7 winter wellness secrets will help you stay well even when others around you are not.
Winter Wellness Secret #1
Colds and flues are our body's way of enforcing rest. You can override your body's signals to rest for only so long (depending on your health and constitution) before your body pulls rank and gives you an enforced period of rest. So if you don't want to get sick - listen to your body - if you're exhausted lighten your load and make some space for rest in your day/evening or weekend. Its as easy as having an early night, or canceling a meeting or two, getting take away and a DVD or going to bed with a book and relaxing for an evening. Ahhhh it feels better already doesn't it!
Winter Wellness Secret #2
Not many people know this but according to Chinese Medicine your LIVER has a major role to play in keeping your immune system buoyant. We know that poor diet choices like eating too many refined foods or junk food, as well as too much alcohol are not good for the liver. If you tend to overindulge then consider going on a liver cleanse for a few weeks (get a copy of Sandra Cabot's Liver Cleansing Diet for some simple guidelines).
Winter Wellness Secret #3
If you want to have resilient good health you need a strong immune system, one of the major cause of immune dysfunction is mental and emotional stress. Knowing this is a huge advantage when you want to stay healthy. So what can you do about that? If you're not happy or you're perpetually stressed don't ignore it! Seek help (counseling, acupuncture, herbs, massage) or self help (exercise, holidays, let people know you need support) but don't just soldier on. Look out for my upcoming blog all about STRESS and what to do about it for more excellent tips.
Winter Wellness Secret #4
Even though its tempting to hibernate when the weather turns cold, if you can maintain some exercise in your weekly routine you'll fair much better. As well as improving our mood, exercise helps keep the lymph system healthy. The lymph is the immune system's courier for wastes (the familiar aches and pains of a cold or flu are from all the lymph nodes swelling with debris) and unlike the blood which is pumped by the heart the lymph is moved by our movement. So walk, jog, swim, do some Yoga, Tai Chi, weights or anything active that takes your fancy...and feel the difference.
Winter Wellness Secret #5
Learning to relax and the importance of sleep. Sleep is a good barometer of your nervous system's health. If you get to sleep easily and generally wake feeling refreshed then all's well. If not, chances are you need to learn how to wind down and put your mind and body into a state of rest. Easy relaxation exercises such as simply observing your breath, without trying to change it, as you lie in bed in the evening can help initiate the switch from doing to simply being mode.
Winter Wellness Secret #6
If catching a nasty bug was all it took to get sick we'd all constantly have the sniffles. A very useful folk medicine principle is that cold can actually penetrate the body's defenses, if we don't take care, and lead to the body getting a 'chill'. Now your grandma probably knew that and that's why she said don't go out with wet hair! So take care not to get a chill, especially be careful to protect the back of your neck (wear a scarf) and don't walk on cold floors with bare feet as both the neck and the soles of the feet are particularly vulnerable to cold.
Winter Wellness Secret #7
The big secret is that there is no real secret just common sense if you want to avoid getting sick! Rest when you're tired, eat well (or cleanse if you need to), don't ignore stress and unhappiness and include some regular exercise in your week. Learning to relax is an essential skill that everyone needs to master. The trick is making these simple habits part of your life, if you do that you'll not only avoid getting sick you'll actually be on the path to excellent health.
I hope you enjoy making these wellness secrets part of your life.