Top 5 tips for restoring energy and vitality after a long, cold winter season…

By Rachel Marcus – Naturopath, Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher
Surviving the winter is hard for many of us. Winter affects our bodies much more than most people even realise – the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
During winter, we tend to need more sleep, food and love. This is Mother Nature’s way of telling us to relax, stay in, and to store up our energy. The negative effects of Winter usually manifest as low mood, fatigue, weight gain, increased toxicity, poor immunity as well as muscle & joint aches. As hard as we try to combat this with rest, warming foods, immune boosters and tropical holidays, we need to respect that our bodies are going through a necessary process of change – just like the change of seasons. Once we’ve finally made it to Spring, we have a golden opportunity to rebuild and rejuvenate the body without the elements resisting our transformation.
I’d love to share with you some useful tips in priming the body & mind for spring and summer!
Food and Nutrition

As we move into Spring, we start to embrace a different way of eating & selecting foods. During Winter, we gravitate towards warming foods that are heavy and dense to keep us satiated. The best way to flow into Spring with ease is to eat fruits & vegetables which are in season and to also introduce more energetically ‘cooling’ foods into your diet. ‘Cooling’ foods include raw vegetables and salads, bananas, summer fruits (melons) and anything cold in temperature. Foods that are in season during Spring in Victoria are bananas, berries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, onions, potatoes, rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, squash and zucchini. Making this switch to lighter and cooling foods can support the bodies natural process of detoxification and gentle cleansing.

Herbal Medicine and supplementation
There are a number of herbal medicines that are effective in restoring energy, nourishing your adrenal glands and improving immune defences. You’ll be surprised at how quickly herbal medicine can help to revive your energy and spirit. Herbs that I love to use for boosting energy and adrenal support are Winter Cherry, Rhodiola and Siberian Ginseng. These herbs help the body adapt to stressful periods, improve stamina and mental performance. In addition, supplements such as high-quality probiotics can improve energy levels by bringing the ‘good’ bacteria back into balance. The bacteria in the digestive system may have been altered due to stress, illness, travel and antibiotics. Other supplements, which are important for energy production, are high quality B vitamins, Magnesium and making sure that all other vitamins and minerals are at optimal levels.
* Consult your health care professional before taking nutritional and herbal supplements to make sure they are suitable for you individual needs.
Physical Activity

Increasing your amount of daily physical activity has more benefit then just shedding a few extra kilograms. When we engage in dynamic physical movement, we improve blood flow to all of our organs and this helps support our detox channels. We also increase the production of serotonin, which helps to make us feel happy and joyful. Certain forms of physical movement such as Yoga and Pilates have a positive effect on the digestive system via gentle massage. I recommend that you engage in exercise at least 3 times per week for 30 minutes. Start small by going for a walk in the park until you build up an exercise routine. I promise you’ll feel better for it! Join your nearest gym, Yoga/Pilates studio, go for a walk outdoors – just get moving!

Nature

Spending time in nature is vital for wellness. As we have been retreating during the Winter months, we have missed out on time spent in the sunshine, touching our bare feet on the earth and receiving the Vitamin D levels that we require for optimal health. As the weather improves, aim to spend some time outside without getting burnt. Go for a walk in the morning sunshine, spend time gardening or sitting outside at a cafe for lunch. You’ll begin to feel the power of the sun reviving and restoring your energy and spirit.

Self-love

Cultivating self-love is the first step in getting your body back on track. Without self-love, it’s hard for us to take the time and space that we need to listen to and nurture our bodies. I encourage you to spend just 15 minutes a day cultivating self-love in the form of listening to music, yoga, reading or meditation. Allow your self the time to support your body and you will come back stronger than ever!