Your Winter Wellness Checklist
By Emma Thompson (Musculoskeletal Therapist)
There are two types of people in this world, the ones who relish the cold and the ones who dread the imminent arrival of winter. I am 28 years old and still every year I get the shock of my life at how quickly the light can convert to dark and the warmth to a bitter chill. I dread it; there is not one ounce of my body that looks forward to the frost covered windows and the days spent indoors, but this year I am declaring to change my attitude.
One of the biggest challenges we face daily is to let go of things that we simply cannot control. Winter for example is often a great time to heal and re-focus, a time where we intuitively crave comfort, hibernation and intimacy.
Below I have cultivated a list of resolutions I wish to achieve in Winter to help me appreciate the season for all its beauty, to find peace amongst the darkest days and to conserve energy for the bustling Spring, for you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.
1 Practice Gratitude often.
To remind myself of all the things we would miss out on if winter simply did not occur. There would be no snow for the boarders and skiers, no puddles for children to jump in, no use for beautiful winter fashion, nights missed sitting in front of open fires, the smell of the earth after rain. The simple pleasures in life that we don’t give a second thought to until the thought of not having them makes us realise how lucky we are.
2. Read More.
There are few things I enjoy more then snuggling up to a good book when the day is dull outside. Whether your choice of tale be about truth or fiction, crime or romance, travel or investment (my current side project, a miserable attempt at getting my finances in order) start to make your mind dance by reading words from a page and escape Winter.
3. Drink Lots of Tea.
Not a day should pass without tea passing thy lips. It can sometimes be a struggle maintaining our water intake in winter especially on those particularly cold days but herbal tea is a great alternative. You build your water intake and receive extra benefits from the tea leaves. A powerful Winter healer is our Luxton combination of elderflower, peppermint and yarrow, which is great for runny noses and mucus congestion whilst giving the immune system a lift.
4. Make the most of Winter Produce.
Winter produce is without a doubt my favourite, the endless supplies of gorgeous root vegetables make for great companions in slow cooked soups and curries which will have the belly warm on a cool Winter’s night. Citrus fruits are bursting with flavour and the avos are perfectly ripe to indulge in some smash.
5. Skip the Alcohol.
Before you panic I am not planning on going the entire Winter with out the occasional glass of Red or Mulled Wine but Winter is a great time to give the good old liver a well-earned rest. Dry July has become a welcome addition to my yearly calendar, and I have first hand experienced the countless benefits it has to offer. Past years have left me feeling more vibrant, my cognition is clearer, I sleep better, my efficiency in the gym improves and the only thing that gets fatter is my wallet.
6. Keep my Health in Check with the Help of Natural Medicine.
One of the reasons I am sure I fear Winter stems back to my childhood and the negative association I place on cold weather and being sick. As a chronic asthmatic I have had my fair share of illnesses and chest infections and the number one root was always sudden weather change. These days I am fortunate enough to work side by side with some brilliant health professionals and I look at health a whole lot differently. Prevention is the number one measure and I have already started putting strategies into place that will hopefully help me keep sickness at bay.
7. Enjoy More Baths.
The immediate sense of comfort that comes from bathing in warm water is something that is hard to match. Heat encourages circulation, soothes sore muscles and promotes a relaxation effect. Light some candles, add a few drops of lavender oil and let the mind float away to a state of calm and relaxation.
8. Have a Little Me Time.
The sun doesn’t need to be out for long before our calendars start filling with social occasions again and we often find ourselves with barely any free time to spare. If you are anything like me you thrive on spending time with others, but deep down you are also a little bit of an introvert. Winter is a time you should spend getting to know yourself, make the most of the quiet weekends because before you know it you will be knee deep in engagements and praying for a quiet weekend in.
9. Treat Myself.
‘Treat Yourself’, a quote I throw around a little too freely. Winter can definitely leave us feeling more then just a little blue. It takes its toll on our exterior too with the dry conditions leaving our skin looking a little flakey, so why not kill two birds with one stone. Enjoy a little pamper time, go for a facial, a body scrub or even a massage (my new ‘Winter warming massage’ is designed specifically for the cooler months). It will not only leave your skin feeling amazing but the soul a little brighter too.