Taking on Winter

Change in temperature and daylight hours can catch us off guard. It can mean an immune system that needs a boost after battling colds or the flu. It can mean seemingly endless days of gloomy clouds that bring on seasonal affective disorder. Here are six ways to take on winter and win!

Seasonal Affect Disorder

Otherwise known as the “Winter Blues.” SAD has become a growing concern in recent years. In fact, according to The American Family Physician, up to 20% of Americans have mild SAD throughout the colder months. In Scandinavia, Seasonal Affect Disorder has become so widespread that light therapy clinics have been developed. But before rushing to the doctor to shake the gloomy feeling, it’s important to realize and listen to the needs of your body.

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining a positive mental outlook, and when deprived of natural sunlight for extended periods of time, the body lacks this vital nutrient.

In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, supplementing with a higher potency vitamin D3 supplement can prove beneficial. Taking an omega 3 supplement is also recommended during winter months since the omega 3s promote brain health to help alleviate the winter doldrums.

 It can be tempting to stay inside huddled next to the space heater when it’s cold. But staying inside for lengthy amounts of time can also contribute to SAD. So not only will enjoying outdoor winter activities boost one’s mental outlook, but it will also heighten immunity. Making the most of the season by ice skating, skiing, or hiking through a forest with snow-covered pines, are all great ways to beat winter.

Build Your Immune System

When seasons change, it alters how the body’s immune system works, and it takes time for the body to build up resistance against infection. It’s critical to get your immune system in top shape beforehand.

The key here is simply finding a supplement that will not only fight off infection but also have a therapeutic effect on the specific condition. For example, taking a high-potency vitamin C along with zinc and immune-boosting elderberry is very effective. Do research to make sure that the supplements you are taking are clean and high quality and catered to your specific needs.

Consider a Gentle Detox

Few of us want to take on a detox this time of year. With all the tantalizing holiday treats, the very thought is sheer torture.

However, you don’t need a hardcore 10-day, water-only fast or anything close to extreme. Taking a few days in between the holidays to make strides towards a healthier diet will make it much easier to attain health goals set for the new year that’s just around the corner.  It’s one thing to splurge a few days during the holiday season, but it’s quite another to adopt a “Thanksgiving Feast Mentality” for a month or two. Essentially every restaurant, coffee shop, and store has all the tempting treats displayed beautifully this time of year. Doing a simple detox between Thanksgiving and Christmas will not only improve overall health, but also build willpower (the rest of the year will seem much easier)

Cut Sugar

Research has shown refined sugar is addictive. While it’s easy to consume a lot of sweets during the holidays, bear in mind that refined sugar and corn syrup is addictive and could lead to negative habits for the rest of the year.  Experiment with healthier alternatives such as coconut sugar or maple syrup when cooking or baking. You’ll find less of a need to go back for seconds if you’re choosing sweeteners with nutrients that will satisfy!

Consume More Liquids

The less stress on the digestive system, the more your body will be able to focus its attention on repairing and renewing itself.  You needn’t starve yourself in order to do this. Consider replacing a meal with heated vegetable juice or broth, or even a smoothie (all of which will help strengthen immunity against winter “bugs” as well).

Exercise

This may sound redundant, but the importance of exercise is vital not only for keeping Seasonal Affect Disorder at bay, but also boosting immunity and aiding in detoxification. Enjoying fun winter activities such as skiing or ice skating is a great full-body, aerobic workout. Whatever gets your heart pounding and blood pumping will prove beneficial. 

Above all, have a fun and healthy holiday season!

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