When the cold weather is upon us, we tend to label this time of year as the “flu season.” Believe it or not, the flu is not a season! It’s an inability to adapt due to decreased sun exposure and water intake, combined with increased sugar intake and stress. Think about it; since it’s cold out you’re less likely to spend as much time out and about in the health-provoking sunshine and less inclined to drink as much water when you’re not sweating all day long from the heat.

Halloween kick’s off that sugar roller coaster that’s such a drag to be on and by the time you realize how bad it’s making you feel Thanksgiving comes with overeating and loads of irresistible desserts. The holidays following (most of December) consist of parties with alcohol, sweet treats and late nights which just further put our immune system in an exhausted and vulnerable state.

We need to create resistance. With resistance, we create health!

5 Winter Wellness Ways to Create Health:

Warm up. Get cozy warm not only with layering your clothes and winter accessories each day, but make sure to warm things up in the kitchen. Ice should be used moderately or not at all in drinks or smoothies. In fact, smoothies in general may seem to turn you off this time of year and that’s because they tend to be cooling to the system. Enjoy things hot, warm or at room temperature this time of year. Roast vegetables and add them to your meals more often than enjoying them raw (since raw foods also tend to be cooling). Incorporate spices like ginger, turmeric and cayenne to your meals/drinks to warm you from the inside out.

Sesame oil for skin & nose. Sesame seed oil has been used as a healing oil for thousands of years. Consider keeping a small dropper bottle of organic sesame oil in your bathroom and/or next to your bedside so that you can put about 3 drops of sesame oil into each nostril after you use the neti pot (another excellent practice in the cold months) or before going to sleep. Sesame oil is soothing to the sinuses and beneficial for anything above the neck (ears, nose, throat, eyes). It keeps the nasal passages warm, moist, and can help keep you from getting sick. When using the oil as a moisturizer for the skin, stroke the long limbs of your body up and down. Use circular motions over all of your joints to stimulate the natural energy of those joints.

Sip on hot water all day long. Hot water helps to break up congestion in the sinuses all while hydrating the body. It’s an excellent habit to get into during the cold months so that you’re keeping everything lubricated and warm. Consider starting your day with a cup of hot water with half the juice of a lemon, a few shakes of turmeric, a dash of cayenne pepper and sea salt with 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil – this warms you right up and gets things moving digestive-wise, which is always a plus! This is a gentle way to help assist your body’s natural detoxification process. After that sip on hot water all day long.

Turn the humidifier on. The cold weather dries everything up! Does your skin, hair, hands, feet or scalp become flaky, dry or itchy this time of year? Be sure to love it up with warming oil like sesame or almond oil after a shower. Running a humidifier while you sleep will help replenish your skin and hair with the moisture it’s missing. This is also helpful for the sinuses. Depending on your day job, you may also want to consider running a smaller humidifier for moisture all day.

Rest more. This probably should be have been #1!  As annoying as daylight savings time is, it’s a great reminder to rest more when it gets dark earlier. Winter is a time for us to slow down, hunker down, cuddle up and hibernate. This is easy to forget as we’re wrapped up in social gatherings around the hectic holidays, but it’s crucial for our good health. The holiday time is known as the season of giving, so remember to give to yourself the gift of rest and self-care.

About The Author

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Lauren Grogan is a Holistic Health Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher based in Red Bank, NJ. As our Senior Health Editor, she’s dedicated to educating our readers on the benefits of healthy living so they can make consistently wise choices regarding their nutrition and overall well-being.

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