This post was written by Claire Grieve — an international yoga specialist, stretch therapist, health coach, and wellness writer. Check out her website for more information.
When the temps drop and we go into hibernation mode (don't act like you don't), it becomes all too tempting to overindulge. ("Second slice of pie, please!")
We know the feeling, and we've got you covered. Follow these tips to have your happiest, healthiest winter yet:
1. Improve your diet: Boost your immune system when you need it the most by sticking to a nutritious meal plan and making smart choices. Nutrient-packed soups and warm smoothies are soothing, comfort foods without the guilt. My favorite recipes include: pumpkin, squash, carrot and ginger — it's loaded with vitamin C, potassium and amino acids to ward off illness and depression. Make a little extra to store in mason jars and freeze for easy reheating.
2. Don’t skimp on the zzz’s: Your body needs rest to repair. Give yourself permission to indulge in extra sleep if your body needs it. It’s always better to get solid sleep now than to get sick later. Amp up your tea game on cold nights with ginger or peppermint to aid digestion and sooth you into sleep. Simple things such as reducing stress and increasing sleep can do wonders for your health and immune system.
3. Stock up on supplements: Before the season hits, make sure you have a go-to multi-vitamin, vitamin c, echinacea, oregano oil, zinc and Counter Attack. These will cut your sick days in half. If you’re feeling blue or are prone to seasonal depression, consider trying 5-HTP; it’s a great natural supplement to help with depression and restful sleep.
4. Wash your hands: So simple, yet so easy to overlook. Spending more time indoors increases the odds of germs spreading. Be mindful of your hands, wash them often to protect yourself from the nasty guys.
5. Revamp your exercise routine: Don’t wait until your New Year’s resolution to start a new workout plan. Keeping endorphins boosted during the darker days of winter is vital. Plus, if you maintain a steady routine throughout the holidays, you can afford a little extra wiggle room on holiday treats. Hot yoga classes are great during the winter; you can look forward to a cozy, warm practice. Whatever your workout looks like, stay committed even on the chilliest of days.
6. Get your group on: Shake off the cabin fever and plan a weekly social activity to look forward to. Embrace the weather with seasonal activities, like ice skating. Or, host a healthy potluck and ask your friends to bring their favorite comfort food. Balancing your work and play can reduce the season’s gloominess.
7. Plan something to look forward to: The stress of the holidays can take a toll. Start planning a vacation or an upcoming event now, like your New Year's Eve celebrations or a weekend away. Your friends will thank you for taking charge and you’ll break up the winter woes.
8. Treat yourself: ’Tis the season for giving. While it’s important to prioritize your plate and your workouts, you have also earned the chance to indulge a little. After all, the winter holiday treats only come once a year. Allow yourself guilty pleasures in moderation, balance is key. Always follow a treat with something healthy.