Gearing up for winter – tips for making it easier to stay healthy, for the whole family
So… winter is around the corner, and by the looks of it we might actually have a cold one this year. Unlike the last few years where we had a cold week (or cold front blowing in and through) or two, but actual bone-numbing coldness. I am of the opinion that our lack of cold winters is part of the reason why superbugs are popping up – the cold is needed to kind of “sterilise” the earth, this killing these nasties. Now we basically have them incubating in a humid hog house…. Anyway, that is not the point of this post.
Winter is coming, and with it the seemingly inevitable sniffles. I hate it when people say things like “just don’t catch a cold at the beginning of winter, then you keep it for the rest of the season”. Yeah, like 1.) I chose to get sick, you know I schedule it to fit into my calendar, and 2.) my body is honed and trained to fight back and conquer! So, bring on the cold and the bugs and people sneezing and coughing without putting their hand/handkerchief/etc. in front of their mouths. We are stronger than that! (I say this in a fake-brave voice, trying to convince myself that I am mush more confident than what I am really feeling). So how can I change the fake-brave into a real-brave? By gearing up and being prepared. My battle strategy this year is centred around 3 key points:
- Sleep and exercise
- Natural “supplements” and helpers
Get everyone to eat healthy. That is easier than what you might think. I buy the groceries and cook 90% of all meals, so I kind of dictate what goes on the plates and into the mouths of my family. For more ideas on how to get them making better food choices, read my previous post here. For us, healthy food means LOTS of fresh fruit and vegetables, limited dairy (all full fat of course), limited (wish it was no, but ok – cannot win every battle!) sugar and definitely no junk food (convenience food included). In the colder months we also up our use of garlic, ginger, onions, turmeric and fresh herbs and spices. All of these are natural antibiotics, and when paired with lemon, herbal tea and (very little, and only occasionally or as the need arise) honey they make a great elixir and “medicine”. One of the reasons why chicken soup is the food of choice given to the sick? Lots of vegetables, bone broth, spices and herbs.
Also, make sure everyone stays hydrated. When it is cold it is easy to forget to drink enough water since you don’t feel yourself losing water through sweat, etc. we drink a lot of tea, and we also love the taste of extra cold water in the winter, so that helps. Figure out what works for you and your family and implement it!
- Sleep and exercise:
A healthy immune system is a well-rested one. Encourage proper and sufficient sleep. And that goes for yourself as well! So often we focus on the health and well-being of our families and totally neglect our own body and mind. Go on, hit the hay! Almost as important as resting enough is moving enough. Don’t use the cold as an excuse to stop exercising. You need to strengthen and support your body, plus – summer bodies are made in the winter!
Encourage the kids to play outside, enjoying the sun during the day, or if you are lucky, the snow. Go for walks, ride bikes, play tennis. Again, whatever works for you and your family. And by making it a family outing you create special bonding time, fostering happiness, contentment, and joy – also great for the immune system!
- Natural supplements and helpers
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I love essential oils. I clean with them, use them medicinally, for fragrance, as a preventative measure, as mood-enhancers, and more. For winter, I swear by peppermint for fevers, clove for earache, tea tree to kill bugs and germs (hand sanitizer, in the washing machine and dishwasher, for mopping floors, cleaning surfaces, in the humidifier, etc.), thyme for chests, rosemary for mucus, eucalyptus for wheezing, etc. (see my essential oils guide here). Furthermore, we do zinc in the mornings, and vitamin C (liposomal) when needed. Colloidal silver in a nebuliser is awesome for tight chests and wet coughs. Tissue salts for sore throats and to loosen mucus. And of course – daily probiotics because a healthy gut is needed for a healthy body.
(disclaimer: In the quest to boost your immune system, proceed with some caution. If you are using essential oils, remember that they are extremely potent and should not be taken for more than two weeks at a time Also, if you are pregnant, be cautious when using essential oils and reach out to your health care provider before doing so. Any time you are using natural remedies like plant supplements, it’s a good idea to do it under the care of your doctor. This post is not to be confused for medical advice and is only my opinion since I am not trained or certified as a medical doctor).
And that is my 3-point plan. Following this I am convinced will take us through a relatively event-free winter, because if we strengthen and support our bodies getting sick should mean a day or two of feeling crappy, and then bouncing right back. Not weeks of being out of action.
Good luck to you, and may your winter be short!
If you have any tried and tested remedies, precautions or other tips, please share below!
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