Tips to build winter resilience
When a friend visited the other day, Zephyr was instantly awake, shot out of the door and skidded down the path obviously imagining that while she was asleep the morning’s deep freeze had turned into a more welcoming spring. But it was still bitterly cold, with snow too deep to roll and play. So she quickly came inside and went back to sleep again.
I love the beauty, the crisp crunching sounds when walking and the silence of snow. But at some point the novelty of shovelling powdery, heavy or icy snow begins to wear thin and occasionally I envy Zephyr’s ability to curl up and snooze her way through winter.
Winter’s short days, long nights and limited sunshine all contribute to our winter woes expressed by cabin fever, low grade depression, seasonal effectiveness disorder and lowered immune system. If we want to reach spring strong, vibrant and happy there are a few steps we can take to support that goal.
1. Get Outside
Wrap up well, and spend time every day outdoors (in town or country). The movement and change of scene will benefit your brain, body and emotions. To stay flexible and toned, stretch, work out on exercise equipment and use weights.
Avoid the temptation of thinking you’ll get down to exercising in the spring; the chances are you won’t; care for yourself now.
2. Avoid excess comfort food and drink.
Winter is the perfect time for soups, protein, fruit and veggies and careful eating. Too much sugar or alcohol can increase the chances of depression, cause mood swings, affect the blood and increase the likelihood of diabetes and heart disorders.
3. Five supplements to boost winter resilience
- D3 (and K2) to prevent Vitamin D deficiency in winter months when sun is low or absent.
- Zinc to help maintain restful sleep and balance hormones;
- Multivitamin/Mineral to help maintain health when quality of fresh foods may be compromised due to transportation and storage;
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids to reduce inflammation, support immune function and help regulate optimum brain function;
- Calcium to support bone health and help regulate blood pressure.
If you choose to take any of these supplements I recommend you get professional advice on quality and quantity to suit your unique needs.
4. Turn boredom into curiosity
It’s easy to rely on television and movies for entertainment, turn to food and drink for comfort and get bored when we can’t go outside for hikes or to relax on the beach.
To combat boredom, bring on curiosity! You choose what to be curious about. You can research topics, places or people on the internet. Imagine you’re a tourist and visit places you’re familiar with and choose to see them in detail with fresh eyes and your senses generally alert.
When you open your mind to new experiences (even of things that are familiar) you change your neurology and you change your mood.
5. Extra points to consider:
- get regular good sleep (6-8 hours a night);
- watch comedy – laugh a lot;
- do something creative – write, do pottery or glasswork, paint;
- connect with friends.
The idea is to emerge from the semi-hibernation of winter ready to move forward into spring with energy and a sense of enthusiasm and wellbeing (and absolutely not needing to spend spring and summer recovering from the over-indulgence and sloth of winter).
Enjoy the rest of the winter. In no time at all the snow and ice will melt to be replaced by sunshine, sand and summer!
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