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Staying Healthy During the Winter Season

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Winter is here, which means beautiful snowy days, long nights and cold afternoons, for some people. Winter is a wonderful time of the year but it is also a time to take better care of our bodies. With the seasons changing, our bodies are more susceptible to getting sick due to the temperature changing and our immune system having to readjust. Here are some simple ways to be mindful in keeping our immune system strong.

The same procedures that reduce the spread of COVID reduce the spread of other respiratory diseases. Masks indoors and social distancing are your best preventative measures for staying well during cold and flu season.

Always wash your hands. Frequent hand washing should be a daily habit in all seasons but the winter season requires more diligence. With more people being sick, there are more germs spreading around. The best way to keep germs away is to keep your hands clean. Your hands touch everything and when you touch your face or things you put in your mouth, you directly introduce germs into your body. Keeping your hands clean is the simplest way of reducing the introduction of germs into your body. 

Also, washing your bed sheets and pillow cases more frequently helps with reducing germs. Try washing your sheets at least once or twice a week. Be sure you change your house’s air filters regularly and if a warm day comes around, open up your windows and increase the air flow to your house.

Take preventative care. Sickness can come very unexpectedly, so it is helpful to take preventative measures to lessen the chances of getting sick. Focusing on keeping your immune system strong is the best way. Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas are helpful daily habits to keep you strong. One beneficial herbal tea is Elderberry tea. Elderberry is a highly effective and preventive herb that protects the body from the cold and flu. It keeps your immune system strong, reduces symptoms and inflammation in the body. If you have autoimmune problems, drink Reishi mushroom tea. Do a quick search of beneficial herbal teas and stock up.  Drink herbal teas daily and notice how energized and healthy you’ll feel. 

Eat plenty of fresh fruits, berries and vegetables.  Dark berries are loaded with antioxidants for improved health. Make soups with plenty of variety in vegetables. An almost exclusive plant-based diet with a daily cup of Reishi tea healed my scleroderma so much that the new Mayo Clinic doctors did not believe I had scleroderma until they looked at my old clinical notes and labs.

Layer your clothing. In the beginning of winter, the temperatures are still settling into the lower digits, meaning the weather can be inconsistent. Although it may feel good to be outside when it is 65 degrees, a winter 65 is not the same as a summer 65. It is still wise to layer up to keep your body at a consistent temperature. By all means, enjoy the fresh air, just be mindful of how quickly the weather can change and how it can affect your body.

Enjoy those winter sports! After outdoor activities, you might appreciate time indoors under a cozy blanket with a warm fire. You might increase your indoor Tai Chi/Yoga time. Take this time to do home activities and to focus on your physical and mental health. Prepare for the new year or plan a vacation. Send up thoughts and feelings of gratitude for your health, every time you think of it. Gratitude is the surest way to remain, or get, healthy.

If you are like me and live in the warm desert, spend as much time as possible outside. We’ve already had our Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah dinners in our backyards. We’re in shorts and sandals. It’s a great time for visiting the botanical gardens and zoos. Hiking is wonderful this time of year. You can do your Tai Chi/Yoga routines outside under the trees. You can soak up those terpenes while strengthening your body and calming your mind.

Regardless of your local weather, these tips will help you remain healthy for the season.