Winter is a great season for reflection and togetherness. It’s the most wonderful time of the year after all. But even through all that holiday cheer, winter can also be a hassle. Not just on our schedules and plans–yes, Jack Frost, I’m looking at you–but also on ourselves. We can suffer mentally and physically from the lack of sun and the increase of dry air. And that, is the ultimate drag.
We here at Vashtie.com, have compiled a few hacks you can utilize to beat your winter blues, while staying holistically healthy in the process.
According to Dr. Mercola and Dr. Holick, Vitamin D is a steroid hormone most effectively received from sunlight. It is detrimental to our wellness, should we lack the proper amounts, in more ways than one. Aside from attacking bacteria and viruses, it also assists in shielding against:
Cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to Dr. Holick, one study showed that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. What’s worse, if you have a heart attack and you’re vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack creeps up to nearly 100 percent!
Autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Infections, including influenza. It also helps you fight infections of all kinds. A study done in Japan, for example, showed that schoolchildren taking 1,200 units of vitamin D per day during winter reduced their risk of getting influenza A infection by about 40 percent. I believe it’s far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu.
DNA repair and metabolic processes. One of Dr. Holick’s studies showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months up-regulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes, from improving DNA repair to having effect on autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and/or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example), boosting your immune system and many other biological processes.
For these reasons, and the fact that Vitamin D is vital to balancing and raising your seratonin levels–the brain hormone that regulates mood, it’s best to receive it from sunlight. Nothing else will quite measure up. However, if the clouds are covering up the sky and it’s unsafe for you to leave the house, invest in happy lamps. You can also start taking Vitamin D supplements. Be sure to test your levels with a physician before prescribing doses for yourself.
House plants act as a great filter to keep the air in your home clean, pure and toxin-free. They also produce oxygen. Research has also shown plants to reduce pain and stress. Scientists haven’t exactly put their finger on how and why, but one can assume that seeing the divinity and reminder of open nature while indoors to be a big reason.
Indoor Meet-Ups With Your Crew
Keep your morale up by planning a weekly night in. Be it game night, wine and paint night or just a regular bonding session, keep yourself laughing! Laughter produces endorphins which are essential to your overall mood. So make plans to avoid the cold and hole up with your crew. It will go a long way.
Feeling extra sleepy during the season? If so, it’s completely understandable. Our bodies create extra melatonin during the colder months. Lack of sunlight causes this and fools our bodies into clocking in for bedtime earlier than our clocks say.
Focus on receiving a nightly amount of 8 hours of sleep. Make sure to keep consistent with the schedule for the sake of your circadian rhythm.
Olive Leaf is my favorite ‘slept-on’ go to. I found it without wanting to upon walking into my local holistic shop. After contracting my third sinus infection in a year, I was done with antibiotics. That’s when I was recommended Olive Leaf. And for the last three years, not one sinus infection has plagued me.
Thanks to the primary compound in Olive Leaf, oleuropein, the plant works as an anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial soldier. It’s been used in history to reduce fevers and control diabetes–as it regulates blood sugar. While I could go on about all of the amazing things it does–like preventing cancer, improving brain function and cardiovascular health–the protection it provides to the immune system stands in the spotlight.
Per Dr. Axe:
Research shows that olive leaf extracts effectively fight against a number of disease-causing microbes, including some of viruses that cause influenza and other respiratory infections.
The powerful compounds found in olive leaves destroy invading organisms and don’t allow viruses to replicate and cause an infection. In fact, the olive leaf is so beneficial to our health that treatment with olive leaf extracts reversed many HIV-1 infection-associated changes in a study done at the New York University School of Medicine.
If your muscles are aching and you’re afraid of popping pharma meds everyday, give turmeric a try. It’s just as potent. Don’t believe me? Well, there are over 6,000 studies that prove its effectiveness. I tried it on myself due to my struggles with tendonitis and other ailments. I just couldn’t keep the inflammation down, no matter how much I rested. So, I whipped out the turmeric I purchased last year during one of my natural foods shopping binges and made golden milk. It’s a rich concoction of turmeric, black pepper (which is needed to activate the compund, curcumin within turmeric), cinnamon, almond milk and agave syrup. My pain subsided for hours. After that I was sold on turmeric, however, I didn’t wish to consume it in golden milk anymore.
I opted for capsules and I haven’t looked back.
Keep a bottle in your medicine cabinet for those days when you want to skip the aspirin. By doing this, you will also assist your body in fighting depression, kidney and thyroid issues, insomnia, hypertension, indigestion etc.
Rough and itchy skin are common in dry and cold weather. But can be avoided or managed with a little tlc. Treat yourself to a bi-weekly soak in epsom salt baths to ease muscle aches, hydrate skin and detox you. Exfoliating and scrubbing your skin for dead cells is a big help at preventing callouses and alligator skin. Top off your regimen with a thick body butter as soon as you exit the tub.
Belle Butters makes some amazingly potent creams for all skin types.
Diffusing essential oils like bergamot, lemon and grapefruit helps to brighten spirits and ward off bacteria growth. You can even add a few drops of rosemary to your shower to bulk up your immune system. Rosemary is one of my favorite scents and I always find it a bit relaxing. Whichever scent you favor is up to you. Just remember to always dilute oils when diffusing.