Wellness in Winter

It’s hard to see people walking around in Walmart or the grocery store being sick. I wish they would stay home but most of the time they’re there to buy relief. Many times I wish I could give them some advice and help them get better quicker and without adding extra burdens to their livers.

Each winter I make a plan to stay well. I realized long ago that without a plan it is very easy to reach for quick and easy – usually cold medicines that only give us temporary relief. If I don’t have things on hand for whatever ails me as far as herbs and natural remedies are concerned, I might not use them at all. So here’s what I do to stay well and to get well quick.

1. One of the things I used to do was to eat all the wonderful goodies around Christmas time, cut down on exercise, go out a lot for shopping and expose myself more, and then when I got sick I would expect a quick return to health. Look at the holidays coming up. How would you like to spend them; feeling icky, sickly, or coughing your head off or happy and healthy? If you want to be healthy you may have to sacrifice some things. Sugar cuts down on white blood cells that we need to fight bacteria. Bacteria are rampant this time of year. Passing up the pies, cakes, and cookies means you are accepting health and vitality instead. Food is such a part of the holidays. So make up a glorious fruit or veggie tray with healthy dips so when you’re the life of the party you’ll glow with health.

2. One thing that helps to spread bacteria is warm, dry air. That’s exactly the condition we live and work in this time of year. Making sure that your home has a humidifier and that the humidity level stays in the 40s or 50s will make a difference. Your skin will thank you, too.

3. We keep our home cooler than most people. When I visit someone’s home then I know to dress lighter because I’m always hot when the temp goes over 70. We like it between 65 and 68 and our bodies get used to it. That way when we are exposed to cold air outside we won’t chill. Chilling is not your friend. Chilling breaks down your resistance to bacteria. One thing we do, also, is to sleep with the bedroom window cracked open with a towel rolled up to allow fresh air in. The towel keeps out drafts which could make us chill. You will sleep better. We don’t use electric blankets. Our bodies do their job of warming us up and keeping the natural temperature needed for sleep. Fresh air is so beneficial and the extra cost on your electric bill will pay off.

4. Drink. Water. The best thing I ever did for myself is to get off of soda. I love the carbonation so I started drinking Zevia from the health food store. It’s amazingly good and it gives me a little too much carbonation but it sure did cure my soda craving. I haven’t had a soda in years. I don’t think I would enjoy them anymore. I make up 2 quarts of water, put ¼ cup of 100 % cranberry juice and two fresh lemon juice ice cubes. I drink 2 of those. I have interstitial cystitis which never causes any problems as long as I drink this way. But it also cuts down on cravings like crazy. There are lots of recipes on the internet for fruit waters.

5. Elderberry Syrup. There are so many studies being done on Elderberry Syrup for colds and flu. But for now I will just tell you what it does for me. I will post a lot more on this subject later. For me, this stuff works miracles. I take ¼ cup in my water if I feel a cold coming on. Then later I think, “Hmm, I thought I was getting sick.” It’s gone. My husband has gotten up in the morning with a sore throat or a head cold and by midafternoon he’s forgotten it. My 9 year old nephew was staying with us and he became very ill. His temp was high. I looked up the symptoms of the h1n1 flu and he had the symptoms and had been in an area of outbreak. I gave him advil as directed and elderberry syrup every hour. Two days. He was sick for two days. It wasn’t hard to give it to him, it tastes yummy. During the Ebola scare the berries were sold out everywhere. I was worried. Now I always make sure I have some on hand at all times.

6. Get some fresh air and sunshine whenever you can. My vitamin D levels are low even during the summers when I live outside. I tan and I’m older so it is not as readily absorbed through my skin. I take a supplement all year long. Breathe the fresh air slowly into the deepest part of your lungs to cleanse the old stuff. Filter super cold air with a scarf.

7. Rest. Get your sleep. Staying up watching Christmas movies and staying late at parties is all part of the fun of this season. And laughter is good medicine. Being healthy and vibrant during this happy season is the best gift you can give to yourself!

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