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29
Dec

How to Take Care of Yourself During the Winter Months

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Vintage chair ona morning frost after a night of snow

This is the time of year when people start getting gung ho about their goals for the new year. For many those goals will include goals to lose weight or generally improve their fitness levels and ‘change’ their body. Sadly it is also the time when our bodies are naturally the most resistant to changes such as these. Why??? Because they are programmed that way!

During the winter months we naturally want to hybernate more, sleep more, and stay warm and cozy. The body doesn’t like to lose body fat or expend much energy this time of year. What might work well any other time of year is LESS likely to work in the cold weather months and we need to adjust and learn to nurture ourselves a bit more. Making strides to better health is an awesome goal but we also don’t  need to needlessly stress our bodies during what can be an already stressful time of  year (holidays, dark days, cold  weather). Our bodies need TLC and here are some ways you can nourish your body during the winter months so you can stay well, be less stressed, and hopefully encourage your body to work with you on your goals and not against you.

Eat Warming Foods

When we think about slimming down or getting healthier we often think of cooling foods like salads, fruits, and green smoothies. If you want to cool your metabolism off then go ahead and eat those foods. If you want to fire up your metabolism than you need to pick more appropriate foods. For winter months we can choose from a whole world of warming foods like kale, collards, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, garlic, clove, squash, parsnips, cinnamon, coconut, fenugreek, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, turmeric, mushrooms, and vinegar.

Eat With the Season

We need different nutrients at different times of year and we need to eat more of what nature intended for us during the seasons rather than what we can have shipped to us from across the world. If you love smoothies than go ahead and have one but use an apple or pear rather than frozen strawberries or a banana. Foods shipped across long distances will also be full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals meant to preserve them and keep them attractive looking after their journey.

Eat Nourishing Foods

It is especially important to eat nutrient dense foods in the cold weather months. Organ meats are an excellent choice. Liver, heart and kidney contain some of the highest concentrations of several nutrients and have been prized in traditional cultures for this reason. Fish oils are also excellent, especially fermented cod liver oil, as are bone broths and gelatin. If your body is starved for nutrients it will be less than cooperative when you want it to shed pounds, gain muscle, or otherwise change.

Change Your Sleep Patterns

You need more sleep in the winter months. 8-10 hours at least is critical and the general thought is that we also need to get as much sleep before midnight as we possibly can. Those hours are more rejuvenating and healing than those after midnight, so get to bed earlier and invest in blackout curtains so that unnatural light is not adversely effecting your sleep. Also look into earthing

Bring Some Light Into Your Life

It’s cold outside so we are less likely to get outside, even if we see the sun peeking out. Many folks have to work so they are indoors and away from natural light for a big chunk of the day and usually have to get up and go before the sun comes up. If at all possible get outside for a walk every day, even if it is only 10 minutes. Use a wake-up light if you are using blackout curtains or have to get up while it is still dark. These lights simulate the sunrise. Light gradually increases for 30 minutes before your alarm time (whatever that may be) to gently prepare your body to wake up and feel more energetic at the start of your day. A vitamin D supplement is also a very good idea.

Stay Hydrated

Because the cold weather months are drying and we because aren’t as likely to be eating those cold watery foods we need to make sure we are drinking enough water. Consumption of caffeinated tea and coffee typically increases and can dehydrate us even more, so drink your water. Your body needs to stay lubricated and your skin will thank you as well.

A few simple changes can help you nourish your body during the winter months and make it more receptive to the changes you want to see in the new year. Good luck!

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

16 Comments

  • Tessa Mitchell

    Neat points. I realise my blackout curtains mean I’m so cosy in the mornings, I now need a wake-up light. :-/ But hey…

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Yes…the down side to blackout curtains… of course I get up before the sun.

  • Chrysa Duran

    These are very timely tips. Our temperature is below ZERO right now!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Yikes! Stay warm. :)

  • suelee1998

    I totally agree with bringing light into your life, you really feel better in a well lit room.

  • Liza @ VFtV

    It’s definitely winter here – it’s in the teens, which is exceptionally cold for this area. I wish reading this article to my toddler would convince her to go to bed earlier so Mommy could get 8 hours of sleep, but somehow, I think that’s an exercise in futility!

  • Kitty Bradshaw

    this is a great article. I had no clue about the cooling foods; and will use these tips.

  • Emily

    I’ve noticed that when I get feeling down or letharigic inthe winter, spending time outside in natural light can really help. I think the lack of natural light really can affect us more than we realize.

  • Mandi

    Such great tips! I know I definitely want to eat and stay more active during the summer time. Your ideas make so much sense!

  • Sasha

    Great tips! I never knew we needed more sleep during this time!

  • Lindsay

    This is great thanks for sharing. I always thought it was so interesting that people wanted to start diets in the middle of the winter. Spring and summer are much better for that!

  • Chrystal @ Happy Mothering

    Great tips! I actually recently read (in Adrenal Fatigue) that the most rejuvenating sleep hours are from 7-9 am. I have found those hours to be very restorative for me once I started allowing myself to sleep in more often.

  • http://www.attachedmoms.com/ Amanda McMahon

    even when i was living in arizona i had low vitamin D. i don’t use a lot of sunscreen either (only at the beach) so it was amazing to see how it can affect so much of your body and moods

  • Barbara Hoyer

    Light definitely affects me. I always like to write by windows rather than in the corner of a room. In the winter months, I try to get outside as much as I can though some days it’s only during dropping off and picking up the kids at school.

  • Lauryn

    These are great ways to take care of ourselves in the winter. I really need to focus on hydrating more and sleeping more. I tend to wait until the late hours to relax. I really need to try focusing on shifting that a bit.

  • SwaRai

    Great tips! This is so important to our health.