December is a month of many changes. It is the last month of the year, when expectations mount, and of course Christmas is another stress and joy factor in our lives, when we can finally spend some time with family, leave the work week behind and spend some time with loved ones and focus on ourselves and not our work. But Christmas is sadly not only about rest and relaxation, there is a lot of work to be done too: cooking Christmas dinner, shopping for toys and gifts, decorating the house, and the list goes on and on.
Many of us feel holiday stress, and conversely we spend no time at all by ourselves doing things we like in a time that should be all about that. It is extremely important that we take care of ourselves though, as being sick during the holidays is truly an awful experience. Here are a few things that will rile up your immune system, so that you can get ahead of the typical winter tiredness that comes from having an overtaxed immune system.
Internal and external hydration are both important in the winter, and we have to use both of them bountifully. Internal hydration just means that you drink enough fluids. This is harder than it seems though, as who wants a cold glass of water in the winter, right? But you can drink tea, herbal and fruit teas as well. Green tea with mint is not only very healthy, it hydrates and packs a punch as well- it is a natural upper par excellance (and it’s still legal). Cold weather also makes crave hot chocolate, or a nice caramel cappuccino, but beware! These drinks are very bad for your teeth….
You are more likely to get dry mouth in the winter as well, and dry lips tend to be chewed on more than wet ones. Use lip balm or cream, and make sure that your product has plenty of Vitamin E in it. Protect your hands from exposure, and by some nice snug gloves. Use hand cream to make sure you don’t dry out. You can buy super small quantities of hand cream, so it does not take up much space.
No matter how tired you feel, do not give up on daily exercise. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which helps you beat that oppressive feeling of being tired, and your state of mind will be better, which will help in fighting off winter depression. The bets is long term, intensive activities, like swimming or running. If you go running, dress up nice and warm, if you just hate the cold so much, you can exercise at home or go on a diet.
Our body is built miraculously well, and it responds to winter on its own. We can help it though, by eating the right things. It is important to eat many different kinds of foods. If you do not want to keep on checking what kinds of fibers and micronutrients you have or haven’t consumed, there is an easy, color coded dietary plan that you can follow. Make sure you eat six colors daily. Here are some of the colors:
White: yogurt, kefir, quark, white fish, rice, broccoli
Yellow: honey, lemon, eggs, bananas, soup broth or bouillon
Red: Red meat, salmon, caviar, apple, tomato, red berries
Blue,purple: plums, eggplant, blueberries, grapes, beets, purple onion
Green: peas, spinach, sorrel, avocado, zucchini
Brown: bread, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cacao, mushrooms, pasta
Orange: orange, tangerine, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes
Our immune systems are less active in the winter, and it becomes easier to catch a bug or a virus, and to prevent this, make sure you get all of the vitamins you need. Most important are C and D vitamins. C vitamins can be found in most citrus fruits, so make use of the citrus harvest starting in November! If you don’t lie imported fruits, you can eat peppers (capsicum), broccoli, rose hip berries and sea buckthorn. D vitamins are made by our bodies when they come into contact with the sun, and this i why it is so important to get enough of it during the dark months of the winter. Try ot go out a smuch a sposisble, and eat fish, as it is high in the much valued nutrient. Don’t be afraid of dietary supplements and pills either, they can give you the extra boost you need.
It doesn’t matter how much things you have to do, nothing is as important as getting enough sleep- if you don’t get enough, you may find yourself collapsed in exhaustion. The above mentioned tactics are worthless if your body doesn’t get enough sleep. Sleeping for 6-8 hours a day continuously is important, as our body makes hormones in our sleep which have a correlation with our immunological well being. Sleep also lowers stress and regenerates your body.
It is important that the holiday season cause cheer and not stress. Leave some time in your busy schedule to sit back and relax, this way you will be able to maximise your holiday experience and go back to work feeling refreshed, and not like you need another vacation.
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