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With the colder months upon us and the holiday season just around the corner, this can be a wonderful time of the year. However, it is important to take good care of yourself – body, mind, and spirit! So here are some simple tips on helping you stay healthy and happy during a potentially stress-induced festivities.
Stay nourished. The holiday season can be a time of indulgences, like baked goods, breads, cheese, and alcohol. So in preparation for the big festivities, consider reducing stimulants, such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, simple starches, and other heavy chemically-laden foods. Take a short reprieve by enjoying quality nutrient-dense foods and supplements. A good addition to the holiday regiment is magnesium-packed foods, such as lots of vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, to help maintain a healthy response to stress. If you have a need for an extra calming effect, especially if travelling, consider a magnesium supplement, such as Natural Calm at your local health food store. Using spices, such as garlic, ginger, and peppers, in cooking are a great way to boost the immune system and protect the body against colds in a shorter time span. It is also important to listen to your body and observe how you feel. Make sure to include enough omega-3s in your diet, such as fish, nuts, and seeds, which will help you reduce the amount of inflammation in the body and fight the winter “blues.”
Stay hydrated. This may be a bit redundant, but hydration is essential regardless of the season. It helps control appetite, reduces overindulgences, helps control the metabolism, moisturizes the air in the lungs as well as all cells of the body, and detoxifies, especially with a heavier alcohol intake.
Soothe with warm liquids. Warm tea can be great for a sore throat and cough, breaking a fever, calming nausea and upset stomach, and improving digestion. My go-to choices include mint, ginger, chamomile, green tea, etc. They are delicious with raw honey, lemon, and cinnamon sticks. Other great beverages are warm cider and hot cocoa with almond milk. In addition, this is the ultimate time for delicious soups, which can be prepare with a multitude of choices with lots of vegetables, legumes, grains, and lean proteins.
Take the time to breathe. I find myself reminding my patients of that continuously. Stress often makes us forget to breathe as well as forget how to breathe properly. Consider this breathing exercise: Sit still and tall somewhere comfortable with a neutral spine. Close the eyes and begin breathing through the nose. Inhale for a count of 2; hold the breath in for a count of 1. Exhale gently, counting out for 4; finish by holding the breath out for a count of 1.
Move your body. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress during hectic times, while staying healthy, maintaining weight, increasing energy levels, and improving the mood. During the winter months, you may have options for some fun outdoor activities and sports, such as hiking, ice skating, snowboarding, hockey, and sledding.
Go outside. As the days get shorter and darker and colder, it is important to spend some time outside in the sunshine to increase the vitamin D production. So get outside for 15 minutes a day 3-5 times per week to improve health and mood. Consider changing the light bulbs and in your house to “full spectrum” bulbs and lighting systems (this is great product by Nikken) to mimic natural light. The dietary supplementation of 2,000-4,000 IUs is available in foods, such as shiitake and button mushrooms, fish, cod liver oil, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables.
Explore natural health options to maximize the immune system function that will lead to less stress and better health during the colder months!
Get some sleep. With a busy holiday schedule, sleep is often sacrificed. Time management and discipline are essential in maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep to normalize the sleeping pattern and get more energy. “Full spectrum” lighting systems, similar to the one by Nikken, is another great way to help maintain natural circadian rhythms, the cycle of sleeping and waking.
Take a hot bath. Soaking a hot bath once a week with Epsom salt, essential oils (try lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile), and even baking soda is a great way to relax, calm the mind and body, as well as detoxify from toxins. If you take a bath before bed, it can improve sleep and help you feel energized the next day.
Chiropractic. Keeping the nervous system at optimal function by allowing the body to communicate to the brain appropriately is a vital aspect of spinal and overall health through a natural, effective, drug-free approach to health that promotes natural healing function and potential.. Chiropractic allows the body to release the accumulated physical, mental, and chemical stress and further allows the appropriate alignment and movement in the spine and its structures. Chiropractors work with people of all ages, including newborn babies, pregnant women and children. Talk to your local chiropractor today and start on the path to health to maximize your nervous and immune system function that leads to overall more energy and increased vitality!
Be generous. Giving to others should be a part of our everyday life, yet this tends to be the time that it is the most often remembered. Take the time out to help and nourish others by offering your generosity, not necessarily in terms of material things, but offer your time and volunteer for those who need the help in any shape or form. By nourishing and loving yourself, be grateful for your circumstance and offer your love to others. In addition, accept the help from others because they want to be of service to you as well. This is a season of giving and receiving, so practice both!
Be healthy & happy, Dr. Tijana
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