When your days are busy taking care of your family's needs it's easy to neglect your own. Prioritising your wellbeing is essential - for everyone's sake - so try these simple tips to keep you healthy and happy this winter.
Mums (as well as soon to be mums) are famous for many things: their loving arms, being the glue that holds families together, and keeping everyone happy and healthy. That’s why we can’t afford to get sick, especially during pregnancy! To dodge illness we have to be aware of our personal holistic health and a bit stubborn in ensuring our own needs are met. There are two very good reasons for this:
- We need mental, emotional and physical energy to fight viral and bacterial invaders threatening our family month after month in winter.
- It is vital that children see their parents routinely looking after their own health throughout the year. This way they will learn to take responsibility in the same way as children, teens and young adults.
- Wash hands frequently
- Eat a seasonal ‘rainbow diet’ of red, green, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables
- Cut sugar – 100 grams of sugar has been shown to suppress immunity in children by 50 per cent, and may last up to five hours after consumption
- Cough and sneeze into tissues, toilet paper or elbow (not hands)
- Play or relax outside to soak up those winter rays
Stress plays havoc with your immune system. Research shows that the more de-stressing you do, the longer you live. Whether it’s walking or yoga, slot stress-busters into your day, and consider taking magnesium to relax mind and muscles.
Lack of sleep feeds the vicious stress cycle and messes with immune function. Ideally we should aim for at least seven hours sleep a night.
Being outside helps de-stress, and just 20 minutes of winter sun allows absorption of vitamin D which, among other things, helps prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Winter bugs love heated unventilated environments too, so get fresh air!
A sedentary lifestyle (a lot of sitting) has proven more life-threatening than smoking. Physical activity also boosts immune function. Move it or lose it!
There’s lots of advice, but the basics are simple: cut sugar and processed foods (anything pre-cooked, in a can or packaged) and increase clean whole foods, raw or cooked. If you can’t, take a quality multivitamin.
Winter dehydrates us, thanks to airconditioning, home heating, cold and wind. Drinking water regularly throughout the day helps keep cells hydrated. A dry nose, mouth and throat are less resistant to bacteria.
Sue Pairaudeau from Health 2000 is a writer, natural health advocate and mother of six
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