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Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthier this Winter

The upper respiratory bugs are running rampant in our area right now. Not to mention COVID is still making rounds. So, besides the good hygiene practices we all know we should do, like frequent hand washing with soap, covering your cough, and staying home when you're sick, here are 5 things that may help keep you healthier this winter.

  1. Eat your vitamins - eating lots of lightly cooked veggies in a multitude of colors will keep your body healthy. Vitamin C from citrus fruit is also really good in the winter. Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables in all the colors of the rainbow.

  2. Nasal irrigation - sounds weird, but keeping moist sinus tissue is helpful for preventing illness when the air is dry. The traditional way is to use warm, non-iodized salt water in a neti pot. But you can also buy saline sprays at the pharmacy to use anytime you're feeling dry. If you use a neti pot, make sure to use only distilled or sterilized water when you're flushing your sinuses.

  3. Elderberry syrup - as a preventative or for a cold, elderberry syrup has many health benefits. Elderberries are packed with vitamins and immune boosting antioxidants. You can buy premade syrup, or buy dried elderberries and make your own syrup with local honey (an added immunity boost!) Here is a recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs I used to make some. It's easy, yummy and a traditional medicinal tonic.

  4. Breathe fresh air and move every day. Sometimes it's difficult to want to get outside when it's cold. An afternoon walk for even 20 minutes in nature has proven benefits for physical and mental health. If you suffer at all from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it's even more important to soak up a little sunlight and fresh air. Maybe walk to your next yoga class or get in a walk before class.

  5. Get enough sleep. Winter is a time to slow down. The days are shorter and we can snuggle under covers and get some extra Zzzzzzz's. Good sleep habits promote overall good physical and mental health. Most people actually sleep better in a colder room. So turn off those screens an hour before bed and catch up on a good book.

  6. *Bonus Tip* Try a breath work practice to help expand the use of your lungs. Conscious breath practices can calm the nervous system and reduce stress. Stress keeps our immune system from working its best. Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the body, which is good for the body and brain. People with athsma and COPD may find a reduction in obstructed breathing with regular breath practices.

We hope you have a healthy and joyful winter season. Take time for yourself and your health and wellbeing. You can't take care of others when your own cup is depleted.

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