Holistic Winter Survival Tips
The winter months and lack of sunlight lead many people (adults as well as children), into a seasonal depression. Coupled with it being cold and flu season, and the stress of the holidays (money flowing out for gifts and obligatory travel; too much sugar and party food), and the stage is set for a dent in our health routines. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With a few simple holistic winter survival tips, you’ll boost your family’s chances of really enjoying what the season can offer: a chance to slow down, focus inwardly, spend time in quiet pursuit of reading, cooking, indoor games and crafts, and snuggling with loved ones around a toasty hearth.
Here are my holistic winter survival tips:
SUPPLEMENTS: FISH OIL
The brain is mostly fat so omega 3s keep it functioning properly. Nutrient deficiencies are responsible for epidemics of depression in millions of people. Without sufficient quantities of amino acids tyrosine and d htp or tryptophan, the body can’t manufacture serotonin and dopamine — the mood boosting neurotransmitters that are the target of most anti depressants.A well balanced brain also requires zinc to enhance the receptors ability to interact with the neurotransmitters; B6 and B12 to maintain healthy nerve cells. Canadian researchers reported that depressed patients taking 1200 milligrams of fish oil a day had about the same level of relief as they’d likely get from pills. This is a stunning example of how choosing nutrition over drugs can be a valuable solution for wellness issues.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) Sempervirens means “lives forever.” Cypress essential oil is especially comforting during the winter season. Its fresh, herbaceous, slightly evergreen aroma is refreshing and restores feelings of security and stability. For the mind and spirit, it creates a feeling of security, grounding, cohesion and stability. It provides mental structure and collection of thoughts for absent-mindedness, lack of concentration, squandering of energies, and uncontrollable sobbing. Cypress is a spiritual oil particularly helpful in times of turmoil and transition. Cypress can help counteract negative emotions of grief, sorrow, jealousy, lethargy, fear, and frustration. Cypress essential oil encourages the positive emotions of strength, comfort, change, understanding, balance, sensitivity, generosity, inner peace, purity of heart, patience and trust.
To work with aromatherapy: Simply drop 3 or 4 drops of the essential oil in a warm bath as you soak. You can also drop a couple drops onto a tissue or handkerchief, and hold under your nose while you inhale deeply. You can keep a bottle in your purse or car glove compartment to take relief with you wherever you go.
Both of these methods are safe for children. Take care not to apply directly to skin.
HERBS: TRUST THE POWER OF ROOTS WITH GINSENG
Ginseng, known as “wonder of the world” has been used in China, Japan, andKorea for centuries as a total systemic tonic. It comes in several varieties, the most common being Asian (Panax ginseng), American (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero).
Research on Siberian Ginseng showed that it may help the body deal with physical and mental stress exposures like heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise and pollution. A legendary tonifier, Ginseng has been found to be helpful in boosting energy levels and stimulating the immune system, thus preventing illness. GIngseng comes in liquid or capsule form and can be found at any health food store. Follow directions for use – it is safe for children over 2 years of age.
NUTRITION: KALE AND POTATO SOUP
This is a favorite winter recipe of mine because it is what I like to call “health in a bowl”: the kale is an abundant winter green that boosts the immune system (along with the garlic), the red pepper flakes warm the body and increase circulation, aiding in a natural “sweating” or detox of the blood (which moves germs out of the body faster), the potatoes add cohesiveness to the flavors, and make the dish creamy and satisfying. The nutritional yeast is a boost of B12 (see above) among other vitamins and minerals and adds a mild, “cheesy” flavor.
Saute in a soup pot, 1 onion (chopped) and 6 – 8 cloves of garlic (chopped fine) in 2 Tbs. olive oil
Add ½- ¾ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
Add 6 -8 cups of water or vegetable broth
Add 6 -8 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes cut into small chunks
Add 1 bunch of kale, torn
2 – 4 heaping Tbps. nutritional yeast (optional)
Simmer at low heat until potatoes are soft and can be mushed up a bit into the broth.
Salt to taste.
Here’s hoping your winter blues are more about the color of your jeans than your mood.