How 11 Wellness Experts Look After Themselves In Winter

How 11 Wellness Experts Look After Themselves In Winter

Whether it’s cutting back on sugar, having a few early nights or trying an alternative therapy, it only takes a couple of small changes to make a big difference to your overall wellbeing. To find out how to look after yourself over the festive season, we asked some of our favourite wellness pros to share their advice.

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Get Regular Exercise

“Exercise gets the lymph moving and endorphins pumping. I run to work (5km) twice a week and go for a longer 8km run every weekend. This not only improves my mood but it also gives my immune cells a helping hand by strengthening antibodies, reducing stress and minimising inflammation. Cold water swimming is also a great way to support immunity. The stress reaction caused by cold water immersion triggers an increase in white blood cell production, providing a natural boost to your immune system.” – Lily Simpson, founder of The Detox Kitchen

Establish Daily Rituals

“This winter, I’m being militant about my daily immunity rituals. It starts with a 30-second full body spritz of uncomfortably cold water at the end of my hot shower. No, I never want to do it, but it boosts my white blood cell count, and they are the body’s fighters against infection. I then throw open my windows to turn over the air (diluting the concentration of any virus that may be lurking) and I make sure I get outside and see green (the more green you see, the better it is for your overall health). I also take one Leapfrog tablet daily for a boost of lactoferrin and will double the dose if I feel the first inkling of a sniffle. In an SOS situation, I’ll do a gentle steam inhalation to disrupt microbes in the nose and throat.” – Stephanie Drax, founder of Leapfrog Remedies

Cut Back On Sugar

“Most of us know a high sugar diet negatively impacts our mood, energy, and waistlines, but a lesser-known fact is the effect it has on our immunity. Studies have shown our immune systems can be suppressed for one to five hours after we eat a sugary meal, making it harder for the body to fight off bacteria, viruses and infection. While a sweet treat is necessary every once in a while, if we get into the habit of overloading on sugar or refined carbohydrates daily (or even multiple meals a day), we could be walking around with a depressed immune system. Sugar doesn't just affect our immunity in the short term either – individuals with diabetes and those at high risk of it have a much poorer immune response to infections compared to individuals with healthy insulin levels. Taking a supplement for blood sugar control such as Artah’s Metabolic Fix can help.” – Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist, naturopath & founder of Artah

Follow A Guided Meditation

“Even five minutes of meditation can relax the body enough to boost its natural defence mechanisms. When your body is in a state of stress, its first response is to suppress the immune system. By balancing the mind, the body enters a restorative state of repair. So many people think they can’t meditate, but if you think of it more as taking a moment to redirect your thoughts with your eyes closed it feels a lot less overwhelming. Following a guided meditation – such as those offered on the Mind Detox app – is an easy way to get going.” – Fiona Lamb, clinical hypnotherapist

Studies have shown our immune systems can be suppressed for one to five hours after we eat a sugary meal, making it harder to fight off infections.

Embrace Mushrooms

“Medicinal mushrooms help build blood cells and are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral in nature. Chaga mushrooms are particularly beneficial as they stimulate the formation of white blood cells. They also contain antioxidants which have a balancing effect on the immune system and can help reduce inflammation. You can buy it as a powder, which you can add to smoothies or tea.” – Fiona

Eat The Rainbow

“It sounds obvious, but good nutrition is vital to support all of the many processes carried out by your immune system every day. It also supports your resilience to infections, helping you recover well. Vitamin C, in particular, is essential for strong immunity. Lemons, oranges, bell peppers, kiwis, parsley, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all rich in vitamin C. Garlic is also great for immunity, so cook with it whenever you can.” – Jodie Brandman, nutritional therapist

Soak Up Some Sun

“It can be hard to find the motivation to leave the house at this time of year, but it’s so good for both your physical and mental health. Plants release compounds called phytoncides into the air which have proven positive effects on our immune systems, and if the sun is shining there’s even more reason as vitamin D is a main source of fuel for our white blood cells, our body’s first line of defence against pathogens. While the body can make vitamin D from sunlight, in the winter this is trickier to come by, meaning supplementing is crucial. Nature can support immunity in the form of crystals. Amethyst can help strengthen the immune system, malachite is known for its protective qualities and fluorite can aid detoxification.” – Tori Boughey, holistic health coach & founder of T-Balance

Get Blending

“Herbs and spices can help increase your body’s resilience and enhance your ability to fight off infections. Add two inches each of fresh turmeric root, fresh ginger root and fresh horseradish root as well as four cloves of garlic, one peeled lemon, olive oil and water to a blender. This mix contains some of the strongest natural food sources of anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial foods. If you feel something coming on, take one to two tablespoons of this per day, depending on how it feels on your digestion.” – Rhian

Try An Ayurvedic Ritual

“I take chyawanprash – an Ayurvedic herbal jam high in vitamin C, digestive spices, antioxidants and minerals – throughout the winter months. I take one teaspoon in the morning, straight off the spoon. This concentrated formula is a traditional Ayurvedic preparation used for thousands of years to promote immune system health. I also drink lots of herbal teas with ingredients like cinnamon, tulsi, ginger and lime, which have been shown to support both lung and digestive function. In general, warm water or herbal teas are more favourable for digestion than cold water and the foundation of good immunity starts with digestive health. I also practice alternate nostril breathing daily, which is said to purify the body and remove stagnant energy.” – Lara Ecroyd, Ayurvedic practitioner and pharmacist

Just two days of getting less sleep than we need can decrease the production of antibodies needed to fight viruses and bacteria.

Get Plenty Of Rest

“Don’t underestimate self-care in the immunity equation. Every evening, I have a bath with magnesium salts and essential oils (lavender, frankincense and mandarin) – I do this before dinner to calm my nervous system after a high-energy day and before eating. When it comes to nutrition, eat more hearty bean soups, curries and colourful vegetable dishes, and outside of nutrition, add a daily walk to your movement practice. Walking fast in fresh air helps flush out toxins, which is great for health. Due to the current situation we need to consider the safety of one another, but social interaction is also important. Spending time with friends and family has been shown to boost the immune system.” – Monique Eastwood, celebrity trainer & founder of the Eastwood Movement Method

Have An Early Night

“Sleep may be something that is a little disrupted this time of year, but studies have shown that just two days of getting less sleep than we need can impact our gut microbes, increase inflammation and stress hormones, and decrease the production of antibodies needed to fight infection. Getting good sleep can benefit your immunity, diet and mood. Try to avoid eating late at night which can disrupt your sleep and avoid caffeine after 3pm which is a known stimulant.” – Jo Cunningham, clinical director of The Gut Health Clinic

Counteract The Festivities With Antioxidants

“Glutathione is our master antioxidant and is heavily used by the body to offset some of the damaging effects of alcohol. Given that many of us will drink more alcohol during the festive period, it goes without saying that you may need more glutathione than your body can produce. Glutathione is biologically critical to the proper functioning of the immune system and for protecting cells from damage. It can be expensive to supplement, but if you are drinking alcohol over Christmas, then it’s a good choice to protect your immunity.” – Pete Williams, functional medicine practitioner

Consider Homeopathy

“Homeopathy is a holistic medicine that’s been practiced for over 200 years, and remedies are not only easy to source but easy to take for all the family. A basic 36 or 42 remedy homeopathy kit will help you navigate winter colds, sore throats and fever. My personal favourite is Ferrum Phos, which I take hourly if I feel I’m coming down with something. If it develops into a sneezy cold, I’ll then take Natrum Mur three times a day until it clears. Elderberry tincture is also great for chesty coughs and if you’re caught short with a tickly cough, chop half an onion, spread it on a ceramic saucer and drizzle on some raw honey. Leave for 30 minutes, drain the runny syrup and take a teaspoonful every hour.” – Caroline Gaskin, homeopath

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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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