With 2020 being a very uncertain year around the world; involving all races, affecting all genders of all ages and surrounding all of us and our wellness – we can predict that 2021 will be the most health conscientious year yet.
Let’s talk prevention
It has been at the front of my mind and just in time for flu season.
The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” focuses my self care to be consistent. For many this is a challenging time. Small changes may be most helpful and we will look at some of these today.
Hydration for starters is the best way to regulate your temperature, prevent infections, flush toxins and even
The daily recommendation for water intake is 2 liters per day. This means plain, clean water. Room temperature is best to support digestion. I like to use a habit tracker to keep up with it, along with a 1 liter mason jar that I’m sure to fill at least twice a day.
Herbal teas, coconut water and a varied intake of fruits and vegetables help to maintain electrolyte balance in conjunction with hydration. It doesn’t hit as fast and hard as caffeine but be patient, in the long run simply getting enough water aids the body in sustaining energy long term and helps keep the mind sharp.
So drink up and get nourished!
Locally grown seasonal produce is fresh and nutrient dense. Trust that mother earth knows where and when to grow the plants to sustain life in an environment. In Ontario fall harvest brings forth varieties of potatoes, beets, carrots, squash, apples and pears.
As I write this, thoughts of looming deadlines and bills creep up. Within a few minutes I’m contemplating a run to the store for some gummies and chips – quick and cheap energy that has mass initial appeal but little real satisfaction. I opt instead for some apple cider and pumpkin tarts. Warming, nutritious and delicious!
A varied whole food diet keeps vitamin and mineral stores abundant to contribute to immune function, support the nervous system and keep organs functioning at their best. Our seasonal fall harvest in Ontario is very nourishing to the liver. Maintaining proper liver function supports the whole body and supports immunity to offenses.
Finally, just breathe
Take a deep breath: there are lots of great breathing techniques available to practice but even just a good old fashioned deep breath can go a long way. I am often surprised to find how much I’ve been holding it all in!
Start small and try incorporating 10 deep breaths a few times a day.
- It helps to calm the mind,
- Brings more oxygen to the brain
- Improves circulation and blood pressure.
A great way to learn a new habit is pairing. I like to use things like the time when I do the dishes, in the shower, or waiting for the bus. Over a period of time breathing ability strengthens and endurance for physical activity can improve.
All three of these suggestions are aimed at improving whole body health. They support energy levels, clarity of mind and metabolic exchanges. They also have potential to help grow other habits like cooking and baking at home, taking nature walks or practicing yoga.
These are all meditative practices.
Now they can be challenging to start but rewarding on so many levels. Take it from me who, as a beginner, started yoga this year and now it is routine for me to do a 10 minute video or personal flow each day. Trust that I nearly drag my feet to the mat each time but always happy I did.
Nature walks are another habit to embrace – especially while the Fall colours l the landscape surrounding many local trails. Start with 10-15 minutes a day as you build endurance and also set your destination point further each time as your wellness increases too!
The last thing I want to share is a few common herbs that can help keep us strong through the cold months.
Chamomile, ginger and nettle are three reliable, safe and accessible herbs. They are lovely on their own plain or with a touch of honey. They also combine nicely for a nice tea in the evening. Use them with intention or as a general tonic.
Chamomile is a gentle sedative that helps with sleep, digestive upset and mild pains. It is generally okay for children and adults unless there is an allergy to ragweed.
Ginger helps to warm the body. It improves blood flow, digestion and can help in fever by promoting sweat.
Nettle is one of my favorite plants. I find it delicious in tea and use it often externally to strengthen my hair. It has long been used to build strength over time as it is nutrient rich. It contains B vitamins as well as A, C and K. It also has notable amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron and electrolytes phosphorus, potassium and sodium. With high protein and phytonutrients, you can even cook and serve it in rice! It has a reputation for assisting with seasonal allergies which many have found to be helpful as well as a great substitute for OTC allergy medicine. It has histamine in it that binds to our receptors blocking the allergic reaction.
So, with the sniffles and red eyes being quite noticed this year, do your best to hydrate, fill up on produce and proteins, get outdoors and breathe. Trust me, it will be as easy as it sounds in no time and your individual wellness will thank you with great health.