Winter Wellness Tips

Updated: Jan 21

It's that time of the year again, folks. The days are shorter, the weather is chillier and even more unpredictable than ever here in the south, and it seems as if everyone is especially snotty. Even with the flu on the fritz, and the winter blues washing over, it's important that we make the effort to keep our spirits up and our immune systems boosted. I've listed some tips to aid in staying healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually during the winter and beyond.



1) Treat yourself to that nap

We live in a fast-paced society, where it can feel as if we don't have the time to slow down to catch our breath. As a young adult working multiple jobs, involved in various projects, and entertaining my own hobbies, I often don't have the time to get a full night's rest, but I do know how imperative it is to rest. Sleep deprivation presents itself in multiple forms, varying from health problems, lack of focus, to decreased sex drive. Though naps don't make up for an inadequate night's rest, studies show that just a 20-minute nap can help in increased productivity and improved moods.

For more information on the benefits of napping visit

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/napping



2) Make time to give back

Following the winter months, anxiety and depression make themselves comfortable. It's not an easy time of year for many people, even when we don't show it to the world.

I find that by making space to help others less fortunate than I, the seasonal woes feel a little less heavy.

If you're an Atlanta local, there is a wonderful site that offers all types of volunteer opportunities around the city.

You can sign up at

handsonatlanta.com

For ideas on giving back wherever you reside, visit

https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-volunteer-give-back-community/




3) Turn physical movement into mental happiness

It's no secret that our bodies (and brains) need physical exercise to function properly, but it's also no secret that when it's cold and dreary outside leaving the comfort of a warm cozy couch doesn't exactly sound enticing. Which is even more the reason to do just that - get the hell up and release some endorphins! After-all, summer bodies are made in the winter.

The two main neurochemicals in the brain that are associated with a reduction in pain are Serotonin and Anandamide, which are endorphins released when we elevate our heart rates through exercise. Serotonin is the feel-good chemical released by the brain. In case of lower levels of serotonin, the body goes into the state of depression. Serotonin levels are found to be boosted through exercises such as biking, running and aerobics. Anandamide is associated with the regulation of stress and the is more prone to be affected by stress if there is a lack of anandamide in their body. Exercise is found to boost the production of this neurochemical.

There are so many unique and fun ways to keep your body moving. Find a fun group workout class, go dancing, find an accountability buddy to be active with, find a you-tube workout video. I'm not suggesting that anyone go sign up for a gym membership, only that doing something is always better than nothing. Even if it's a 10-minute living room workout done in your pajamas, 2020 is not a year for excuses ladies and gents.


4) Reach for the super foods

I'm a firm believer in the saying "you are what you eat," and when my diet is lacking in nutrients it's affects are undeniable. By adding super foods into your diet, you're offering your body the gift of better health. Super foods are dense in vitamins, protein, fiber and many of the other nutrients that our bodies need to help fight off disease, boost our immune systems, and contribute to overall health.

If you are eager to become a bit more healthy and are interested in adding super foods to your diet, rest assured that it is quite a simple thing to do. Here are a few of my favorite super foods:

Blueberries, or “brain” berries, are rich in antioxidants and a delicious snack or addition to my morning parfaits. Garlic, “nature’s penicillin,” has been used for thousands of years to fight infections and can keep the flu at bay, and what a yummy addition to meals and warding off vampires at the same time. I start my mornings off with warm lemon and ginger water, and it's one of my favorite morning routines. It has been used throughout history as a treatment for nausea, digestive problems and muscle pain but has also been known to reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar. Try adding ginger to meals as a spice, drinking it in tea or taking ginger root supplements.

We are blessed to live in a time where almost any information is available at our fingertips, so do yourself a favor and look into what you can incorporate to your diet to optimize your well-being.

Here are two great links for recipes and further information on super foods -

https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/meals-that-give-your-brain-a-boost/

https://thechalkboardmag.com/category/food-nutrition-healthy-recipes/superfood-spotlights-wellness



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