Winter wellness: No, it isn’t an oxymoron. Yes it is possible! How? Read on and I’ll share what works for us.
Winter Wellness: How could that be possible?
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It seems every winter I watch as one by one my extended family, church friends, school friends, and Facebook friends begin to drop one by one from various illnesses and afflictions. Why? WHY can’t we spend our winters being as well as we are in the summer? The fact is, YOU CAN!
I can’t promise you will never get sick, but I can share some tips I have learned that help us stay well all season long, when everyone around us keeps dropping like flies.
I confess, winter wellness seems impossible. I have friends who I fully believe are walking magnets for whatever germ is within 50 miles of them. I often wonder how they even survive winter at all, then I ponder why they choose to live in an area where winter exists. Wouldn’t year around Summer serve them better?
Winter wellness really isn’t a secret. I promise isn’t written in hieroglyphics and hidden on the 7th moon of Saturn. It can be attained, maybe not in one winter, but with year round preparation and healthy lifestyle habits, you can achieve better over all health and avoid many of the winter time ickies.
Here is a GREAT book on the subject to get you started:
I have actually been asked, “Doesn’t your family ever get sick? You all seem so healthy all winter long? Do you avoid public places or what?” The answers, Yes, we do get sick, rarely, but it has happened. Normally we remain fairly healthy during the winter months. No, we do not avoid public places, as a matter of fact, we are unfortunately, ALWAYS out and about. It is just a rare occurrence and I attribute that to many lifestyle choices we make. Below you will find the 5 that I think are the biggest contributors to good health. When we slack on these 5, inevitably someone gets sick.
To start with, I’ll share our medical history. Remember this is for 6 years on 8-10 people (babies weren’t always here and I include my 80 year old in-loves who live with us)
Examples of illnesses from our last 6 winters include: 2 rounds of flu for Dad = he was working 14 hour days, 6 days a week and it was being passed around work like good gossip. He was also under ridiculous amounts of stress at work and at home: However, one of those rounds was actually in June, so not really winter.
There was 1 or 2 more severe sniffle type colds for a couple of the older kids, but, they were junking out, sleeping too little and going too much and those still didn’t require the doctor.
Finally, we recently battled a round which included 1 teen that was down for the first time in 8 or 9 years. She had a sinus infection, stemming from a virus; it was bad enough that it actually required a doctor’s visit. The doctor was shocked to see us; it was her first sick visit in over 10 years.
Then, this week, the 2 babies are down with what appears to be croup or RSV. No we haven’t been to the doctor yet, too many other germs to be picked up in the doc’s office and they are doing pretty good with home treatments.
I am monitoring them closely and spent 20 years in ERs and Ambulances. I have also contacted the doctor’s office to discuss symptoms and I do have a nebulizer and medicine on hand if needed. I do NOT suggest that anyone avoid the doctor if you suspect RSV or Croup, either can turn ugly very quickly.
That’s it! Seriously! That is the summation of the past 6 years. There may have been one or two cases of mild sniffles or a passing tummy bug that I am forgetting, but nothing that lasted more than 24 hours and nothing that required extra attention, doctors, or meds. You can honestly see most of what I have treated in my blog posts listed in : Herbal Remedies: where I document and teach my remedies for illnesses.
I SWEAR, we haven’t been hiding in a cave and no, we haven’t discovered a secret stash of Dr. Joe’s Cure All Snake Oil. 😛
So what have we been doing? How are we staying well? Here are my top 5 tips for staying well even through the winter months.
Stress does more than make us tired. Stress disrupts digestion, it alters hormone production, it disrupts sleep, and most of all it LOWERS YOUR IMMUNE system. Stress obviously can not be avoided in daily life, but with a few lifestyle changes and some healthy supplement choices you can definitely get rid of many of your stressors, treat the rest, and boost your immune system
This is probably your first and most important step in getting healthy and staying healthy.
Take time for yourself: Follow these tips to help lower your stress load, your stress hormones and in turn boost that immune system.
- Relax & Breathe
- Meditate or Pray
- Exercise: get moving, it lowers stress hormones
- Choose to be happy
- Plan ahead: disorganization adds stress
- DeClutter: get rid of all the junk
- Write it down: Journal
- Have fun
- Eat real food: Healthy foods relieve stress
- Get enough sleep: see the post below
For more information on “De-Stressing” please see my 3 part series on Stress: This series goes in depth into what stress is, what it does to your body and then gives tips for responding to stress, reducing stress, identifying stressors, eliminating stressors, and even supplements, herbs and oils for taking care of the stress that you can’t eliminate.
GET SOME SLEEP:
Study after study has proven that our bodies heal while they sleep. Yet night after night we push ourselves just a little further, stay up a little later, and rush to finish just one more project before going to bed. Then, we crawl into bed, flip on the T.V., pull out the iPad, or load up Facebook on the phone until we finally doze off, electronics in hand, purely exhausted. Why? Why do we torture ourselves?
I hear every excuse, and while I know there are true cases of insomnia, I also believe that much of it is self induced. (See the Stress links above).
We over think, over analyze, and over schedule. At the end of the day we have been running in high gear for so long that we feel like we have to have something to wind down. We turn to electronic media and try to tune out. However, what we don’t realize is that even though we do fall asleep while playing “Candy Crush”, it isn’t because we finally wound down; it is because our brain finally became so overstimulated that it just, gave up. When you overstimulate at bedtime you do NOT get a good night of restful sleep. Instead, you get a brain that is firing all night long and a night of very restless sleep. We as a collective whole are EXHAUSTED!! Simply put we are beyond the limit and our brains are in fight or flight mode.
We are exhausted because we feel the need to be busy all the time, we feel like if we aren’t busy then we are being lazy or useless. We have conditioned ourselves to believe that rest = sluggard. That just isn’t the case. We need rest, our body needs time to heal and repair the damage of daily life. The brain needs time to recoup and heal.
It has been shown that lack of sleep contributes greatly to things like :
- Poor thinking
- Lower Immunity
- Slower metabolism
- Blood glucose regulation issues
- Irrational behaviors
- Poor motor control
- Memory problems
- Auto-immune diseases
- Kidney & Liver function problems
- Digestion issues
For the sake of your health:
To help you sleep try a great Aromasoft Diffuser with some Lavender and Cedarwood oils; or make a nice tea with chamomile, lavender, hops, and catnip, or get yourself some Sleepy Time Tea.
EAT REAL FOOD:
Yep, my old stand-by sermon: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! So eat something healthy, alive and real. Make healthy food choices.
- Sugar: Sugar will feed the bacteria and viruses you do pick up. We all know you don’t want to feed those boogers. Sugar lowers immune response. Sugar is in everything, read your labels, you will be surprised at where you find it. Look for cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, any word ending is “ose”, cane syrup, etc.
- Chemicals: Avoid chemicals in your food, if you can’t pronounce it don’t eat it. It ain’t good for you or your immune system. Just don’t do it. For more about REAL FOOD you can check out my “Real Food Challenge“.
- Gluten: NO you don’t have to go gluten free at all, just limit it. It is hard to digest and it is inflammatory. Inflammation is the last thing you need when you are trying to stay well. Like sugar you will find gluten in EVERYTHING if you aren’t careful. Healthy choices like fruits, veggies, and unprocessed meats are naturally gluten free, so make a meal with meat and veggies and skip the boxed meals, boxed mixes, and breaded freezer stuff. Look for key words like wheat, flour, etc. You don’t want that in everything you eat. DO NOT fall for buying “gluten free canned veggies”; seriously, unless you are celiac’s the minimal amount of possible cross contamination is not going to add to your toxic load if you are eating healthy.
- Sodas, snacks, junk food: avoid processed foods, choose healthy snacks like nuts, veggies, fruit, boiled eggs, etc. All that processed stuff is hard on your digestion and lowers your immune system because it is busy trying to filter the toxic overload.
- Dairy: Especially when you are sick. Dairy can contribute to inflammation it will also increase mucous production, making a cold worse. Milk is for baby cows. Substitute Almond or Coconut milk instead. Eat cheese in moderation. Get your calcium from green veggies.
IF YOU MUST HAVE THESE ITEMS: MAKE THEM A TREAT: THINK WARTIME RATIONS: EAT TREATS: ENJOY LIFE: DON’T LIVE ON TREATS
Yep, you heard me right. Quit with all the hand sanitizer. WAIT!! Don’t throw rocks at me yet. Here me out. We have become so accustom to living in our little “clean” bubble that we aren’t building any immunity. I am NOT saying you shouldn’t wash your hands, by all means, PLEASE wash them often. Washing does a great job of keeping us healthy, and all that hand sanitizer is just an overkill, literally. You don’t need to kill every single germ, leave a few. Let your hands get a few germs on them here and there. Think about it; vaccines work by giving you a small does of a disease and letting your body create immunity a little at a time. Same goes for common bugs that go around. I don’t even carry the stuff with me most of the time. I might pack a little during flu season because babies touch things and then their mouths, but typically I don’t have it except as a fire starter. Besides, most brands are full of triclosan and other chemicals that are known carcinogens.
Quit bleaching everything, all the time. I LOVE my bleach, it is my non crunchy down fall. However, if you are bleaching everything all the time the same thing happens. You can’t always be in your bubble, so expose yourself slowly, especially during the spring, summer and fall when you are out getting fresh air and vitamin d3, get those germs on you every now and then so your body can make a few warriors to fight off bigger exposures later. Of course this does not apply to someone with a compromised immune system.
There, I said it, I admitted it, GET DIRTY!
I can’t preach this one enough. Get your D3. Most of us are low, most of us need more, and in the winter we are ALL very lacking. Why do you think cold and flu outbreaks are in the winter: NOT ENOUGH D3. D3 comes from sunshine on bare skin, window sunshine doesn’t work, sunscreen sunshine doesn’t work you need real sunshine on uncovered, unprotected skin. 🙂 During the winter this is nearly impossible so a supplement is a great idea. My favorite brand is
but there are many other brands out there. The point is that you need to get it.
Here is a an entire post on The Importance of Vitamin D3 <<Click there or on the picture: TO learn everything you need to know about D3 I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT this is.
Here is an example of how we does our D3, you should talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
Here is the dosing schedule we use. You can divide this out however you want. We use this dosing during cold and flu season. It can take up to 3 months to establish good levels so starting as soon as school starts back and keeping it up until school is out is normally a good rule of thumb. We do not take in during the summer months, instead we get sun exposure with no sunscreen each day. However if you work indoors during the summer or do not spend a lot of un-sun-screened, skin exposed, time in the sun, then you should probably take D3 all summer too If we become sick, or someone around us becomes sick during the summer we will take a dose of D3 for a week or two. 🙂
This is the product we use: There is also a link to the elderberry we use during flu season. Below this is the dosage we use for D3. Elderberry follow the package instructions.
My 20lb infant should get 700ius per day of D3
(20lbs x 35 ius= 700 ius)
That is 4,900ius per week
(700ius per day x 7 days in a week= 4,900ius per week).
I give him one of our 5,000iu capsules every Sunday.
My 60lb 8 year old should get 2,100 ius per day
(60lbs x 35ius= 2,100 ius)
That is 5,000ius every 2.3 days.
(5,000iu tablets divided by 2,100ius per day = 2.3 days )
So to keep things simple, I give him one 5,000iu capsule every Mon, Wed, Friday.
My 118lb, 13 year old should get 4,130 ius per day.
I round that to 4,000ius per day which equals 28,000ius per week
so if I give her 5,000ius 6 days per week then she is getting 30,000 per week but skipping Sunday is taking up the space of the extra 2,000 per week.
So I give her 5,000ius/ 6 days per week. Skipping Sunday.
My 200lb husband and big boys get 5,000 daily, some days they take 10,000ius to fill in for the extra.
I am 146lbs I take 5,000ius to 10,000ius per day depending on situation. Women over 25 tend to run low.
The link below also has some great information and a helpful chart that shows just how much it takes to overdose on Vitamin D.
Am I Getting Too Much D3?
That’s it!! Seriously, those are the 5 things that I have found to make the biggest difference in our health. When we implement these practices we typically suffer no illensses and when we do get sick it is normally fairly mild and short lived.
As Always: ALL posts on this blog may or may not contain affiliate links or links to my direct sales websites. This is because there is a monthly fee to run this blog and it costs time to keep it going. You are not required to click on any links, but if you do THANK YOU!! You are helping to support my blogging habit. (I would say my family but so far I haven’t even made enough to pay 1 month of blogging fees.) Thanks for stopping by and feel free to use my links or pass them along to friends. All help is greatly appreciated.