December 21st marks the Winter Solstice. The date signifies the shortest day and longest night of the year. It also marks the first day of winter. Read on to know how to use the Winter Solstice for greater healthy living.
Even though the holidays are deemed a happy and cheery season, many people feel ‘low’ during this time of the year. Low feelings may show up as mood, depressive or anxiety related disorders. If you are among the less than exuberant people during this time of year, rest assured your feelings may be completely in line with the norm. Albeit ‘normal’, small adjustments in behavior and action aligned with supporting your body’s natural cycles can make an improvement in how you feel.
Get Sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real condition experienced by people primarily in the Northern Hemisphere where sunshine is diminished in the winter months. Whether you are ‘SAD’ or simply feel reduced energy, get out of doors every day, even when the temperatures are cold. Using a light therapy source can also be effective. Sunshine and light therapy are especially supportive when received in the morning. The effects can be helpful throughout the day and night, promoting natural wake and sleep cycles. Supplementing with vitamin D may be supportive. Seek professional advice – all vitamin D supplements are not created equal or effective. Get tested by your Physician or qualified practitioner (via a blood draw) to know your vitamin D levels.
Be sensible. When you are out of balance by too much work, stress, lack of sleep and poor nutritional uptake, your body’s natural circadian rhythms and hormonal balance become out of sync. Hormones serve as chemical messengers regulating cellular and organ activity in the body’s quest for homeostasis. They are key players in regulating your body’s stress responses and circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle of physiological processes in the human body. Healthy choices support healthy hormones.
Get Good Sleep. Holiday festivities may call for later nights, eating schedules and choices outside your normal healthy habits. Make getting enough sleep a priority the majority of nights. Be honest about how much sleep you need and get it. Your performance will improve. You owe it to yourself, your family, your team and stakeholders to get enough good sleep.
Lose Sugar: Among other issues, sugar causes inflammation – the precursor to dis-ease. Sugar lurks where you don’t expect it. Choose real food where the food is the ingredient label. When leaning into a packaged food, read labels to know what you are consuming. Four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar. It adds up. Most Americans consume about three pounds of sugar weekly and don’t even know it.
Get physical activity daily. You need not do a rigorous workout, but get your blood flowing and do it often. Avoid sitting for more than an hour at a time. A few minute walk to refill your water and a stretch will suffice when at the office. Squeeze in cardio, flexibility and strength training three or more times a week. Dance in the kitchen. Use a mini-trampoline faithfully.
Embrace the season. Nature cues the human body extraordinarily well for what it needs. Enhance your enjoyment of winter with a regular mindfulness/meditation practice. Ten minutes daily is a great practice to slow your mind and listen to what your body needs. Enjoy winter by going to bed earlier. The additional rest will rejuvenate you for the New Year. Spring is just around the corner.
Tam John is a certified Nutritionist (NTP). You can’t make healthy choices until you know which choices are healthy for you. The Personalized Wellness Coaching Tam provides guides people to make choices healthy for them. Her first book, A Fresh Wellness Mindset…. Personalize Your Food Life & Find Your Truth about Gluten, will be available in January 2018. Because Wellness is True Happiness™
Find her online at www.TamJohn.com
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care Physician or Naturopathic Doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 EatRight-LiveWell ™ & Tam John