Before I became a mum, the phrase, ‘winter is coming,’ conjured up cosy evenings by the fire, brisk walks in the fresh air, and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows in coffee shops while watching passersby through steamed up windows.
Now, on first hearing, the phrase evokes something else altogether… that dread of hearing feverish moans in the middle of the night as children wake up with temperatures; the continual rescheduled plans; cabin fever and perpetual runny noses.
Covid realities have added another level to this sense of uneasy anticipation. Here we are, only two weeks into term, and both my kids are off school already! But before I can feel too sorry for myself, I want to make sure I write down what I can do – what all of us can do – to stay healthier and happier in this season! We all know the benefits of a balanced diet and exercise, but is there anything else that makes a real difference? Here’s five things that will give you and your family an extra boost:
Fresh air ❄️
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing’
If you’re anything like me, when the weather is cold the last thing we can feel like doing is going outside. But once we make the effort, it’s more than worth it for the benefits.
My beautiful and wise Finnish friend taught me this. She is always prepared for all weathers with impressive all-in-one suits that keep out the wet and the cold, and keep little ones warm as toast. Check out the Reima range at www.reima.com – these are expensive but long-lasting; if you buy them oversized they’ll last for years and can be handed down from child to child as they grow.
Not only does being exposed to the cold increase your metabolism, being active outside causes your brain to release more of the hormones that make you happy (epinephrine, adrenaline and norepinephrine.) So get out there and get some fresh air!
When my kids were constantly getting infections a couple of years back, I did a LOT of research on vitamins. The best ones I’ve found for kids are from the Nature’s Plus Animal Parade range – you can get them on amazon and in some local health shops. These are amazing! Not only do they contain the key vitamins and minerals but they taste great too, and the GOLD ones also include probiotics for improved gut health. Since my kids started taking these ive noticed a huge difference! They still get the occasional bug like the rest of us, but they fight it off much faster than they used to.
For the adults among us; if you can take vitamin C, vitamin D and Zinc supplements consistently, you’ll be giving your immune system a huge boost. They need to be good quality though. Most gummy vitamins contain more bad stuff than good- watch out for additives and artificial sweeteners!
Essential oils 🧴
Essential oils do not work miracles, but when used properly and safely they can give your mood and immune system a much-needed boost. Used as cleaning products, they reduce the amount of harmful chemicals coming into your home. They can also help with mood, sleep, ailments, aches and pains.
A kind friend recently made me a wellness roller blend from thieves, lemon and frankincense oil. It smells gorgeous on your wrists and is mild enough for the kids; we put it on the soles of their feet at night (with socks on!) Talk about a pick me up!
Here’s some benefits of the oils we love in our house!
Thieves: the individual components of thieves oil have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, promote respiratory health and wound healing, and may provide pain relief.
Clove: antimicrobial, tooth and muscle pain reliever, improves respiratory conditions like cough and asthma.
Frankincense: anti-inflammatory, improves gut function, relieves asthma and improves oral health.
Lemon: Reduces anxiety, improves cold symptoms, improves energy, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Good quality sleep 💤
I’ve yet to put this one fully into practice! Most of us need 7-8 hours of good quality sleep to stay healthy. This is super hard to achieve if you work shifts or you have young kids. But if you can get to bed earlier, and avoid screens two hours before bed you’ll feel so much better when your alarm goes every morning. Alternatively, why not try these great glasses from sleepspec? If you want to go on social media or work late at night, wearing these can cancel out the harmful effects of blue light on your sleep.
If little people wake you during the night or you have health conditions that keep you awake, what can really help you get the best from the little sleep you’re getting is taking magnesium supplements. I started doing this a few weeks ago and have noticed a huge difference in the quality of sleep I’m getting.
Making memories 📷
Lastly, let’s not forget that the colder months bring lots of opportunities to make amazing memories. As a friend put it,
‘When I think of winter, I think of earlier bedtimes for the kids as it gets dark earlier, reading by the fire before bed always feels special, more routine, welcome breaks at Halloween and Christmas with all the fun and extra time together those bring, being cuddled on the sofa under blankets more often, cosy lighting and smells. Everything feels a bit magic in winter.’
Isn’t this so true? We’ve all got harvest, fireworks and lanterns, cosy evenings, snowmen, stockings and gifts to look forward to! Why not plan in some new family traditions for the harvest and Christmas seasons? Twinkl has some great ideas for creative new winter activities.
So let’s all stay healthier and happier this winter by:
1. Getting more fresh air ❄️
2. Taking our vitamins 💊
3. Trying out essential oils 🧴
4. Getting better sleep 💤
5. Making new memories 📷
How do you and your family stay healthy and happy?