Keep your family healthy this fall and winter with these winter wellness practices. Using these natural health DIY recipes and essential oils to stay well and out of the doctors office.
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Last year, was our healthiest cold and flu season as a family, ever. Even with medically fragile and immune compromised children in our home, we were able to make it through the entire season with only some minor colds and sniffles. I attribute our healthy year to a whole lot of prayer and a few winter wellness practices we put in place.
10 Winter Wellness Practices
Sleep is absolutely essential to good health and a strong immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, during sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
Moms especially tend to get less sleep in the winter when they have sick little ones to care for. Sometimes moms need to get creative and be intentional to insure they get enough rest.
Get Outside Daily
Getting outside and into sunlight can have a significant impact on your mood, which in turn will have a positive impact on your overall health. When the days are shorter and many people feel trapped inside, seeing a little sunlight can work wonders.
Exercising also causes your brain to release epinephrine, or adrenaline, and norepinephrine, which make us happy. And getting active in the cold can cause your brain to release even more of the substances.
Supplement Vitamin D
It is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D, but vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.
Studies have shown that children given 1,200 IUs of vitamin D per day for 4 months during the winter reduced their risk of flu A infection by over 40%.
Skip the Halloween Candy
It isn’t a coincidence that instances of cold and flu dramatically increase in November each year. Yes, the season typically begins at the start of the school year, when children are packed in classrooms together all day, but illness rates tend to rise dramatically in November.
Sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system. After drinking a sugary drink, eating a cupcake, or consuming anything else that is loaded with added sugar (like a load of halloween candy), your cells undergo a sort of sugar lethargy. This effect can last for several hours during which time your immune-fighting cells do not defend as well against bacteria.
Skipping the halloween candy may be difficult the first year, but you can create new traditions that are much healthier for you and your family.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils provide some amazing health benefits year round, but in the winter, when we need our immune system to be functioning at its best, they can be particularly helpful. there are some specific oils and blends bring extra benefits when you are trying to avoid illnesses like colds and flu. A few of my favorites are Thieves, Lavender, and Frankincense. All three of these come in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit, along with a diffuser and 8 other oils. Go here to sign up and get your kit today!
Increase Water Intake
Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system. Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon essential oil to water can further aid your body in detoxification and keep you healthier.
Elderberry syrup is a must-have in any natural cold and flu medicine chest. It is now available at most drug stores, but it can be made easily at home for just a fraction of the cost.
Elderberry syrup prevents the common cold and the flu by inhibiting viral replication, so it is best taken at the very first sign of illness or just after a known exposure to someone who is sick. Preventative smaller doses can also be taken during cold and flu season and at times of increased exposure to illness.
Oil pulling is one of the best things you can do for dental health and whole body detoxification. It is also more simple than you might imagine. Oil pulling is also one of the best natural health and wellness daily practices you can develop. You can find a simple step by step guide here.
Limit Holiday Sweets
Limiting sugar, as mentioned above, can have a significant impact on your health, especially during cold and flu season. Limiting sugar by using non-candy stocking stuffers and taking sugar free deserts to parties, can help limit your sugar intake during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.
Eat At Home
Fast food is likely the most unhealthy part of the American family diet. The average American family eats an average of 4.2 commercially prepared meals per week. In other words, as a nation, we eat out between four and five times a week, on average. The average fast food meal contains over 1000 calories and is loaded with toxins that will negatively impact your immune system.
Avoiding fast food and eating meals prepared at home will have a tremendous impact on your health this winter.
If Your Family Does Get Sick
If you or someone in your family does begin to show signs of illness, you should begin to track the symptoms immediately. This will help you see the duration of the illness and each symptom, which may help your healthcare provider in diagnosis and treatment. Use the free printable form below to do this. I like to make extra copies to have on hand in my family binder.