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With the Indian winter well underway, here are some tried and tested winter health tips for women to feel active and upbeat!
Chilly weather, bonfires with a smoky, woody fragrance, the mothballed smell of woolens, warm hearty meals – my favourite season winter is here! This year, the mercury has plummeted more than usual and I am loving every bit of it.
There is nothing like snuggling in a blanket on a chilly winter morning, taking brisk walks, enjoying the fresh crisp air and curling up on the sofa with a hot mug of hot chocolate. Winter brings with it all these luxuries and delights.
However, the long cold winter months also bring along chapped lips, dry skin, a runny rose, a sore throat and so on. When the sunlight is reduced it can make you feel dull and gloomy and even the best of us can feel the ‘winter blues’ and experience mild depression, mood swings, a lack of motivation and low energy.
However, by taking adequate protection, you can keep yourself and your family healthy and happy. Here are my simple solutions to keep the winter blues and bugs at bay.
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And now for those tried and tested winter health tips!
What you eat not only strengthens your immunity but it can affect your overall mood and energy. Have more seasonal fruit and vegetables (one does not need exotic ones) – cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, tomato, guavas, papayas, sweet lime, oranges, tomato, amlas (gooseberry) and lemon are all loaded with vitamin C which fights off infections.
Garlic in its raw form is excellent for colds and a sore throat. I have always been prone to sore throats – having a garlic clove everyday works wonders (chop it finely and place it at the back of your tongue and swallow it to minimize odour). Dry fruit like dates, nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dried chickpeas (chana) with jaggery, keep your body warm in the cold weather. Herbal supplements such as Chyavanprash and Dasamoola Rasayan improve your body’s immunity too.
It is very tempting to sleep in during winter, but one needs to set aside some time for yoga as yogasanas will help keep you warm and prevent aches and stiffness in joints. Regular yoga helps strengthen immunity and keep bacteria at bay.
You can start your day with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar. Also, include Sukshma Vyayam, which can prevent rigidity in joints, which is a common occurrence in winter, particularly among the elderly. Practicing pranayamas (breathing exercises) helps clear congestion, which is common during winter and boosts immunity.
It is important to have sufficient water not just to flush out toxins but also to keep your body and skin hydrated in this dry weather. Having lukewarm water all day helps clears congestion and relieves a sore throat. Ginger tea, warm milk with a pinch of turmeric before bedtime, gauti tea(lemongrass tea) and kadha (medicinal herbal tea) are proven home remedies which provide relief for congestion, sore throat and sniffles.
When it is cold outside, one may have the tendency to close doors and windows. While this can make us feel cozy, what you need to remember is, a closed room has a very poor circulation of fresh air and there can be a million microbes in a constantly closed room. Let in some sunlight and allow its UV rays to disinfect the room. Similarly sun your mattresses, razais and woolens, which tend to attract dust mites and be hazardous for people suffering from allergies and asthma.
Make sure you get your daily dose of vitamin D by engaging in some outdoor activity like a brisk walk, gardening or simply by basking and gazing at the early morning sunlight.This not just helps build immunity and strengthens bones but most importantly, sunlight can help you avoid winter depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Serotonin levels increase when you are exposed to bright light and tend to elevate your mood. Even a daily 10-minute meditation can help you relax and is an instant mood changer. Having a good massage with mustard oil and then sunning yourself is very soothing and beneficial for dry skin and hair.
Choose to wear warm bright colours this season, to keep you jolly and upbeat. Winter also gives you an opportunity to flaunt your fashionable winter wardrobe like shawls, bright mufflers, trendy monkey caps, boots and coats.
If the murky weather gets you down, do not underestimate the power of your friends. Something as simple as a phone call or a chat over coffee can cheer you up and brighten your mood and day.
Winter is the best time to travel, as the weather is pleasant in most parts of the country. These holidays will give you a well- deserved break, help you rejuvenate and keep you peppy. If you have never seen the snow and wish to enjoy heavy snowfall or engage in snow sports like skiing or ice-skating, here is your chance to go on a vacation to one of the winter resorts in North India.
What are your best winter health tips? How do you stay well and positive in winter? Do share with me!
Winter with hot chocolate pic via Shutterstock
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