It’s the weekend before Halloween, the clocks are going back on Sunday and here in Sussex Bonfire season is well under way!
We love the beautiful changing leaves, endless excuses for cosy nights by the fire and all the festivities that await us over the next few months. However, we’re not so keen on the short dark days, S.A.D and the seemingly inescapable cold and flu viruses that come along with them!
So we thought we’d treat ourselves and you to some important immune boosting, self-care and wellness tips to keep us all happy and healthy throughout the coming season!
Look After Your Gut
Gut health is the key to a strong immune system, as it is where 80% of your immune cells are located. Including a good quality probiotic into your daily diet can help to keep your gut populated with the good bacteria you need to maintain immune health! Fermented foods are also amazing for your gut and overall wellbeing. For our vegans this could be, Miso, Tempeh, Kombucha, Kimchi or Sauerkraut. Or if you also like to include dairy in your diet Raw and Organic Dairy products such as Kefir, Yogurt or Buttermilk can also be great options.
Get Some Rest
It’s natural to feel a little like hibernating as the evenings get darker. So, you’ll be happy to know that taking to your bed and enjoying a good rest is an essential part of maintaining your mental and physical health, especially during the winter months! Establishing a regular sleep routine can help to boost your energy, reduce stress and speed up healing. Studies have found that sleep deprivation can in fact increase inflammation and weaken the immune system. Aim to get around 7-8 hours of restful sleep a night.
Get Your Vitamins
Just as vitamins are integral to the health of your teeth they are also of course essential to your immune system. As with the health of our mouths, two of the most important to preventing sickness and infection are Vitamins D and C, Zinc also plays an important role. It is always best to get your vitamins through a balanced and varied diet, however, supplements can be a great way to give yourself a boost over the colder months.
Other foods which are as good for your immune system as they are for you teeth are Bone Broth and Mushrooms. As you will have read in our Tooth Healthy Diet Tips both can be a great source of vitamins, calcium and fats which are essential to tooth nourishment. The good news is these also boost our immune systems. The natural gelatin, collagen and amino acids of bone broth improve our gut health whilst the powerful anti-viral and anti-cancer properties of mushrooms such as Shitake protect us from illness.
Get Some Light
Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD) is estimated by the NHS to effect as many as 1 in 15 people in the UK from September to April. The disorder is not yet fully understood but is a form of seasonal depression. It is believed to be linked to a lack of exposure to direct sunlight over the winter months. This is thought to increase our Melatonin levels, causing us to feel lethargic, whilst decreasing our Serotonin, the hormone responsible for our mood. For severe cases it’s important to seek medical treatment for depression. However, if the short days have got you feeling glum; exercise, time outside in the sun and the use of a therapy light can help to lift the SAD funk.
Exercise has a huge impact on our mental as well as physical wellbeing. Although finding the motivation can be hard when the temperature and light is low, taking even a few minutes a day to increase your heart rate is proven to boost your mood as well as your body’s ability to fight infection.
Stretch it out
Yoga is a great self-care exercise, especially for those days you’re feeling a little delicate. Choose between energetic flow to boost your heart rate and sweat out a few toxins or a gentle meditative practise to restore balance and calm. Take some time to check in with your body and mind and give yourself what you need.
Unplug and Breath
Stress management is key to self-care and maintaining wellness. It’s important to let ourselves switch off sometimes figuratively and literally. Set aside some time for yourself, disconnect from technology and focus on being quiet and still. Practising meditation and controlled breathing techniques for a few minutes a day, or even once a week can help to lower stress levels and manage anxiety.
Last but by no means least, cut yourself some slack! It’s getting cold and soon there will be mulled wine, parties and delicious treats everywhere. Let yourself enjoy them all in moderation!