As winter doesn’t feel like it’s quite on it’s way out yet, I thought I would share my tips on staying warm and healthy in the cold season of coughs and runny noses. (Happy Valentine’s Day!)
Do you hate being cold? I do. And I’m not a fan of getting colds either. When I was a kid, I could go outdoors in winter in my t-shirt and not be bothered by the cold. With the advent of central heating, that changed. I am now getting a little hardier again though. Towards the end of last year I was in a different country almost every week, and taking care of my health and immune system felt like the most important thing. If I’m sick, it’s harder to do my job. Many factors are involved in creating a healthy, optimal immune system. Getting sufficient vitamins (more on that in a future email), exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are great places to start.*
The biggest game changer though is healthy boundaries: knowing that you matter and that taking care of yourself matters. The busier I got, the more I made it a priority to put in place the simple things that keep me well and happy. Here’s what I’ve found really helpful:
Intense ginger shots. I like Moju. They come in little 60ml bottles (perfect handbag/pocket size). You can also purchase a big “dosing” bottle of juice, decant it into a smaller bottle and then carry that with you. (Cafe Nero and Planet Organic sell reusable dosing bottles). Pret a Manger sells a milder version. Some people like to knock their shot back in one. I prefer to gently sip mine throughout the day, which gives me lots of energy and keeps me alert.
Hot shots of ginger, lemon and turmeric are great for the immune system and may help ward off colds. If you have a good juicer, you could also try juicing ginger and adding lemon juice and a touch of apple juice for sweetness. It’s really intense, but so good for you!
2. Magic potion
If you get sick, try this magic potion: blend ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper, lemon and honey and then add hot water. Yuck! Yum!
3.Staying cosy at night
Hot water bottles are great for staying warm and saving the planet! Studies have shown that it’s healthier to sleep in a cooler room, and it’s also healthy for the planet not to have the heating too high. A lovely hot water bottle may be just the solution!
4.The right clothing
A really warm, cosy winter jacket to keep you nice and toasty. I bought mine from Zara. It was reasonably priced and feels like wearing a duvet!
I hate being cold but I love being outdoors. They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes and I couldn’t agree more! Finding ways to cover any exposed bits of skin really helps keep me warm. I have gloves from Kate Spade which are fingerless (so I can still use my phone) and have fold-over mittens so my fingers stay warm. My favourite winter hat covers my ears. I also love long-sleeved tops with holes for my thumbs, so they don’t leave a gap for cold air. So good for keeping my wrists warm when I’m cycling!
As Marion Toth, my favourite trainer, says, “summer bodies are built in winter”. For me, this goes beyond the superficial. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we should stop exercising. Moving your body will help keep you warm even when you’re not moving by building muscle and potentially help you build your immune system. The stronger I am, the easier I find it to travel around the world and be useful without getting tired and run down. So wrap up in your cosiest clothes and get out for a walk or head to the gym (layers are your friend!).
I hope these tips help you stay warm and healthy during the last weeks of winter. If you have any of your own ideas to share, I’d love to hear them!
* Other advice from The Harvard Medical School Guide to Colds and Flus includes not smoking, eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, controlling your stress levels and blood pressure, drinking alcohol in moderation and washing your hands regularly.