How to Beat Winter & Emerge Rejuvenated
Winter is a beautiful season, in a bleak and desolate sort of way. The silhouettes of leafless trees line the horizon. The light takes on a soft, gilded quality and sometimes the hills are washed white with snow. Winter is poetic in its landscapes. However, it’s not ideal for our health.
How Winter Affects Our Health
For starters winter can cause SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Although a convenient acronym, this isn’t the same as “feeling sad” because it’s chilly and summer is over.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depression which sets in due to decreased daylight hours. This affects our body clocks and serotonin levels. The result is a flattening of emotions, chronic tiredness, and a general malaise. Even those of us that don’t suffer from SAD may feel more lethargic and have a lower mood in winter.
Winter is lip salve season. Humidity is low and it’s windy. These combined dry our skin out brilliantly. One minute we’ve glossy, strawberry lips and the next, puckered walnuts. Whatever you do, resist the urge to lick your lips (it makes it worse!).
Like the rest of the animal kingdom, when the dark of winter draws in, we have a primeval urge to hibernate. Whilst we’re big enough and mean enough to not need a hole in ground, we still tend to change our behaviour. This is noticeable in our diets. Really, we’re primitive creatures, and with the falling temperature comes a subconscious craving for comfort food (calorific foods), i.e. energy— to keep us warm.
This does not help if you’re on a diet plan.
Winter Proofing Your Body & Mind
If we understand that winter has physiological and psychological effects on us, we can prepare for it. First things first, it’s time to protect your skin against the elements.
Protecting Your Skin in Winter
When it’s cold and dry outside, the water in your skin evaporates quickly. This is what causes chapped skin, most commonly on our lips. We also turn on our central heating in winter, this has similar effects.
So, how to protect it?
Firstly, try turning your thermostat down a bit. Whilst being toasty is lovely, it’s not necessary for us to be so warm. So long as we’re not cold, that’s enough. Even a moderate drop in temperature will help your skin retain its moisture.
Did you know that hot showers can dry your skin out too? Water isn’t to blame. It’s the heat, plus our excessive use of soaps, shower gels, and shampoos. These create an emulsion with the oils in our skin, stripping them away. The easy thing to do is turn down the temperature of your shower and switch to milder shower products.
Finally, moisturise. You may do this already which is brilliant, but in winter you should up your game. It’s wise to take some around with you, particularly for those elemental winter walks.
Bonus: buy a selection of lip salves and place one in various winter garments, because a single lip salve ends up in that place odd socks go. Wherever that is.
Keep Your Blood Flowing
As our body temperature drops, we go into survival mode. Our blood vessels constrict, and blood is rerouted to our vital organs. This narrowing of vessels is useful for heat conservation but leaves our hands and feet cold.
Two ways to combat reduced winter circulation—
Exercise! Of all the seasons, winter is when we feel like exercising the least. However, an after-work jog might alleviate the issue of bedtime ice feet. It’s a proven way of getting your heart pumping and blood flowing.
Massages. Not only are massages blissful and stress relieving, they also stimulate blood flow. At Lake Country House we have some lovely massages for you to try.
Boosting Your Immune System
Winter colds and sniffles are inevitable, but you do have some control over the severity and likelihood of becoming ill in winter. You must boost your immune system. It’s no use quaffing oranges once you feel a throaty tickle. This is pre-emptive.
How to boost your immune system—
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet
• Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C
• Remember to get early nights and proper sleep
• Stay warm, though not too warm
If you treat your body well during winter, it should repay the favour. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, if you don’t look after your health, you’ll become ill. Winter makes this outcome more likely.
Banishing the Winter Blues
If you feel significantly depressed during the winter months, then you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Like other depressive disorders this is best treated with professional help and possibly medication.
If you find yourself more lethargic and gloomier than usual, this is quite common. The lack of vitamin D from sunlight and coldness puts us in a seasonal stasis. Our bodies and minds power down.
There are, however, ways to combat the winter blues. The first is with sunlight. Yes, there’s fewer hours to enjoy—but we can make the most of them. The issue is, we don’t soak up what sunlight there is, because we’re happier staying inside when it’s cold out. Sunlight is the primary way our bodies synthesise vitamin D—which helps in the creation of mood boosting chemicals.
Even getting outside a little more during winter can have noticeably positive effects on our mood.
Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods, including—
• Oily fish
• Egg yolks
• Red meat
It’s also available in supplement form and in fortified foods.
If you’re eating a varied and colourful diet you should have no problems getting the vitamins and minerals you need in wintertime.
You Deserve Some Winter Spa Care
Cleansing saunas, warm oil massages, and rejuvenating spa treatments. Winter is the perfect time, for you time.
At The Lake Country House in the beautiful, undulating countryside of Mid Wales we offer respite from the everyday. Here you can give your mind, body, and soul the care it deserves.
Emerge from winter feeling the best you’ve ever felt.