Winter is a time to nourish ourselves and rest, both physically and mentally, says Dr Maria Amasanti from our Islington centre
It’s no accident that the Latin ‘hibernus’ means winter – because this is exactly what we need this season – a hibernation of sorts. We must use this time to rest and recharge so that we can blossom come spring.
It is normal to gain a few pounds over winter because if we follow the seasons, we enjoy an abundance of fruit in the early autumn and hold on to this natural sugar for us to get through the sparse winter. We are also less active in the winter.
It is a time for warming foods – soups, stews, casseroles, and cooked vegetables.
Winter is also a time to start some supplements to maintain a healthy immune system.
As a very basic level, it is worth introducing a good dose of Vitamin C (it is no coincidence that winter is the season of citrus fruits!), Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium, and a little Selenium.
We make Vitamin D from the sun. When we were hunter-gatherers, we were closer to the equator and outdoors all day – so we had a constant supply of Vitamin D. In a UK winter, we are fully dressed and indoors most of the time, hence a supplement is essential.
There is also lot to be said for our previous generations who told us to wrap up in winter. Scarves, hats and layers. In modern days we rely on central heating, but turning the heating down a notch and putting on an extra jumper is good for us.
Although the days are far shorter, it is vital to get outdoor light exposure in the morning. You may say, there is no light, but even on a cloudy, rainy winter day, the outside light is far brighter and better for you than indoor artificial light and it is crucial in setting your sleep pattern.
If you are into the habit of grounding (standing/walking barefoot on the grass or other natural surface) you may find this too difficult during winter. As alternatives, you can simply touch nature around you with your hands. Feel the leaves of a tree as you walk past, put your hands on the grass, and touch the plants.
In the evening, where possible, avoid artificial light. I know this is easier said than done in winter! However, these days, there are lightbulbs and lamps that are readily available and affordable which do not give out blue light (the sort of light from computers and screens which disrupts our circadian rhythm) and produce a more natural, softer light.
Finally, as we spend more time indoors in winter, consider taking up a new gentle indoor activity – anything you fancy from knitting, to journalling to Tai Chi. Anything that sparks joy!
Wishing you a nourishing and healthful winter.