Today is the final day of an official summer month. The thought of September brings images of back to school, cooler days and nights, fall sweaters and trees starting to change.
Although I like to take things one day at a time, occasionally I’ll look ahead to prepare for things to come, like the fall/winter season. Here’s some healthy little things to dust off in preparation for the cooler months.
HEALTHY TIPS FOR FALL & WINTER PREPARATION
1) Ginger Tea
This warming tea is a great way to support body temperatures when the outdoor temperature starts to drop. Also, ginger is a great immune supportive herb. Ginger tea is a well indicated drink if one is coming down with a cold or fever. It helps to stimulate the body’s own internal thermostat, in addition to the immune system. I drink ginger tea almost daily during the winter with a little bit of raw unpasteurized honey. Delish.
2) A Thermos
To bring my Ginger Tea to work, of course! I usually trade in my water bottle for the Thermos during cool months. Herbal tea hydrate the body like water does, but it also can have added benefit (like the Ginger Tea) and is tastier than water! 🙂
3) Layered Clothing, Scarves, Hats & Gloves
Not only is it a great fashion transition from wearing light clothing in the summer, but layering clothes in the cooler months can help protect our bodies from being affected by the cold.
In September, and sometimes in October, some warm days can still pop up coupled with cool mornings and evenings. Layering helps to ensure we are insulated during the brisker times of the day and then gives us the flexibility to take a layer off if the sun is shining. Scarves protect the neck and keep body heat in, as do Hats and Gloves for their respective body parts.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a great reverence for something called “Wei Qi.” This is the defence energy of the body that is regarded like a layer just at our surface, like a shield. When it is compromised, often the injuring factor being wind and cold, the body can be left exposed and more susceptible to catching a cold.
Certainly, microorganisms have a roll to play in developing the cold or flu, but keeping our body as strong as possible by keeping body heat in can help protect the immune system and our “Wei Qi.”
3) Change of Season Soup
This is truly food as medicine. The Change of Season Soup is consumed at the start of Fall and Spring, when temperatures change the most dramatically. Traditional Chinese Herbs are added to a regular chicken or vegetable soup stock. The herbs are safe for people of all ages and do not interact with medication. Rather, these gentle herbs can be cooked into the soup broth and taken like food to help support the immune system.
4) Ricola or other natural honey based lozenge
It’s always good to have a package of these on hand. If I develop a cough, these are often really helpful in soothing an irritated throat.
5) Neti Pot
Some people use the Neti Pot all year round. They feel it keeps their sinuses clear and prevents colds. Also, some people use the Neti Pot during allergy season (start of summer & end of summer).
If the Neti Pot is retired for the summer, it’s a great thing to pull back out for the fall/winter. Doing a Neti rinse once a week with a little saline (weak salt water) solution can help to prevent colds or sinusitis. Also, at the first and earliest sign of a cold or sinusitis, starting a daily Neti rinse can help reduce symptoms or shorten the duration of an infection.
6) Keep Up Nutrition
This is a given all year round, however we are headed into many festive occasions that can derail our best nutrition plans. Focusing on the great variety of fall vegetables will hopefully keep us on track!
7) Keep Up Exercise
Exercise can help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder. Plus it can keep our bodies moving, muscles strong and circulation flowing during these months that we tend to spend less time outdoors. Also, exercise during the cooler months can help keep our respiratory tract strong, which can protect us from colds and flus. Finally, it can help boost energy when the dreary days leave us dragging.
8) Spend Time Outdoors
Even if the temperatures drop, it’s still important to get sun exposure during the fall and winter. By just spending 10 minutes outdoors every day during the cooler months can help with the body’s natural Vitamin D creation. Also, the fresh air and sun can help combat Seasonal Affective disorder. Even on an overcast day, UV rays from the sun come through the clouds, providing us with natural light even though we don’t see the clear blue sky.
The best way to spend time outdoors during the winter months is to dress for the weather, dress warmly and get outside doing something you find enjoyable. Perhaps its taking a short brisk walk or taking up a winter sport like skiing or skating on an outdoor rink at a local park.
9) Stock Up on Winter Vitamins and Remedies
I have some favourite cold and flu remedies that I like to keep on hand. A winter cold can start up and progress quickly, and often it’s best treated when its caught early and prevented from progressing into a deeper issue.
Many people like to take extra Vitamin C, Vitamin D or other nutrients to help support their systems during the cooler months. This is a good time to get back on track with supplementation.
10) Visit your licensed Naturopathic Doctor
If there is specific health issues that one struggles with in the fall or winter, it’s always best to get an individualized treatment plan. There are so many safe, effective and natural options that can help people feel their best during this time and NDs can give a helping hand when this guidance is needed. T