Warm Up to Winter
We asked 18 top health and wellness experts to share their all-time favorite ways to combat seasonal ailments, banish the blues, squelch stress and give your energy levels a boost. Heed their advice and you’ll be sure to enjoy the gift of wellness all winter long.
Reclaim your calm Set clear boundaries with your time and energy to minimize the amount of angst this holiday season. If you still find yourself feeling overwhelmed, practice this three-minute (only!) heart meditation to decrease stress hormones and get blissful endorphins flowing: Lightly rest your palm over your heart in the mid-chest. This energy center is the entryway to compassion and spirit. Then, inwardly request to connect with a higher power—whether it’s God, the starlit sky or a beneficent intelligence, whatever stirs you. In your heart area, notice what you intuitively feel, not what you think. As you breathe, exhale pent-up negative emotions—loneliness, worry—and breathe in loving-kindness. Stay aware of your heart as it opens more and more, infusing you with compassion. Then return to your busy day from a sublime and centered space. — Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press)
Do a mini detox If you feel like you’re running on empty, it makes sense to give yourself a little extra nurturing— but don’t confuse self-care with self-indulgence. Whether you have SNACC habits (that’s sugar, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and chemicals) or you tend to indulge in foods like bread, baked goods and pastas, or milk, cheese and ice cream, you may be undermining your health. So, take a short break from potentially reactive foods like wheat and dairy, cut out sweets and simple starches, and avoid the empty calories of junk food. Provide yourself with quality nutrition and supplements rather than constantly jump-starting with caffeine. After a few days or weeks, reintroduce small amounts of the things you’ve cut out and observe how you feel; if possible, you might actually want to take a permanent vacation from some of them. — Elson M. Haas, M.D., integrative physician, founder/director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, Calif. (haashealthonline.com) and author of The Detox Diet (Ten Speed Press)
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is by far our best friend during the winter season, and helps to curb overindulgences. Aim to take in about 10 glasses a day. Have a glass before you take that second cocktail and/or helping, and you will be amazed at how great you feel! — Holly Lucille, N.D., R.N., a naturopathic doctor in West Hollywood, Calif.