Health

Winter Wellness Guide

20 ways to fight colds and flu, beat the blues, stay energized, and cope with other seasonal health challenges.

Winter Wellness Guide
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Rub your feet to sleep.
If you're prone to insomnia, get your sweetie to rub jojoba oil onto the soles of your feet, then put on a pair of cozy socks you don't mind ruining and rest with a water bottle on your abdomen until you check out. Invest in a soft, cozy designer cover for your hot-water bottle, and throw out your electric blanket. --Scott Blossom, O.M.D., yoga instructor and Ayurveda practitioner

Plant a winter herb garden.
Try indoor winter gardening with full-spectrum lamps and light bulbs. Gardening is meditative and connects us to the earth. It can really make a difference in our mood, especially at a time when we tend toward psychological hibernation. You can grow your own St. John's wort, or rosemary for its antioxidants, or sleep-enhancing herbs like valerian and hops. The seeds are widely available, and you can plant them in a box that can be transported outside once spring arrives.
--Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., associate professor of family medicine at University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine and author of Coyote Medicine

Stop winter dryness.
Vaginal dryness is an issue for menopausal women and can be more of a problem during the holidays, when increased alcohol consumption leads to dehydration. I find that Earth's Botanical Harvest vaginal suppositories [available by prescription] work wonderfully; they contain vitamin E, black cohosh, and wild yam, and are very nourishing, safe, and healing to the vaginal tissue. Use them four to five nights a week for two weeks, then every other night for one week, and then two nights a week.
--Holly Lucille, N.D., naturopathic doctor and author of Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman's Guide to Safe, Natural Hormone Health

Move your body.
In the winter, when it gets dark out at 4 p.m., it's harder to motivate yourself to go outside and exercise. Make a pact with a friend that you'll take a walk every day. A winter walk, even at night, can be rejuvenating and wonderful. Make it your reward to come home to a nice fire.
Winter is also the time when many new dance classes start up. Sign up for a tango or a salsa class--or just dance around your house for fun. It's festive, and it can help lighten your mood and provide a good opportunity for socializing.
--Christiane Northrup, M.D., Natural Health advisor and author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom