It's that time of year again, when we spend more time indoors than out , put the heating on and generally are more susceptible to bugs, here is just a few ideas that I use, with my family to stay healthy over the winter months.
As the seasons change, so do our bodies needs. From October onwards my family start eating a lot more honey(no complaints there) usually they have a teaspoon of manuka neat or with camomile tea daily. I start adding more spices to our food; cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I use essential oils such as frankincense, lavender and sandalwood in diffusers and I spray eucalyptus around the house toward of airborne bacteria. All this I do to strengthen our immune systems and keep us as healthy as possible over the challenging winter months.
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, protein, tissues and organs that work together to protect the body and defend it against ‘invaders’ such as bacteria, parasites and fungi. The immune system keeps us healthy and prevents infection.
Our bodies are exceptional and many of us don't give them the care and attention needed to keep them in peak condition. If we forget to exercise, rest properly and don't eat optionally then our immune system is liable to get worn down. However sometimes there is no obvious reason, we eat a nutritious diet, fully hydrate and get outside every day, yet we still,sometimes, get ill. This is when I like to look within and asked myself what other factors may be responsible. Am I present? Am I enjoying my children and remembering to laugh and play with them? Or am I too caught up in the busyness of life? Am I positive and grateful? Is there something playing on my mind?
Sometimes external factors are to blame? Damp houses or lack of sunlight and pollution are possible causes.
We always get outside every day for at least 20 minutes. We go swimming and to a family yoga class once a week. I like to rebound for 10 minutes a day and the kids bounce on their trampoline. Exercise gets all that lymph moving and makes you feel good!
With short, cold days and a tendency towards lethargic living it can be easy to slip into the winter blues. I like to respect the’ in breath’ of winter and slow things down but that doesn't mean we stop moving completely.
As the weather gets colder our food gets warmer, stews and soups using local, seasonal veggies seasoned with spices such as cinnamon, paprika, chilli and Cardamon. I use more onions and garlic.
I make sure we are fully hydrated, my kids love water keifir; its name comes in the Turkish word Keif which means good feeling. It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals.It is loaded with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains.
I try to keep us warm using lots of layers, which can be tricky at times as my children seem to think we live in Spain and are continually stripping off.
I boost our supplements with a quality daily multivitamin and mineral, krill oil and probiotic. I megadose my kids on vitamin c. Sometimes I give Echinacea or maybe Siberian ginseng when a bug seems imminent.
Another supplement,which get a lot of use in our house, is colloidal silver. We use it on cuts and scrapes and infections, externally and internally. Dr Harry Margaret, a biochemist and pioneering silver researcher wrote silver is the best all round germ fighter we have.
Whenever one of us gets painful ears, particularly my eldest son, who is prone to infections, I warm up some olive oil infused with garlic and put a few drops inside the ear. This seems to ease the discomfort and ward off infection.
For chilblains, I massage the area with oil and black pepper.
For coughs I make a turmeric milk made with almond milk, honey, coconut oil,tumeric, cinnamon and ginger. This is such a soothing, comforting drink.
I try to get to sleep between 10 and 11 PM, although I sometimes fall into the habit of staying up late, trying to get things done, once the kids are asleep. In wintertime my body needs rest and I aim for eight hours, the children usually get about 11 hours. Sleep is so important as it allows the bodies and brains to rest and recover.
I try to keep my house a happy, healthy place to be, and for me that means opening some windows every day, sometimes smudging with sage or burning oils such as lavender and tea tree.
When we've moved to a new home in the past or we’ve been away for awhile I get the kids to run in all the rooms shouting and clapping to get that chi moving.
Meditation helps keep me calm and centred and if I wake in the night, helps to get back to sleep. If my kids can't get to sleep, guided meditations are super helpful in getting them to relax and turn off. Sometimes I do a guided immune boosting meditation , which you can find on YouTube.
This is a relatively new practice of mine but the effect, for me, has been tremendous. I write three things, in my journal, each day that I'm grateful for and once a week, at dinner, we have an appreciation circle around the table. It is so uplifting to listen to what my children are grateful for.
Deciding to forgive could be one of the most healthiest choices I've made according to research carried out. Frederick Laskin wrote in his book ‘ forgive the good’ that “ every time you remember someone who did you wrong, you put stress on your body which can contribute to high blood pressure, agitate the nervous system and diminish immune function”.Forgiving helps soothe and allows the body to heal and become healthier. By forgiving,I am taking back the power of my happiness.
Sometimes illness or low energy can be a sign to seek help from outside, maybe a practitioner, acupuncturist or homoeopath. Or perhaps a course of coaching sessions will put you back on the path of optimum health, vitality and energy.
A couple of questions I regularly ask myself.. Does this serve me? What do I need right now? Tuning into and listening to my inner voice, helps keep me in my family happy and healthy.
Morgan found yoga 15 years ago as a way to recover from anorexia. It has carried her through her PhD, raising twin girls and in a move towards her passion she chose to pursue full time yoga teaching in 2012. Since then she has led several yoga retreats, co-owned a yoga studio (Yoga-on-Tay) and helped to develop a 'yoga for amputees' program along with Finding Your Feet (FYF) Charity. When she is not yoga-ing, or parenting Morgan competes for Scotland in ultra distance running and cross country. Morgan believes that yoga is for everyone.