The first snow of winter is fun for most of us. We dream of making snowmen, skiing, sledding, etc. However, the joys of winter get old fast, the older I get. Flus and colds, dry skin, static flyaway hair, the lack of energy… Many people are already down in the dumps after more than three years of dealing with COVID, and all the changes that COVID has made in our lives. Like – not seeing some of the people that we used to see regularly, not being able to get in to see our doctor without a several week or month wait, stores not having the things we used to purchase all the time, not to mention changing Thanksgiving or other holiday celebration plans because someone in the family has tested positive!
Ned and I love hiking, and since we live in the Berkshires, trails are plentiful. We also like to snowshoe and Ned likes to ride his fat tire bike on the trails. This is how we keep fit in winter! And outdoor activities like these are good for our body, mind, and spirit.
Recently, however, it has been difficult to get out to do any of our favorite outdoor activities; My body has not cooperated. I’ve had several physical changes this year – cataract surgery, hip injury and recovery, and long COVID. Having so many weeks of inactivity in such a short amount of time has been frustrating. It feels like it’s taking me forever to recover and I need my outdoor activity fix!
The temptation of turning to comfort holiday food and, perhaps another glass of wine is hard to resist. But I know this is not the time to stop taking care of my body and mind.
So, I’m attempting to take care of myself with immune boosting, healthy cold weather drinks, and planning more time for self-care. As a good friend of mine often says, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”
If you enjoy being toasty and cozy, while sipping a lovely warm drink, here’s one that tastes delicious, doesn’t contain alcohol, AND helps boost our immunity to fight off those winter colds and flu.
Chai tea tastes more like dessert than a lovely drink that is healthy for us, yet it contains potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that fight inflammation. In fact, black, green, white, and oolong tea contain the amino acid theanine, which brings on mental calmness, which, in turn, helps fight stress. Often, stress is the cause of a weakened immune system. My personal favorite chai is hot cinnamon spice by Harney and Sons Tea company. It’s so delicious it doesn’t need honey, but if you want, you can add a tiny bit to yours. Chai is made up of black tea, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, and ginger. I love it, but if you’d rather hot chocolate, try that instead! Dark chocolate also contains powerful antioxidants and tastes delicious!
We can also pay more attention to the daily micro moments that happen all around us: laughing at a funny story a friend tells you, reading a fabulous plot twist from your favorite author, opening the shades in the morning to see a fabulous pink sky, watching a fox walk past my home and through my side yard on his daily quest for food, hearing a baby laughing in the grocery store, and the list goes on. My mantra these days is “Present Moment, Kathi!” I use these moments to take a few deep breaths, feel calmer, release more endorphins, and fight off those stress hormones.
Putting on the music and dancing is another thing that works for me! Dancing is an aerobic activity that also makes us smile. Good for our hearts – in many ways.
This cold weather will be here for a few months, so rather than let it beat us down, let’s do our best to take care of ourselves and enjoy all the little moments in life that can be cherished.
Here’s a piece of music that I find I MUST get up and dance to! It’s “Drum Sex.”
Best of Health,