When it comes to Autumn and Winter; colds, flu and feeling rather ‘bleugh’ can be all too common. Other than getting the right nutrients, enough rest, and seeking advice when needed, there isn’t a whole lot of information on how else we can prevent ourselves from feeling unwell.
It may come as a surprise, but maintaining health and happiness in the darker, colder times of year doesn’t necessarily need to be controlled through chemicals, pills or an other sort of unnatural intervention. As Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and many other ancient health systems have showed over thousands of years, our health really is in our own hands….
Re-Set Your Body Clock
Our Circadian Rhythms are dictated by our body clock, something that lies deep inside the brain, and is affected primarily by how much light we are exposed to, and the times of day we choose to eat.
Blue light waves are the type which ‘tell us’ it’s day time; time to get up and become active. This type of light is also the type that can be a powerful tool for preventing Seasonal Annual Depression, and boosting energy and mood levels. Modern medicine has even caught on to how important it is that we get enough sunlight, and whilst spending 90% of our time indoors has meant we don’t get that optimal amount, Government Health recommendations now advise us to take regular doses of Vitamin D – especially in the Winter.
Get your fix of daylight by waking up in the mornings and stepping outside. Even if it’s not a particularly sunny day, the natural light is a very effective way to boost the amount of blue light needed for the body to ‘switch on’.
- Obtain healthy doses of this vital nutrient by consuming a little more:
- Mushrooms (these ca be foraged for at this time of year if you know where to look!)
- Fortified nut milks
- Tofu fortified with vitamin D
- Fatty fish like tuna and mackerel
- If you find it difficult to obtain vitamin D through diet and sunshine alone, consider
taking a high quality supplement and ensure you’re spending some time outside in natural daylight each day.
With cold weather setting in, it’s even more important to boost circulation throughout all the limbs. Simple ways to do this include body brushing or self-massage in the mornings, and by lifting onto your tip toes at least 10 times in the mornings – try this whilst you’re brushing your teeth!
The best oil to practice self-massage with during Autumn is pure sesame oil, as it’s warming and grounding. Be sure to buy pure oil – not the kind you’d use in a stir fry!
Marma points and acupressure points are quite closely related, and can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the body when used correctly. By massaging and pressing into these points, certain areas and organs of the body are stimulated.
The Autumn and Winter are times when the lungs tend to ‘close off’; respiratory illnesses are more prevalent, and poor circulation can cause the hands and feet to become cold and numb.
Gently press or massage these points each morning to stimulate different parts of the body:
Centre of the palm of the hand: In both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is a place closely related to the heart. Lungs and overall circulation. Massage this point with a firm, circular movement for a few minutes at the beginning of the day, and if you’re a practitioner, before you work with a client.
Apalapa: This marma point is located on the chest, and is a great way to ‘un lock’ stiff shoulders in the Autumn and Winter. Measure two finger widths down and two finger widths laterally from your collarbones, and massage this place with a firm, circular movement for approximately five minutes.
Thymus Thump: Tapping the sternum is said to have incredible natural, healing benefits. Beneath the chest bone lies the thymus gland, responsible partly for our immune health, mood, energy and longevity. Tapping this place firmly but gently and rhythmically for about a minute whilst breathing calmly can be a fantastic way to maintain your wellbeing and quickly boost your mood.