Between scrolling through our socials, banter with the gals and those awkward pre-everyone-jumping-onto-the-zoom-meeting convos, we are having so many chats about how we are surviving this winter. Let’s face it, this winter has been a weird one. Maybe the weirdest one yet, thanks to #isolife. The reality is, we’re creatures of habit and without the normal routine, our minds can go into overdrive. We might be eating, moving and thinking very differently to what we normally would. So, we’ve compiled our top 10 ways to support you in keeping well this winter!
One of the best things you can do to ensure your meeting your nutritional needs (and in turn support a healthy immune system) is increase the amount of variety in your diet. We want to be including the five food groups: fruit, veggies, wholegrains, dairy (or alternatives), meat (or alternatives) and also thinking about ways we can increase the diversity of each food group within each meal. Some quick and easy go-to’s for us are: adding fruit, yoghurt, nuts and seeds to morning porridge; adding grated veggies to Bolognese, or adding lentils and cooked grains to salads! Check out our blog post on all things variety!
2. Vitamin C rich foods
Vitamin C is a well-known nutrient that supports a healthy immune system. Eating a bunch of Vitamin C rich foods each day is likely to get you to your daily needs – some examples are: citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits; berries including strawberries and blackcurrants; and veggies like capsicum, cabbage, spinach and broccoli.
3. Zinc rich foods
Zinc is another important mineral for the healthy development of immune cells in our body. Enjoy those zinc rich foods such as: nuts, seeds, red meat, poultry, beans, whole grains and seafood.
4. Keep up your liquids
We’re here to remind you to hydrate! Ideally with water but that can sometimes be a bore so why not spice your H2O up with some citrus slices, cucumber, mint, some frozen berries or even an herbal tea bag! We may not feel super thirsty during the winter months but being indoors with heating can mean we actually become dehydrated just as easy. So keep that cup topped up!
5. Gut health
Around 70% of our immune system function stems from the gut. So try keeping it well this winter with high fibre and gut-nourishing prebiotic rich foods in your diet. Some foods rich in prebiotics include fruits (nectarines, watermelon, dried dates/figs) veggies (garlic, onion, beetroot, snow peas), nuts (cashews) and legumes (red kidney beans, chickpeas)- com’on, who doesn’t like hummus?!
It’s important now more than ever that we actually listen to our bodies when it comes to sleep. Heightened anxiety and stress during uncertain times may have us needing more sleep than usual. Getting adequate sleep is linked to a myriad of health benefits but it is also linked to supporting a healthy immune system.
7. Exercise (for enjoyment)
Yes, exercise is good for you. However, exercise doesn’t have to be a strict prescription of blood, sweat and tears until it feels like your body parts are going to fall off! We instead would encourage anyone to move their body in ways that they actually enjoy. This enjoyment and feeling ‘good’ self-perpetuates interest in exercise and you’re more likely to stick with it! If your gym/sporting club/fitness centre is shut, there are stacks of online courses and classes that have adapted to providing at home workouts!
Feeling a little neggy about all the news RN. Well, did you know as humans we are wired to think negatively? It’s a genetic trait we didn’t shake from our ancestors were every rustle in a bush was assumed to be a threatening animal (let’s face it, it probably was!). This day and age, we are not fighting other animals (unless you’re Joe Exotic), instead, we’re responding negatively to other ‘threats’ (including the news). But fret no more, there is a way to change this. Science tell us that by documenting 3 things down we are grateful for each day, after 30 days, we can literally start to re-wire the neural pathways in our brain to think more positively!
Being in lockdown or restricted from certain day-to-day activities means we’re possibly on our phones a lot more, scrolling on the old social media. This may very well be bringing up some icky feelings especially when we’re served super toned, super food eating humans with small rigs enjoying the Italian sunshine. It’s easy to fall into a response of comparison or putting ourselves down. Well in this instance we’d like to encourage you to practice self-compassion. It’s the art of giving ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend. It may include acknowledging and trying to understand why we might be talking to ourselves in this way and then attempting to change the internal dialogue to thanking out bodies for everything it does for us day-in-day-out!
And last but not least, also just a generally good human thing to do…
10. WASH YOUR HANDS!!!
If singing the chorus to Beyoncé’s love on top twice isn’t incentive enough to wash your hands for 20 seconds I don’t know what is. Keep your hands out of your face and keep em’ clean people!
Your WIRLy friends,
Alicia & Bree