Moving into the colder months is a great reminder to slow down, listen to your body and adopt more nurturing, nourishing practices. I like to use winter as a time to create my own at-home health retreat. This means relaxing more, stressing less and taking some down time to really care for myself. Here, I’ve outlined my five-step plan to boost your energy levels this winter.
Step 1: Clean up your diet
Eliminate dairy, red meat, refined sugar and gluten for five days and focus on eating more seasonal fruits and veggies, organic chicken, eggs, beans and legumes. When it comes to cleansing, preparation is key. Set some time aside on a Sunday to prepare healthy bliss balls and muffins to have on hand when your sweet cravings kick in. You might find it useful to plan your week’s meals or make some meals in advance. Also, ensure you’re drinking two litres of water each day to stay hydrated.
Step 2: Embrace warming meals
When that cold chill sets in, your body drops in temperature and craves more warming, cooked foods. I truly believe that we need to slow down and listen to our bodies. Tune into your digestion and ask yourself what you truly want to eat. For example, instead of drinking an icy cold smoothie for breakfast, I prefer to eat warm greens, poached eggs and avocado, and I love having my cacao and peanut butter porridge. When it comes to lunch and dinner, I crave homemade soups, roasted veggies, a healthy stir-fry and cleansing curries.
Step 3: Commit to stress-reducing exercises
To give the body a much-needed rest, prioritise restorative practices such as yoga, Pilates and walks in nature. When I’m cleansing, I try not to overdo it or force my body with high-intensity interval training. While exercise is great for boosting mood, it can become taxing on the body when overdone. If you’re not up for exercising, know that it’s okay to lie down and take it slow for a few days. Being flexible with your routine and releasing the pressure of ‘doing it all’ it a big part of living the healthy life.
Step 4: Get more rest
We all live such busy, connected lives, that prioritising rest, mindfulness and alone time is essential. Every day, I like to enter the JSHealth Stress-Free Zone for 10 to 30 minutes. Try deep belly breathing and putting your legs up against the wall with no phone, no music and no technology. As part of getting more rest, it’s so important to get a solid eights hours’ sleep each night.
Step 5: Make time for self-love
Some things I love to do in ‘me time’ are take a bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils, curl up on the couch with tea and a good book, or simply light some candles and meditate for 10 minutes. From a spiritual point of view, I find it helpful to let go of resentments, to forgive others – and ourselves – and repeat positive affirmations. Saying things such as, ‘I’m grateful for the abundance in my life’ and ‘I’m happy and healthy’ help to connect us with a greater sense of peace and serenity, which is essential for cleansing.
Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, best-selling author and international health blogger. She is also the beloved voice behind JSHealth, advocating a balanced lifestyle through wholefoods.
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Fitness | body+soul