Here in London, the days are colder, greyer, wetter and windier. These conditions are fully expected at this time of the year.
There’s something about this season that always makes me feel like I’m preparing for a partial hibernation!
Many of us have to work a little harder to stay motivated and maintain wellness during this season, so I follow my seasonal routine and pull out a winter storage box where I stored away most of the extra warm clothing that only gets used for a few months of the year.
These days, my joints and muscles don’t like the cold temperature very much, so I get things ready for the usual challenge of capturing some deep core body warmth.
I start making soups- adding generous amounts of ingredients like garlic, chillis, lemon and ginger; used for centuries to ward off illness and boost the immune system.
I become increasing aware about the effects on my spirit/mood/ frame of mind; living through longer nights and shorter days and as the nights draw in, I begin to feel starved of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D- also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ helps maintain normal blood levels of phosphorus which is another bone-building mineral but is best recognized for its vital role in bone health.
Without it, the body can’t absorb the calcium-, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures and it.
In fact, researchers have discovered that vitamin D is active in many tissues and cells besides bone and controls an enormous number of genes, including some associated with cancers, autoimmune disease and infection. Low D levels may make our immune systems less able to fight off germs & pathogens.
Even though we as humans can only make vitamin D from sun exposure, the list of vital roles it plays in the body still need to be met regardless of any absence of the sun’s rays.
In the UK, for example, sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation from October to early March for our skin to be able to make vitamin D.
I’ve heard people say that our body can make vitamin D while sitting indoors by a sunny window but this isn’t true because (UVB) rays that the body requires to make D cannot get through glass.
For this reason, people with health or mobility challenges and difficulties getting out as a result, are prone to becoming very deficient in vitamin D during winter months and learning the truth about how UVB remains blocked while indoors can make the situation feel more hopeless.
Of course, ensuring that you eat a well-balanced and varied diet, taking vitamin D supplements and incorporating some exercise in your daily routine are all essential to keep your immune system as strong as possible
Is there anything we can do to support ourselves through this challenging season?
Yes, there are a combination of things that help maintain wellness and a healthy system.
Although our body cannot make vitamin D while sitting indoors by a sunny window, it is important to remember that the eyes also play an important part in our wellness because the human eye contains photosensitive cells in its retina, with connections directly to the pituitary gland in the brain. Stimulation of these important cells comes from sunlight, in particular, the blue unseen spectrum.
Taking in fresh air, natural daylight, and just small amounts of sunshine will still have a profound effect on our entire physiology and health-not only in the brain but in the whole body.
So, earlier today as I sat looking out onto the wet road, wind battered trees and grey blanketed view of the sky from the bedroom window, something interesting and powerful was happening to me as I found myself day dreaming.
While daydreaming, I was looking out at a clear blue sky, trees lining the street were in full bloom and instead of the sound of strong wind and rain, the sound of birds singing joyfully was the only thing I could hear.
The technique of recalling a happy moment or memory that’s the opposite of a current experience you are having is another really useful strategy to incorporate at this time because, when the going gets tough, the tough get nostalgic! Never underestimate the impact of happy thoughts.
I’d also like to share another really effective habit I adopted and practice, especially when natural light is limited due to the season.
The first time I became consciously aware of this habit was actually just as the spring season began years ago.
I remember that the winter before this new season had felt a lot longer than usual so that now, when the bright spring moments appeared, I wanted to take full advantage of the light and warmth that accompanied it.
Just as a sunflower leans towards light, I would be drawn towards the brightest room in my house.
As the sun moved round the house, I found myself getting up and moving with it-just to hold onto the daytime rays before they disappeared again for another day.
Now there were a number of reasons why this habit has worked for me ever since and can work for you too.
Well, moving around the space you live in helps create those opportunities to harness natural light and the benefits that come from it. The additional physical activity of relocating your daily activities a few times a day keeps blood and oxygen pumping through the body and is a great way to get additional exercise without a great deal of effort.
And again, if you are someone unable to get out for any number of reasons, then moving around the rooms in your home or even simply using different spaces within the same room shakes off that feeling of being surrounded by stagnant energy, it often feels like a change of scenery and can positively improves how you feel about your immediate surroundings.
Adapting to the global changes that are taking place for all of us, it has become even more important make embrace what is different, so today, start looking at the space you live and work in.
Because there are many simple yet affective solutions to support your health and they can often be found by observing every-day activities, patterns and habits.
After purchasing and using this book for many years to help me, you might like a copy: ‘Staying Healthy with the Seasons’ [Ssu Chi Chien Kang Fa] Elson M. Haas 21st Edition