1. Understand Colds & Flu’s Don’t Come from ‘Out There’
Don’t buy into the popular wisdom that just because it’s winter and there’s a bad flu going around the office, that you are going to get sick. Whether you get a cold or flu has far less to do with whether there’s cold or flu viruses around as has to do with whether you are in a state of balance. It’s only when we have compromised immune system that we succumb to colds and flu. If your body is in a state of perfect balance, you could be exposed to 10 times the amount of colds or flu viruses, but not be affected in any negative way. Don’t focus on avoiding the viruses. Focus on being as fit, strong and healthy as you can so you will naturally resist them.
2. Keep Warm – (on the ‘Outside’):
Not just your body. Pay particular attention to keeping your head and neck warm; hats, beanies, scarves… warm sheets on the bed…Flannel PJ’s (purely for the fashion of course!)…dust them off now.
3. Keep Warm – (on the ‘Inside’):
Even more important. Start to change from a summer diet to a winter diet.
i) Spice up in the Kitchen – gradually use more heating spices – fresh ginger, pepper, (little) chili, cinnamon, saffron etc.
ii) Drink ‘Hot/Warm’ water or teas during the day – avoid cold foods & drinks altogether now (okay, one last ice-cream!). More on the evils of drinking cold water
iii) Reduce Cold Salads etc and Favour Warm/Hot Cooked meals
4. Rest More – Get to Bed Earlier:
Autumn/Winter is when animals hibernate. We too should respect the natural seasonal cycles. Start trying to get to bed that little bit earlier and generally going a little more towards home-oriented things rather than outward activity things.
5. Strengthen Your Immunity:
People wrongly think that winter is associated with lowered immunity. That’s only because we eat the wrong foods and fail to observe proper balancing routines specific for winter. In the ancient science of Ayurveda, Autumn/winter is known as the time of year that Mother Nature is supporting us to ‘nurture & nourish’ our body’s so that we strengthen our immune systems.
i) Follow all the points above – they will help strengthen your immunity
ii) Eat heavier, more nourishing/calorie dense foods– Yes, that’s right. Don’t panic anyone trying to control your weight. Our digestive system gets stronger in winter, so that we can better digest heavier food to help build up our tissues and general strength. Don’t be scared to increase foods like fresh cheese, fresh yoghurt /milk, casserole type dishes, nuts, ground vegetables (in moderation and according to your digestive strength).
iii) Reduce ‘old’, leftover or canned foods – they weaken the immune system. Only fresh foods support immunity (organic is even better but don’t stress about this).
iv) Supplement – I generally don’t promote supplements, but a good, more ‘natural’ multivitamin/mineral (e.g. spirulina) can be helpful if you can’t completely follow a good diet or routine. For anyone familiar with Amrit Kalash (shown to be hundreds many times more powerful than Vitamins C & E), now is a great time to start taking it. Otherwise a supplement known as ‘Chyawanprash’ is a pretty good (inexpensive) alternative. This can be purchased from Indian Grocery stores.
6. Ensure your vitamin D levels are optimal:
Low vitamin D levels are closely linked to greater susceptibility to colds and flus. For more information on the critical importance of optimising your vitamin D levels (and its importance)Studies have also shown that installing full spectrum lights in one’s home or workplace/classroom helps to reduce the incidence of colds. Natural, full spectrum lights can be obtained from most lighting stores. They have also been shown to improve academic and work performance.
* Final Note:
Remember, colds/flu’s etc are not fundamentally caused by what’s in the air. Ultimately, it’s due to having a weak immune system that can’t fight the virus off. Although your first priority should be to focus on creating super strong immunity for yourself so that even if everyone in your family/office etc has a cold, you still won’t get it, it will certainly be easier (and more pleasant) for you, if those around you are ‘sniffle-free’ too. So feel free to forward on this article.