Bianca's Blog - Sharing my 3 wellbeing actions for the festive season
This time of year is challenging. So little sunlight available, and so many germs flying around. Lots of festive parties to attend, gifts to be bought and wrapped. Extra pulls on our time and attention. Busy.
It makes sense then that we should focus on our wellbeing over the coming weeks. Here are 3 things I'm going to do over the next few weeks to keep my immune system firing on all cylinders, and to stave off the inevitable Christmas anxiety.
1- EVERY DAY, TAKE A BREAK AND GO OUTSIDE TO EXERCISE
Every year I find it hard to adjust to it being dark by 5pm. So I'm going to make sure I get outside during the day to exercise. A walk at lunchtime, a jog, a Pod session, whatever.
Load those bones, gently stretch muscles, refresh the brain and stock up on much-needed Vitamin D from the sun.
Vitamin D forms in our skin in response to sunlight. Importantly, this does not work through a window. You must go outside! Vitamin D has a key role in boosting the immune system, low levels are linked to depression, and without it we cannot absorb calcium (osteoporosis risk). It is difficult to get enough D in the UK in Winter from sunlight alone, so I will also be supplementing.
2- DON'T DO TOO MUCH
Hahaha, If only it were that simple! Every year, I put together overly optimistic lists of all the delicious goodies we're going to cook. Every year something has to drop off the list, and I get annoyed with myself, both for failing and for having set myself up to fail. Why do I do this? Maybe it's my Italian heritage - cooking is sharing and expressing love. Maybe it's some kind of self-imposed notion of duty, a want to please others. It doesn't really matter. What matters is, this year I'm going to give myself a break (I'm not very good at this). There, I've said it 'out loud', so now I'm accountable.
My strategy is this: to accept that I will write an unrealistic list, allow myself to do this, but then, I'm going to take radical action (big intake of breath): I'm going to edit the list. Literally cross things out with a big fat marker pen! That's it. Simples. Interestingly, even just in writing about it now I can already feel the weight lifting from my shoulders! Hopefully it will give me the space just to be present with the family, and to relax (I'm not very good at this either).
3- EAT & DRINK WELL
By this I mean eat smart - consume lots of immune-boosting foods that also keep you well-hydrated. E.G.:
CITRUS FRUITS: packed full of Vitamin C. Vital to eat daily, because our bodies don't store it. Vitamin C is believed to increase the production of white blood cells, key to fighting infections, so don't just top up on citrus after you succumb to a cold.
I'm going to stock up on festive Clementines. I also love a steaming mug of hot water with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and freshly grated GINGER (great anti-inflammatory).
RED PEPPERS: even more super-charged with Vitamin C than citrus, and of course refreshingly full of water!
GARLIC: long-valued for it's infection and Vampire-fighting properties. To reap it's full benefits, garlic needs to be eaten raw or semi-raw. Just make sure you have lots of fresh Parsley to hand. I discovered this recently after eating an unusually garlicky pizza just before going out to a party. We had to make an emergency detour to buy Parsley. I'm glad to be able to confirm that eating a bunch of fresh Parsley, stalks and all, really does work in neutralising the garlic breath! (Thanks to my Papa for that tip, apparently it's the high chlorophyll content).
Garlic is a health must-have for sure, but I wasn't convinced last Saturday night that this outweighs the stress of the smelly breath!! For anyone who's ever felt social anxiety, I would definitely recommend skipping the garlic if you're going out!
So there you have my three top tips for thriving over the next few weeks. I hope they help you to keep well too.