Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Family Winter Wellness

We are in the thick of it...that dreaded time of the year when most people are sick with something and we all do our best to avoid joining them if we can.  Last year I wrote a piece for Pagan Pages about family winter wellness and I wanted to re-post some of it here with a few additions that I have discovered over the past year.  Feel free to add any tips in the comments that you use with your family to stay healthy (since we can all use all the help we can get!)

The dark phase of the year often brings with it lower immune systems and colds and flus.    I  have become more aware of preventing illness and remembering these tips I’ve assembled is helpful even though they can be hard to put in to practice at times.  Of course if we do get ill we know that it is a message from our body that slowing down and resting is in order. And speaking of rest...

Getting enough sleep is always important but since this is the darker time of the year it seems to be a better time to make that happen for yourself and your kids.   Let your evenings be as calm as possible.  If you can’t make every evening relaxing try and do it at least once a week.  Use candles or dim lighting to keep everyone more introspective.  Have some herbal tea for dessert and read together.  Have blankets on hand for getting cozy under and make sure that bedrooms are refuge-like for everyone.  

Wash those Hands
I know this one is about as basic as you can get but I am constantly amazed by how many people do not wash their hands properly.  The best way to prevent the spreading of illnesses is by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with regular soap and water.  Many parents have hand sanitizer and wipes in case a sink is not an option before snacks when you are out and about.   You can help encourage your children to wash their hands by making it as fun as possible.  Soaps in fun shapes, colourful towels, and stools to help everyone reach the sink are really helpful.  Singing while washing always helps with my little one.  It will also help you to remember how long they need to wash.  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is our favourite standby for hand washing.

Eat immunity boosting foods
Remember to include immune system boosting foods like garlic and ginger in your family’s diet.   We love hummus which  has a healthy dose of garlic, this hot drink recipe looks great (although I would lessen the sugar replacing it with honey or maple syrup and just sweeten to taste)  broths are also great for health; chicken, beef or fish bones boiled down with water.   You can find a recipe here.  Also Mothering has a wonderful article about helping children with the flu that has stuck with me.  So much valuable information!

Colour Therapy
Grey days are hard for everyone but children can have a harder time communicating a feeling of sadness or moodiness that may be brought on by a lack of sunlight exposure.  One way to help that is to have sunny colours around your home for them to feed off of.  A bright wall hanging, throw pillows, making colourful art together and dressing them in sunny coloured clothing for daytime can all help with this often silent problem.

Skin Care
Staying hydrated is key in cold weather just like in the summertime.  Heaters and indoor re-circulated air dry out the skin.  Try using a gentle soap for your young one’s skin and use it sparingly in only the body creases or very dirty areas.  Otherwise use moisturizers and drink lots of fluids to try and keep your skin from drying out or cracking.  Also remember to use sunscreen if out on very bright days with lots of sun reflection.

Fresh Air
Fresh air is good for us and so is natural light.  There may not be much natural light to spare but it is a good practice to get out as much as you can.  The air indoors is never as good for your lungs as that from a brisk walk or an afternoon of outdoor fun.  Opening the windows for even a few minutes can help circulate the stale indoor air.   Light helps keep the winter blues at bay and makes your system function with the natural rhythms of the earth.

1 comment:

Adrie said...

Thanks for the tips - love the idea about the fun soaps.