12/18/23 | Wellness

3 Keys to Winter Wellbeing

As winter wraps us in its chilly embrace, it’s time to focus on maintaining our well-being amidst the shorter days and colder nights. At CURED, we believe in embracing each season’s unique challenges and turning them into opportunities for health and vitality. So today, we’ll explore three essential strategies for winter wellness: reducing stress, embracing contrast therapy, and strengthening your immune system. Let’s dive into these keys to thriving during the winter months.

 

winter

Reducing Stress

 

At first glance, most of us envision cozy blankets and dreamy winter landscapes around this time of year. Holiday movies and steaming hot cocoa aside, winter can paradoxically be a season of heightened stress. Shorter days often lead to less sunlight exposure, affecting our mood and energy levels. For many, this time of year is synonymous with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a specific flavor of emotional distress that occurs at a specific time of the year, primarily during winter. The holiday season, while festive and joyous, can also bring its unique set of pressures ranging from financial stress to the challenges of family gatherings.

 

The shorter, darker days of winter can significantly disrupt our body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. This disruption can lead to increased production of stress hormones like cortisol, which, in prolonged exposure, can negatively impact our health, leading to heightened feelings of worry and stress. The cooler weather also means more time spent indoors, which can lead to a sense of cabin fever and contribute to increased stress levels.

 

Natural Stress Reduction Techniques

 

To combat these winter-induced stressors, incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine can be incredibly beneficial. Even a few minutes of mindfulness or deep breathing exercises each day can help manage stress levels and improve mental clarity. Indoor physical activities, such as yoga, Pilates, or even a home-based strength workout, can be great ways to release endorphins and improve your mood. Regular exercise helps in reducing stress while combating the winter blues.

 

Diet also plays a crucial role in how we feel. We aren’t here to stop you from enjoying your seasonal sugar cookies, but mindfully pairing your treats with nutrient-dense options will carry you further than any delectable sugar rush. Consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help stabilize mood and energy levels. You can try incorporating warm, nourishing foods such as soups, stews, and herbal teas into your diet, too. These foods combine comfort and necessary nutrients to help your body cope with stress. For an added boost, prioritizing foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and nuts, will amplify the mood-boosting properties of your meals.

 

As important as managing our internal landscape is for stress reduction, the quality of our external environment is equally important. In fact, your surroundings significantly influence your mental state. Try enhancing your living space to make it a sanctuary of calm and relaxation during the winter months. Let in as much natural light as possible during the day to help combat the effects of reduced sunlight. In the evening, create a cozy atmosphere with warm lighting, comfortable blankets, and perhaps a fire in the fireplace if you have one.

 

Incorporating elements of nature indoors, such as houseplants or natural wood, can also create a more serene environment. Aromatherapy can be another effective way to reduce stress; scents like lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood are known for their calming properties. Playing soft, soothing music or the sounds of nature can further enhance the sense of tranquility in your home. The bottom line? Think about turning your home into a stress-reducing sanctuary. 

 

Contrast Therapy

 

It may seem counterintuitive, but embracing the cold during these winter months can be surprisingly beneficial – especially when paired with warmth in a practice known as contrast therapy. This technique, which involves alternating between hot and cold temperatures, can invigorate the body, improve circulation, and aid in recovery. It’s a method steeped in tradition and backed by modern science, offering a unique approach to wellbeing during the colder months.

 

At its core, contrast therapy is about exposing the body to varying temperatures to stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems. This practice has roots in various cultural wellness traditions, from Scandinavian saunas followed by snow dives to Japanese onsen baths juxtaposed with cold showers. The principle is to create a ‘thermal shock’, which can invigorate and rejuvenate the body at a deep cellular level.

 

The immediate benefit of contrast therapy is the feeling of wide-eyed, bushy-tailed energy, but the benefits extend far beneath the surface. Alternating between hot and cold temperatures boosts blood flow, which can help in flushing out toxins and reducing muscle soreness. It’s particularly beneficial for those who engage in regular physical activity, as it aids in muscle recovery and reduces cellular stress.

 

Regular practice of contrast therapy can also strengthen the immune system. The sudden change in temperature can stimulate leukocytes, the white blood cells responsible for fighting off infections. This boost in immune response can be especially valuable in winter, when our bodies are more susceptible to colds and flu.

 

Additionally, contrast therapy can have a positive impact on mental well-being. The practice is surprisingly energizing, helping to combat the winter blues, reduce brain fog, and increase alertness. If you’re familiar with dipping into a cold plunge, then you’re also well aware of the surge in resilience, grit, and mental fortitude. This practice actively expands your body’s stress tolerance and trains your mind to adapt to challenging situations.

 

Practical Applications

 

Integrating contrast therapy into your daily routine can be simpler than you might think. One of the most accessible methods is a contrast shower. Begin with a comfortable warm temperature, then gradually switch to cold for about 30 seconds to a minute, and switch back to warm. Repeat this cycle several times. The key is to listen to your body and adjust the duration and intensity of the temperature changes according to your comfort level and tolerance.

 

For those looking for a more intense experience, visiting a sauna or steam room, followed by a brief cold shower or even a dip in a cold pool, can provide a more pronounced effect. It’s important to ensure you’re well-hydrated and to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any intense contrast therapy practice, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

 

While contrast therapy can be beneficial for many, it’s not suitable for everyone. Those with cardiovascular issues, pregnant women, or individuals with certain health conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before attempting contrast therapy. It’s crucial to always listen to your body and avoid pushing beyond your comfort zone.

 

Strengthening Immunity

 

In the thick of blustery, winter months, our immune system often needs to work overtime. The colder weather, coupled with more time spent indoors, can challenge our body’s natural defenses. Strengthening our immunity becomes a priority, and there are several ways we can bolster our body’s ability to fight off illnesses during these months.

 

The winter season is often associated with an increase in colds and flu. This uptick is partly due to the fact that viruses thrive in colder, less humid environments and we are spending more time indoors in close proximity to others. The lack of sufficient sunlight during winter can also lead to Vitamin D deficiency, which is crucial for immune function. Our immune system relies on Vitamin D to help detect and destroy pathogens, making it essential to maintain adequate levels during the colder months.

 

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Key Nutrients for Winter Wellbeing

 

Nutrition plays a vital role in supporting a healthy immune system. Vitamins C and D, along with minerals like Zinc, are essential for immune function. Vitamin C, found abundantly in citrus fruits and leafy greens, is a powerful antioxidant that helps in the production of white blood cells, vital for fighting infections. Zinc, present in nuts, seeds, and legumes, is crucial for immune cell development and communication and plays a role in acute cellular responses.

 

In addition to these, other immune-supporting foods include garlic, known for its infection-fighting capabilities; ginger, which has antioxidative properties; and turmeric, with its active compound curcumin that helps in boosting immune function. Incorporating a variety of these foods into your diet can help keep your immune system strong.

 

While a balanced diet is key to maintaining good health, supplements can play a supportive role when our immune system needs a little extra help. This is where Aura, our specially formulated immunity supplement, comes in. Aura combines essential vitamins, minerals, and natural adaptogens for unrivaled immune-boosting benefits. We understand the importance of a well-rounded approach to immunity. That’s why we advocate for incorporating a mix of these powerful elements into your daily routine.

 

There’s no need to sweat over mixing the perfect (and most effective) batch of ingredients; we did that for you. Aura includes ingredients like Zinc, Vitamin D3, Turmeric Root Extract with Piperine, Ginger Root Extract, DGL Licorice Root Powder, Oregon Grape Root, and functional mushrooms to bolster your immune defenses during the winter months.

 

In addition to diet and supplements, functional, lifestyle practices (like those we shared above) can contribute to a strong immune system. Regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and contrast therapy are all ways to bolster a robust and effective immune response. 

 

Winter wellbeing is about embracing the season’s challenges and transforming them into opportunities for health and vitality. By managing stress, practicing contrast therapy, and strengthening your immune system, you can enjoy the winter months with energy and resilience. Remember, Aura is here to support you on this journey, providing the extra boost your body needs to thrive in the colder weather.

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