December 21st, marks the first day of winter, even though the chilly temps have already hit most of us, the 21st makes it official. So what does that mean for our bodies and their response?
Many will notice joints stiffening and muscles aching a bit, and vice versa. Moods tend to drop a bit, as well, as less vitamin D is being absorbed from the sun. So we need to be extra mindful of how and when we take the extra steps needed to combat and preempt these shifts. And these changes don't just affect us humans.
Mood disorders and depression see a big bump throughout the winter and many people suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder, as well) so finding our balance isn't just important physically, it's also pertinent mentally. Below are some helpful tips to keep the winter blues and aches at bay, so you can happily enjoy the change in the seasons. And not just from your bed watching Netflix.
Eat Hearty Seasonal Foods
Nourishing your body with healthy, seasonal foods is one of the best ways to combat the woes of winter and keep our moods and bodies running clean. Warm and spicy foods that bring an internal heat, not just to our taste buds, but to our organs, are particularly great for bringing that missing heat back to our health.
Helping your furry best friend enjoy the winter months calls for a similar protocol to our own. Opt for uber-healthy, whole-food and nutrient-dense foods for your four legged friend during the winter months. Allow for lots of pent up energy by having healthy chewies on hand as well. This helps keep your pup mentally, as well as physically, stimulated. Read our blog on balancing the bowl for different temperatures here.
Just like the doctor will tell you to help fight the flu, water is essential in preventing the flu and cold that lingers around every corner. Adequate hydration helps keep your metabolism running smoothly, which in turn, keeps your body temperature up. So remember, 64-84 ounces of water DAILY. Don't skip the water and keep you and your pet's systems moving healthily.
Plenty of Rest
Rest is a must during the shorter days of winter. Your body simply needs more rest to balance the extra energy used in staying warm. On the flip side, getting regular exercise also helps keep the body in tune. Take a brisk hike in the woods with your pup (let them decompress with a great sniff-heavy, roll in the snow walk) and see how rejuvenated both your bodies feel. That need for a nap that hits when you hit the warmth of your cozy home? Listen to it! Find a comfy throw and cozy yourself on the couch with your furries for a snooze. Your body will thank you with upped immunity and overall feeling of calm and concentration.
Reflection on the Day
With the lack of sunshine among us, it can be very easy to err on the side of negative thinking and thoughts. The key is to not letting those thoughts become a habit or pattern. By allowing yourself some time everyday to focus on the day and its happenings, you'll allow yourself to decompress and sustain your emotional balance. Journaling, or even just simple meditation and purposeful thinking can lead to better rest and heightened emotional balance.
This is also another great place to help your pup gain focus and concentration with a snuffle mat or food game to stimulate their brains and enact their instinctual sniffing and scavenging mechanisms.
Acupressure for Warmth
By stimulating the bodies various heat meridians, the ancient art of acupressure helps combat the falling temps and restore balance to our systems. Cold hands and feet, headaches, muscle aches can be alleviated by utilizing a few key acupressure points on the body.
The same goes for our four legged best friends. Poll to Pastern offers comprehensive acupressure for pets (dogs, cats and horses) to help acclimate them to the shift in seasons and help their bodies adjust to the colder temps and shorter days of winter. Learn more about what we offer and how we help now.