Are you ready for winter? Look around and you'll see nature preparing for the cold months. Squirrels are gathering nuts. Leaves are falling off of trees. Birds are flying south. How do we prepare for winter? We no longer have to salt our pork or can an entire season's worth of veggies in order to make it through the winter like the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder did. Modern conveniences make those practices obsolete. Yet, we do prepare for winter in other ways.

As I'm getting into the fall and winter mindset, I think of cozy, relaxing, indoor family activities such as board games and movies. However, when I consider the full picture, I remember cold feet, dry skin, colds, flus and the emotional effects of less sunlight. So, how can we prepare for the inevitability of winter?

  1. For starters, boost your immune system. Some of you have taken a break from Echinacea this summer. Now is the time to start taking it again. Take one per day. If you are around a sick person, take two a day. If you start to feel achy, fatigued or develop a sore throat, call me. These symptoms only last 24-28 hours before progressing into a full-blown cold or flu.
  2. Eat warm foods - fall and winter is the time for soups and stews. Our bodies like them, and they help us digest our food most efficiently. Leave the ice cream in the freezer for warmer days.
  3. Add warming spices - garlic boosts your immunity; ginger and cumin assist in digestion and warm your body. Add any of these to your foods as often as possible.
  4. Drink warming beverages - coffee and black tea are warming by nature - our bodies prefer these in the cold months. Icy beverages are best in the summertime.
  5. Get exposure to sunlight (includes sun lamp) 20 minutes per day - even if it's only on your face.
  6. Check your mood. On a daily basis, ask yourself, "how do I feel today?" If the answer is somewhere along the lines of "blah," "blue," "unsure," "not happy," then you may need to address that so it doesn't turn into a more definitive sadness, or depression. Acupuncture and herbs can be extremely helpful.

In the meantime, enjoy the sound of the crickets and the smell of falling leaves.

Be well!

Rebecca Abbott, C.Ac. Dipl. OM, M.S.O.M.

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