Everyone is sick. Lingering illness, requiring bed rest, weeks of recovery, people generally feeling miserable. Life didn’t used to be this way. We are beginning to assume that winter is a time when we get sick. What’s wrong with this picture?
Most of us know the basics: rehydrate, bring our diet back into balance – and cut out the sugar. If it’s a cold or respiratory distress – cut out the dairy as well. These are important for recovering winter health.
The deeper piece we ignore is that we are wound up tight. All the time. We are a society of doers and goers, fabricating exceptionally busy lives. People are not meant to sustain one mode: go. What we did during the summer doesn’t work in winter. Winter is the time for recovery, rest, hibernation, the time to replenish our reserves of energy. If we fail to step out of ‘go’ mode in winter, our body will do it for us. We’ll get sick.
Tuning in, we feel how wound up we are. How to unwind? Reassign priorities. Hunker down. Take advantage of these long dark nights. Cut out evening TV, computer, and phone use. Get into bed at 8:30. 8:30!? Yup. Climb into bed with a book. Better yet, a good story. Take turns with your partner reading aloud from a book of short stories for 20 minutes. Allow your imagination to roam with the story. It feels even better if you’ve exercised during the day, gotten your blood moving and your body tired. Allow yourself to slowly fall out of ‘go’ mode, let your mind quiet. Listen to soft music. Let yourself unwind, take the extra 20 or 30 minutes to fall asleep. Many people say they wake in the night if they go to bed early. That’s fine – this is what happens as we unwind. Let yourself relax again and slowly go back to sleep. A month or 6 weeks later, you’ll remember what if feels like to be the old you: relaxed and rested, enthusiastic, curious, reconnected with purpose and vigor.