There is no better time to slow down and unwind than now when the days are getting shorter and colder. (At least on the Northern Hemisphere.) Naturally, we spend more time at home, crave comfort food and something to cheer ourselves up when we don't really see the sun for days or even weeks. Letting the body settle into a new, winter routine helps to slow down and enjoy this time of the year. It's also a perfect time to create new habits, which will be easier to take with us once spring arrives.
I listed a few of my favourite unwinding methods and I explain why are they really beneficial for your health:
Take a magnesium salt bath
I love hot baths in winter, it's a brilliant way to get your body relaxed after a long commute and a stressful day in the office. It feels like a real indulgence and even if you don't have a tub, you can heat up water and pour it into a bucket so you can put your feet in the water while you read a book or listen to music. Magnesium is an essential mineral and among many other of its benefits, it plays an important role in blood pressure regulation, energy production, nervous system health and muscle contraction. If your levels are suboptimal it can take its toll on your sleep, your mood and your bowel movement as well. Thankfully it can be absorbed and utilised through a bath as well, so you won't need to take another supplement.
Be aware that the bath can have a very strong effect and you might feel very sleepy straight afterwards. Best to make your bed and brush your teeth beforehand.
Most of us who work with a computer a lot or use our phones to play or text on it, get a fair exposure of blue light. Once it gets darker and the body would like to follow its natural circadian rhythm this type of light can be very disturbing. The blue light sends alerting signals to the brain and delays melatonin production, which is also known as the sleep hormone, hence it often gets extremely difficult to fall asleep. It's important to create a sleep hygiene and pay attention to try and stop using any electronic devices an hour prior bedtime. Ideally, we should switch the computer and gadgets off and keep them outside the bedroom. Turning off the wifi is also a good idea. If for any reason you need to keep looking at the screen, download a Bluelight filter app, such as f.lux so your screen will turn darker at night.
Going back to reading magazines and real books or God forbid talking to our family / flatmates / cat / conscience can be slightly strange at the beginning but once we happily fall asleep in the middle of a conversation, we can blame it on the nutritionist feel much more alert and relaxed the next day.
Making sure the bedroom is completely dark is also a good way to ensure a good night sleep. If this is not feasible, you can always wear an eye mask.
Some of you might like to meditate first thing in the morning, some might find it relaxing to do it before going to bed. Meditation became a buzz word and without going into spiritual depths, it can be practised simply as a mind easing and relaxing exercise. It helps the mind to unwind and look at the daily issues and worries from a distance. It's not about stopping to think, it's more an acknowledgement of your thoughts and letting them passing by without judgement. In the beginning, you might find it easier to follow a guided meditation, like Headspace or Insight Timer.
In my next blog post, I will write about nourishing food options for the autumn/winter season.