How is the colder weather affecting you? According to the 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic tradition, what we need most at this time of year is warmth and nourishment; regularity and routine; rest and relaxation. Ayurveda’s holistic philosophy draws from an understanding of our inherent relationship with nature’s laws and rhythms. The self-care remedies and preventive measures of Ayurveda provide a guide for living in balance with the particular qualities of each season.
- To reduce or avoid congestion, treat yourself to a soothing tea, using fresh or ground spices: 2 parts ginger, 3 parts cinnamon, and a pinch of cardamom. Steep in hot water for 10–15 minutes. When the tea has cooled down, add a little raw honey.
- Keep the sinuses clear, clean, and lubricated. Clear your sinuses using lukewarm water, sea salt, and a neti pot. For a natural antiseptic and antibacterial treatment, add 5 to 10 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and treat yourself to a 5-minute facial steam. Lubricate your nasal passages by applying an Ayurvedic blended herbal nasya oil or organic sesame oil.
- Protect your head and neck from cold and wind. Honor your health and the season and wrap yourself in your favorite hat and scarf when you go out into the winter weather.
- Maintain a moderately moist indoor environment. Enjoy healthy, moist, and conditioned air in your home. Using a humidifier can remove bacteria, dust, and allergens from the air; prevent dry skin and lips and respiratory problems; and contribute to a better functioning immune system. Adding eucalyptus and or lavender essential oils to the humidifier can clear the air of lingering pathogens and provide an aromatherapeutic experience.
- Limit dairy products when congestion is present. Dairy can produce mucus, so it’s best to avoid when congestion occurs.
- Support your immune system. Whole, fresh, clean foods, as well as limiting your intake of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods help cultivate a healthy and strong immune system. Resting well is also important, and Ayurvedic tradition suggests going to bed between 10 and 11 pm to allow the body to cleanse, heal, and balance during the body’s natural time of self-repair.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking room temperature, warm, and hot water throughout the day is suggested for optimum digestion. It’s especially important to remember this tip while traveling, since travel can sometimes take its toll on your digestive system.
- Take the Ayurvedic preventative herb Amalaki. Amalaki fruit powder is high in natural antioxidants, is believed to have the most concentrated source of vitamin C in the plant kingdom, and is in a form that makes it easy for the body to assimilate. It is also known to have rejuvenative and revitalizing properties. Recommended: 1 teaspoon, or 2 tablets, with warm water before bed.