Winter. It’s the season where lurgies seem strike us on rotation, sapping our energy, making us miserable.
But is it possible to be prepared, to have our shield up to deflect the germs that come flying at you direct from your toddler’s mouth?
Mindfulness coach Amy Taylor Kabbaz and clinical nutritionist Emma Sutherland have joined forces to give you the best battle plan for staying well this winter.
Getting ready for a good night’s sleep
Notice this isn’t telling you how to get a good night’s sleep, but how to lay the best path to a good night’s sleep. As parents and carers of small children, we know that sleep itself is out of our hands. Still, every skillful warrior makes the most of what rest they get.
- Try to eat at least three hours before you go to bed to allow your food to digest before you put your head on the pillow.
- When cooking try using spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and a bit of chilli to keep up your inner warmth.
- Invest in a slow cooker; they’ll make your evenings easier! Some of Emma’s favourite recipes to cook in the slow cooker are lentil shepherd’s pie and pea and ham soup. Check out more of Emma’s recipes.
- If you want something sweeter later in the night she recommends having some stewed pear in vanilla essence.
- Just before bed try warm milk with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of raw cacao power, as it helps to relax your body.
Listen to Emma and Amy on Kinderling Conversation:
- While we all tend to keep the same bedtime around the year, we should allow the seasons to dictate our pace. That is, go to bed earlier and slow down! “Treat your evenings in winter little meditation retreats, like little nourishing, pampering nighttime rituals. So hopefully the kids go to bed on time, and then turn down the lights, put on an extra layer, warm up a tea or a soup or something and go to bed and read a good book,” Amy says.
- Allow at least 30 minutes to get ready for bed.
- To settle your brain try lying on your back with your legs up the wall (a technique used in many yoga classes). If that doesn’t work try visualizing unplugging yourself from all the different parts of your life (work, errands, children, partner).
Starting the day well
Winter mornings = groan. Long groans, normally emitted in between hitting the alarm to go back to sleep. It’s dark, it’s cold, and you have to initiate a strategy of battle-like proportions to just get out of the house. So how do we start the day well?
- Get a heater with a timer that can warm up your room for when you wake up.
- Leave a cup of tea waiting by the kettle the night before.
- Make a good porridge for breakfast or some healthy homemade baked beans; take a look at all of Emma’s recipes here.
Listen to these tips on Kinderling Conversation:
- Decide what sets your day up well. If having some quiet time before the whole house wakes up (and needs you) commit to getting up early.
- If your kids are early birds, try sneaking in an extra blanket around 5am, and they may sleep longer.
- Put your earphones in and have some time and space to do what you have to do.
- When it’s ‘go time’ to get to school or day care, make sure you’re self-aware. When it works out well, try to figure out what supports the flow (Did you go to bed early? Did you eat breakfast?) That way you can work out your personal combination for a good morning.
Keeping your energy up during the day
Now you know how to get your rest, and how to start the day- how do you charge through the day like you’re an Amazonian princess with god-like powers?
- When we’re cold we crave comfort food (carbohydrates) but that won’t sustain your energy, so be prepared. Don’t resort to reactive eating (grabbing whatever’s easy).
- Make up a batch of chicken and noodle soup for lunch (link to Emma’s recipes is here.)
- A good snack is apple slices with nut butter and drinking peppermint tea throughout the day is helpful.
For more information, listen to Amy and Emma on Kinderling:
- Winter can make you feel housebound when the weather is terrible. Make sure you have backup plans for when you’re stuck inside. Get everyone to make a list of 10 things that you can do on the weekend that’s under $20 - then you have a master list of things to do when you’re at a loose end.
- Be careful of your mindset. Don’t predict that the day will be bad because the weather is bad. Notice the fun things that come along with winter.
- Give yourself pockets of peace, moments to yourself throughout the day. Give your child 30 minutes in front of the TV where you can to take the time to read a book or do something for yourself.
Follow all of these steps, my friends, and you’ll battle the winter bugs like a boss.
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