Three-Fold Foundation for Fall and Winter Wellness

FallWinterWellness

The last picking of fall’s garden filled the bushel baskets in Grandma’s cellar with bold colors of gold, orange, and green. That “fresh-picked” fragrance from the bushel baskets would just briefly cover the musty smell of the cellar. Our barn boasted hefty hay bales that were ready for the cattle’s winter feedings. My new school wardrobe hung in my closet, ready for the cold season ahead. I felt safe, prepared, and ready because my family had gathered in and stored up for the uncertainty of the coming months. The season of “gathering in and storing up” is especially exciting to me, even today! It has been many years since those childhood days of playing in my grandmother’s cellar, but I can still remember them as if it were yesterday. Those early experiences laid a foundation of inner preparedness that I continue to use today in my personal health and well-being, as well as in my career.

Fall and winter typically aren’t the seasons we think would build or support our health. Sadly, many women (and their families) spend numerous days trying to “cure” a winter cold, the flu, or other seasonal ailments. But even in this harsher season, there are several wonderful natural remedies and resources – given to us by our Heavenly Father – to build, strengthen, and beautify our inner temples. Let’s look at three areas in which we can build a strong foundation of preparedness for super health during fall and winter – diet, exercise, and rest.

Diet: All of these seasonal changes prompt us to adjust our diet. Simplicity best describes the ancient winter diet which, unfortunately, our modern tastes and lifestyles have all but forgotten. A healthy fall/winter diet should include heat-producing, mineral-rich foods which are higher in protein and fat. These substantial foods also help to counteract the drying effects of the colder season. Since winter is the season the body stores fats, proteins, and minerals, this is also the season to eat heavier meat; chicken, turkey, seafood, and red meat in reasonable portions provide you with just what your body needs.

Exercise: Winter may be the season for becoming more introspective, but that does not mean physical fitness should be neglected. Although this should be a quieter, calmer time of the year, the calendar says otherwise. With several holidays occurring in the fall and winter season, it is important to balance our activity and relaxation levels to prevent reaching the “burn-out” point. Recent sports medicine studies show a connection between moderate, consistent exercise and a strong immune system. Researchers believe the physiological changes in the immune system during a routine exercise program may provide long-lasting health benefits. Did you notice the term moderate exercise? We don’t have to engage in lengthy, intense, “no pain, no gain” workouts to reap the rewards of improved health, stamina, and weight maintenance. Indoor exercise (or “work-ins,” as I call them) can be relaxing while giving our muscles a workout. Yoga, Pilates, ballet, and the exercise ball are just a few of the many stretching/strengthening exercises that rev up our heart rate and increase our breathing and oxygen. They also improve our immune system to stay strong, toned, and well during the colder seasons. One of the many perks of living in Colorado is the variety of winter sporting activities. Whether we ski, ice-skate, snow-shoe, or go snowboarding, exercise helps our bodies to stay conditioned and can possibly prevent injuries. Before beginning any exercise program, whether at home or in an exercise facility, please be sure that your health care provider approves. Staying well-hydrated before and after any fitness routine is just as important in this season as it is in warmer seasons.

Rest: Rest completes the third part of the inner-preparedness foundation. If we follow the wisdom of nature’s changing cycles, this part proves to be vitally important to our overall long-term health and wellness. My thesaurus gives several words that more clearly and completely define the word rest: quiet, relaxation, state of inactivity, stillness, and pause are only a few of the many descriptions. Does your daily routine allow time for quiet, relaxation, or stillness? These words describe the fall and winter seasons to me. The sky becomes more subdued. Many animals sleep, hidden away in hibernation. My garden lies dormant (at least on the surface), and the fields await spring’s harvest. God’s outer world takes a rest in order to become restored and brought back to its normal state of growth and fruition in the next season. God wants his beautifully created woman to be restored also. In order for us to live “…all glorious within…” (Psalms 45:13 NKJV), we must establish a firm wellness foundation in this season of gathering in, storing up, and resting. When we use the fall and winter seasons as God designed, our body, mind, and spirit are restored and ready for the abundant life and activity that come with spring and summer.

Are you ready to build your wellness foundation? By focusing on these three areas – diet, exercise, and rest – we can reap great rewards even from small efforts. My prayer for you is that God will embrace you with His nurturing warmth, quiet strength, and indescribable peace during the fall and winter seasons. Stay well!

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