11 January 2021 at 16:43
January can be hard going, even at the best of times. The festivities are over, the days are short and it feels like a long haul until Spring.
This year feels tougher than usual and any resolutions to get fitter and healthier may have already fallen by the wayside. But looking after ourselves needn’t involve radical changes; it is often the small, simple steps that reap the best rewards over the longer term.
So as we hunker down for a challenging Winter ahead, we can focus on sorting out the basics; laying down the foundations to keep our physical and emotional health in check. Here are some top tips to get you started:
It can be tempting to stay indoors when it’s cold and grey outside, but getting out each day for a burst of strenuous exercise can bring a host of benefits. As well as improving mood and reducing stress, physical exercise also plays a part in maintaining a healthy immune system.1
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy mind and body. It boosts immunity, allows cells to repair and regulates blood sugar. It also gives busy minds a chance to recharge, making it easier to cope with stress and balancing emotions. Give yourself the best chance of decent sleep by establishing some calming bedtime rules – avoid caffeine, minimise the use of electronic devices and introduce some relaxing rituals that start an hour or so before you aim to drift off. For more tips on how to improve your sleep, visit remedies to help with insomnia.
What we eat plays a central role in staying well, physically and mentally. So get stuck in to plates of delicious, seasonal foods with plenty of leafy green veg for extra nutritional goodness and immune boosting properties. More info about how to eat well in Winter.
There will be times when we do succumb to winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throats and flu. Many people turn to homeopathy to help relieve symptoms naturally. Here are seven useful remedies to help us through the darkest months:
This is the go-to remedy for the earliest stages of an infection, especially when symptoms have come on suddenly after exposure to the cold. There may be a high fever, flushed face and restlessness or anxiety. Aconite is good for coughs that are dry and croupy, which may be accompanied by hoarseness and a dry throat. Symptoms tend to feel better from fresh air and cold drinks. Aconite is also the number one remedy for sudden and intense fear and panic, there may even be a fear of death.
This remedy can offer relief when there is a deep, rattling, mucusy cough with difficult expectoration and shortness of breath. Someone who will benefit from Antim Tart will probably feel weak and drowsy, and may find they need to sit up in order to cough. Symptoms are worse at night.
Arsenicum can help relieve a range of respiratory issues such as coughs, colds and sore throats. Symptoms often include a burning sensation, constricted airways and difficulty breathing. There is weakness and exhaustion, yet the patient will still be restless and anxious and may even pace about. They will be chilly and shivery with symptoms worsening around midnight. The Arsenicum patient has a tendency to worry about health issues in general and fears about impending disease will result in the need for company and lots of reassurance.
Think of Bryonia when there is a strong theme of dryness across the symptoms – dry cough, dry lips, dry mouth and a great thirst. Symptoms are worse for movement and coughing can be so painful that the patient needs to hold their chest or head. Even deep breaths, eating and talking can aggravate. Headaches are also a key symptom for this remedy, often with a bursting sensation around the forehead or behind the eyes.
This is a good remedy for flu symptoms, especially when there is aching deep inside the bones, almost as if the limbs have been broken. High fever alternates with the chills, but despite this, cold drinks (or even ice cream!) are desired. There may be great restlessness as the patient constantly tries to get comfortable, but motion does not help.
This can help relieve classic flu symptoms when the patient is dull, heavy and weak with droopy eyes and fatigue. The fever causes chills to run up and down the spine and there may be trembling and shaking of the body. Headaches tend to be seated at the back of the head and heat or pressure may be felt in the face and nose too. The Gelsemium patient will want to lie down to rest as any physical activity makes them feel worse.
Often indicated in respiratory complaints, Phosphorous can be helpful when there is an exhausting and persistent dry cough that is worse in the evening or at night. There may be pain and hoarseness in the larynx and throat, and the mucus may be blood-streaked. The Phosphorous headache is bursting and immense fatigue and weakness is also likely. Phosphorous patients are often anxious and seek reassurance. They are chilly but want cold drinks.
Please follow NHS advice if you experience any symptoms of Covid-19 and seek medical help if concerned.
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