Although Winter may be synonymous with joy and festivities, it can also be the time of year when we start to feel rundown and more prone to sickness. The change in temperature, our busy social and work schedules and the lack of sunshine can all contribute to a general feeling of exhaustion or even a pesky Winter cold that won’t quite budge. With that in mind, we’ve turned to three women in wellness who we trust to give us some handy tips on how to naturally boost our immune systems when the going gets tough. Chi-San Wan - creative consultant and co-author of A Simple Table: Recipes and Rituals for a Life in Balance - Danielle Copperman - founder of Qnola and author of Well-Being - and Olivia Crighton, our very own founder of Glasshouse Salon, have all joined forces for a mid-winter round table. From nourishing foods and key supplements to small rituals that can help energise and keep us feeling our strongest, these three individuals share what works for them when Winter feels never-ending.
Chi: “So, as the colder months creep upon us, like most people, I tend to crave warmer, more nourishing and grounding foods. In the summer I find that I tend to have yoghurt, seasonal fruit and homemade granola for breakfast with a green smoothie, whereas now I fancy fatty avocado (mixed with lemon, olive oil, chilli flakes, furikake and sprouts) on sourdough toast with a cup of matcha. Instead of drinking cold drinks, I rely on cups of herbal infusions and adaptogenic plant milk lattes to get me through the day when I’m working from home, but if I’m on the go I may fancy an Earl Grey or an oat milk flat white. I’ve also found myself making a version of Jamu Jamu recently to stave off any colds I feel the onset of - just whizzing fresh turmeric and fresh ginger up with some water, then simmering for 20 mins before taking it off the heat and adding raw honey and lime juice to taste.”
Olivia: “In winter I crave more warming, hearty foods like soups and stews. I love to utilise medicinal foods such as garlic, onion, turmeric and ginger for their antimicrobial, prebiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Tradition suggests a more seasonal approach to food, however in recent years I have begun to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into my diet which works well for my constitution. I like to make a conscious effort to keep these more traditionally summer abundant foods in my diet throughout the cooler months. I give special attention to antioxidant and phytochemical rich foods like leafy greens, as well as vitamin and mineral rich fruits such as berries, mangos, and bananas. I use plenty of barley grass juice extract, spirulina and Maca root powders in my smoothies and cooking.”
Danielle: “Naturally, my body craves different kinds of foods this time of year. I never used to pay much attention to it but as I become more aware of locally seasonal foods, it’s super interesting to notice how my preferences adapt. I don’t know if its tradition and comfort as the temperatures drop, but I start to crave more root vegetables, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, spices, curries, soups and broths, as well as tea on tap. So in that sense, I incorporate different ingredients into my diet and cook very different meals.”
Chi: “I don’t really take supplements but in the winter I do get the BetterYou DLux+ Vit D+K2 spray for me and my partner and Marloe has the one for toddlers. She hated it the first few times, but now opens her mouth willingly for a spray every morning before breakfast.”
Olivia: “As much as possible I try to get all my vital nutrition from diet, but there are some things I believe we tend to be commonly deficient in due to our poor soil and water quality as well as common problems with digestive absorption. Personally I like to supplement B12, zinc and magnesium and if I’m feeling especially run down or unwell I add additional zinc and vitamin C. My ultimate flu fighter is the Nature’s Answer Goldenseal and Echinacea with plenty of Vitamin C infused fluids throughout the day.”
Danielle: “I take more supplements (like vitamin D, 5 HTP, multivitamins, omega fish oils, zinc, copper, probiotics - depending on how I’m feeling) at this time of year to support my body’s natural immune response. And I continue to drink lots of liquids - lemon and ginger, water, charcoal in water, spirulina in water, greens powders and more. I think the more antioxidants the better. It’s also useful to know that sometimes, depending on the type of illness (cold/flu or sore throat or headache) will depend on which remedies work for you. Last Christmas my sisters and I were all ill with sore throats (it often happens when we fully surrender and relax and our bodies just shut down!), and we were chugging ginger tea like there was no tomorrow. but it was actually aggravating our throats more. So don’t just follow what you read. Do some research and use more gentle herbs, rituals and rest whenever you feel the onset of any ailment.”
Chi: “As always, I try to fit in meditation every day, dry brushing a few times a week and a bath (if I’m lucky) once a week. There’s something glorious about getting into a bath when you’re chilled to the bones, so baths happen more often when I’m colder. In the winter, I tend to drop the little ‘running’ that I do in the summer, and I opt for more yoga sessions.
I try and slow down during the winter months, saying no to social things is hard for me as I’m a Gemini but I have to honour the Capricorn Moon in me by staying grounded and nourished. This winter I want to make space for myself to practice reiki, batch make grounding meals and share warm cups of nourishing tea with those whose company I cherish. Those are the rituals I look forward to.”
Olivia: “I do tend to get more run down around periods of stress, and try to maintain good sleep patterns. I dabble in a little daily mediation as well as yoga if my schedule permits, however sometimes the burdens of everyday life take their toll. I look to nutrition for extra support - I love the adaptogenic herb Ashwagandha for the nervous system, adrenal support and balancing cortisol levels.”
Danielle: “Rituals I use to elevate my immune system include yoga, movement and pranayama. Pranayama can be really cleansing for the organs and also ensure that breathing is regulated and you’re sending enough oxygen around the body for vital functions. I also find movement is vital in order to keep the body feeling alive and active. I use meditation and pranayama to enhance my energy levels this time of year too, as well as yoga and other exercise. I do tapping and shaking (both rituals from my book, Well Being) in the mornings to encourage circulation, to reduce muscle tension and to warm up the body. Hot baths are great when it gets colder, as they regulate temperature. Better more, use a potent mineral-based bath soak to restore essential vitamins and hydrate. I also turn to massage more in the colder months, as the drop in temperature can lead to aching or tight joints, muscle tension and poor circulation. I have the worst circulation and am a cold person most of the year, so in the winter I get really cold hands and feet and my fingers occasionally go completely numb and lose their colour.”
Chi: “In terms of beauty, I’ve found that the change in weather has dulled my skin so I have been trying raw honey as a mask whilst I bathe. I make my own body / hair oil, so perhaps I use more of that in the winter months and I am still on the quest for a good face moisturiser - I have tried a few! I also need concealer in winter so I whip out my trusty Ilia Concealer when the summer glow has gone and the patchy redness starts showing up.”
Olivia: “My beauty routine is similar throughout the year however I do find the constant use of indoor heating does mean I need a little extra hydration on my face and body. I’ve recently added a drop of hyaluronic acid from Evolve Beauty under my beauty oil. I tend to get more tired and stiff muscles in colder weather so I take a lot of hot baths with large therapeutic doses of epsom salts and/or dead sea-salts. For me the Sans Activator 7 Oil is a must post-bath on slightly damp skin. A couple of drops of lavender and cajuput or eucalyptus in a diffuser helps clear my airways and sets me up for a good night’s rest.”
Danielle: “In terms of beauty, I change up my routine slightly as things like colder weather, heating, wearing layers and more viruses in the air tend to aggravate it. I stick to the same fundamentals mostly, as I find my skin gets confused if I change my products too often - and if your regular products are natural and pure enough, they should have a variety of adaptable properties and functions that can provide for all kinds of situations, skin-types and seasons. But I will stop cleansing my face too much with water-based products (as they are more drying), and I tend to use much gentle exfoliation processes, and much fewer masks (changing to sheet masks which I find more hydrating and moisturising).”
Cover image: Jessica Maccormick for Glasshouse Journal