I’m lucky. I live in San Diego, CA where I’ll be spending plenty of time outdoors, even during what experts predict is going to be a “long, dark winter” because of the pandemic.
Or will I be basking in the Golden State’s brilliant sunshine this winter?
As I write this, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsome, has instituted a state-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Also, Newsome has instituted a 14-day at-home quarantine for visitors and residents entering or reentering the state. He has also called on Californians to not fly for non-essential travel.
What’s next? Quite possibly a new stay-at-home lockdown mandate. So if you’re one of my loyal Green Drink customers in Fargo, North Dakota, we might be in the same boat. I might not be able to walk on the beach and you might not be allowed to go ice fishing.
How are any of us supposed to keep our isht together? (Don’t know what ‘isht’ is? Scramble the letters to form another word.)
Granted, when it’s freezing and dark outside, relatively few people are motivated to recreate outside. But considering that some of us may be required via governor mandates to stay at home, this will have a profound psychological effect.
But there’s no need to panic, feel stressed-out and anxious, and race to your local big chain store to hoard toilet paper. Not if you follow my tips to help you not just survive the long, dark winter but thrive. So without further ado….
#1: Morning Mantras
The first thing I want you to do when you wake up in the morning, unless you have to go to the bathroom really bad is recite health-conscious morning mantras.
You can do it with your eyes closed or open, sitting up or laying on your back. Take a few minutes, either reciting out loud or in your head one of the following (or something similar):
- “All the trillions of cells in my body are healthy.”
- “I am healthy.”
- “I am calm, healthy and happy and no external influences invades my energy space.”
If you do yoga then you’re familiar with “Om,” the sacred mantra, which loosely translated means the entirety of the universe and the soul. What’s interesting about chanting is that research shows that humming increases levels of nitric oxide in the cells. Nitric oxide is in each and every one of your tens of trillions of cells, and its purpose is to keep blood vessels open so fresh blood can pump unobstructed to your organs, including the lungs.
So hum away while you’re driving or taking a shower.
#2: Deep Breathing
Before you get out of bed, after reciting a mantra for a few minutes, practice a round or two of deep breathing. Like humming and chanting, deep breathing increases nitric oxide levels and alkalizes the pH of the body. Many diseases are the result of pH being too acidic.
Deep breathing takes a little practice but it’s not that complicated. To begin either breathe in through your nose or pretend you are sipping a drink through a straw. While doing this, expand your belly like a balloon. The inhale should last 4-5 seconds. The key during the inhale is to also expand your lungs. That’s the part that takes practice. Then, exhale by deflating both your lungs and belly. The exhale cycle should also take about 4-5 seconds.
After about 25 breaths or so, your body might start tingling. That’s a good sign. It’s an indication that your tissues are receiving more blood and oxygen. If you start feeling lightheaded, stop.
#3: 3 Mini Yoga Sessions
If you’re stuck at home, keeping your blood pumping can be challenging. Even if you find the motivation to exercise at home for an hour, there’s a good chance for the other 17 hours or so that you’re awake will be spent being sedentary. And that’s a recipe for stagnant blood flow. Instead of doing one long exercise routine, set a timer for 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. When the timer goes off stop what you’re doing and do a 10-minute yoga routine. (Not sure what to do? There are a ton of videos on YouTube that you can follow along to.
#4: Get Fresh Air
Even if there’s a lockdown in your area, you will still be able to get outside to buy essential items. Take that time to do some additional deep breathing. Unless you’re in a polluted area, the oxygen in fresh air has healing qualities. Don’t be stuck in your head, paralyzed with fear while walking into a store. Instead, as soon as you get out of your car and start walking, take deep breaths to steady your nerves.
And if you can spend time outdoors at a park or hiking trail, do it, even if the weather outside is frightful. Remember, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes. Order a ski mask online and use it to protect your nose and cheek bones from the stiff, frigid wind.
#5: Buy a High-Quality Vitamin D Supplement
Research shows an association between developing severe Covid symptoms and having low vitamin D levels. During winter, most of us who live in the U.S. don’t get enough direct UV light from the sun for our bodies to synthesize vitamin D. More than any other nutrient, vitamin D is perhaps most important for supporting a balanced, healthy immune system.
#6: Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady
Sugar is not the devil. Not natural sugars, anyways. Eaten moderately, natural sugars provide your brain and cells with the fuel they need for energy. But most people get too many carbs from starches, which convert into simple sugar.
If you didn’t read my article on resistant starches, do it as soon as you finish reading this. That’s because resistant starches are healthy carbs that you should include in your diet for gut health.
After you finish your morning mantra and deep breathing, start each day with a low-sugar flood of superfood nutrition with a 8 to 16 oz serving of Organic Green Drink. Wait about 30 minutes before you have your first meal of the day.
Make sure you’re eating enough healthy fats at each meal to keep your belly full and happy. Experiment with macro ratios. That means figuring out which proportion of carbs, protein and fat makes you the most satisfied. When you get that dialed in, then you can go 5-6 hours in between your main meals. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady and make your body more sensitive to insulin instead of requiring your pancreas to pump out a ton of it to keep your blood sugar levels down.
(I wish that health officials would stress the importance of blood sugar management for controlling the pandemic rather than putting faith alone in a vaccine.)
#7: Healthy Nighttime Routine
The best medicine is a good night’s sleep. So go to bed by a reasonable time, at the same time every night. Make sure to put your phone in airplane mode and turn off all other electronics well before you close your eyes.
And before you close your eyes, repeat steps #1 and #2. Take a couple minutes to repeat your “I am healthy mantra,” practice a round or two of deep breathing, purse your lips up into a smile and be grateful for the blessings you have in your life.
Before you know it, the long, dark winter will be over and you’ll emerge happier and healthier.