In light of the mini ice age that seems to be coming in across much of the U.S. I'm re-posting this article. I hope this will help you on some of those cold winter days.
Adapting to Cold
If you learn and use the techniques in this article you will become better adapted to the cold weather and your body will be more resistant to stress.
During the coldest season of the year, it is natural to slow down. The bears hibernate, the birds head for warmer climates, even the water stops flowing and becomes ice.
In our busy human lives we often don't do the things in alignment with the natural rhythms. Even when the world around us is telling us to rest, rejuvenate, and go within, we still have responsibilities and commitments to keep.
How can we keep our bodies healthy and still stay active during the colder months of the year?
Scientists have discovered that the more an organism is exposed to a stressful environmental influence, the more adapted to that influence the organism becomes and the less stressed out they get when exposed to that influence in the future.
This process is called the General Adaptation Syndrome, and it is the main factor that causes us to adapt, and adaptation is the driving force of evolution. By learning the techniques in this article you will become more adapted to the cold and you will be fueling your own evolutionary process, so that you can stay healthy all year long.
Here are the Techniques:
- Have fun outdoors: If it's cold out and not too wet, go out and play. Go snowboarding, take a walk, make a snow man with your friends. When you go outside in the cold, your body is exposed to the elements and begins to adapt. Also it has been proven that, even in the winter, spending at least 30 min in the sun will help to keep your mood up, keep you happy, and help prevent you from getting SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
- Use cold water in the shower: I know that on a cold day nothing is more refreshing and relaxing than a nice hot shower, but if you add in a few sessions of cold water into your shower, then you will be strengthening your nervous system. By either alternating hot and cold water in the shower, or at least ending your shower with a few minutes of cold water your body will be much more resistant to the changes in temperature outside. Make sure you end with cold water to close up all of the pores and seal in your body heat, before going on with your day. This is also a very invigorating way to get the day started. I have heard that a great folk remedy to prevent colds and flu infections is to jump in freezing water a few times at the beginning of winter. The alternating of hot and cold water in the shower is a much more gentle way to get similar results.
- Exercise: Stay active in whatever way works best for you. Exercise not only will raise your temperature from the inside, but it will also release endorphins that will help you to stay happy during the darker months.
- Eat a balanced diet and get enough rest: Do your best to make sure that every meal has a good source of protein and limit carbohydrates to the complex kind found in grains and veggies. Eating more root veggies like sweet potatoes, burdock, radishes, and potatoes is recommended during the winter. Also if you tend to get SAD, it's important to make sure that you eat foods that contain vitamin D, such as fish or fish oil, eggs, mushrooms, etc. Proper rest is important all of the time and it is especially important during the winter. If you feel sleepy when it gets dark, go to sleep, and if you have the luxury, at least one day a week, let yourself rise naturally, without setting an alarm.
- Herbs: One of the best, if not the best herbs for adapting to cold weather is the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola Rosea. This herb grows in the coldest regions of the world. These include much of the Arctic, the mountains of Central Asia, the Rocky Mountains, and mountainous parts of Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. In Russia and Scandinavia, Rhodiola Rosea has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. There is a lot of scientific research that tells us that Rhodiola has numerous benefits to health, especially in normalizing the body's functions and reducing the negative effects of stress.
When you take on one or all of these practices you will be helping your body on many levels. By becoming more adaptable to the cold weather, you will also be training your body to handle stressful situations, with ease, throughout the year.
Health To You!