Dr. Eric Lewis was featured in this January 2013 Laurel of Asheville article.
Story by Michele Bryan
The New Year brings us the opportunity for new beginnings. As the excitement of the holidays winds down, there is more time to focus on you. Fill your winter days with activities that lift your spirits.
This month, I want to share some ideas on how to care for your physical, mental, and emotional self during the winter season and start off the New Year right.
Take cues from Mother Nature. In these slow winter months, spend a moment noticing your eating habits. Did you know that eating lighter and less processed food, such as soups and fresh vegetables, requires less work from your body? While we may not need to hibernate in the winter, getting extra rest does give us a chance to recharge for the upcoming spring.
In northern Europe, saunas have long been utilized to raise body temperature, supporting the immune system and metabolic rate. Exercise does the same thing. Combine these last two ideas and try a hot yoga class!
In speaking with Dr. Eric Lewis (lewisnaturalhealth.com), a local naturopathic physician, I learned that metabolism is about more than just burning calories. The rate of metabolism is determined by how the body utilizes nutrients, creates energy, and balances hormones, among other factors. In addition to increased physical activity, metabolism can be stimulated by healthy sugar intake such as an addition of some local honey to your tea or oatmeal.
If you get a seasonal cold, don’t despair! As it turns out, it may actually good for you. Dr. Lewis introduced me to a new perspective on the common winter cold.
Although unpleasant and inconvenient, he says that the body working through a cold is exercise for the immune system and ultimately strengthens and supports the body. He referenced James Sensenig, a noted naturopathic physician, who said, “There is no cure for the common cold because the common cold is the cure.”
The reduced hours of sunlight each day can be a challenge, however. But there are things you can do to keep elevated spirits during the winter months. The use of light therapy for the treatment and prevention of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has become increasingly popular. Exposure to natural or artificial light raises levels of vitamin D and affects chemicals in the brain associated with mood.
A change in your routine can also stimulate interest and enthusiasm. This could be as simple as exploring a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try or volunteering your time and talents.
Many of these suggestions can be combined to make for a wonderful, even if slower-paced, wintertime. With a new perspective, this season can be a time to revitalize the mind and body.