Winter Wellness

By Ngawahine Thomson

Winter is coming, and now is a great time to think about ways to keep yourself well during the colder months. As the chill sets in, our bodies are adjusting to not only physical changes but mental and social changes as well. The days are getting shorter, and it’s destroying whatever sleep schedule we might’ve already had. The gloomy weather will have a lot of us feeling down and lacking the energy to get out and about. By taking care of all aspects of our Whare Tapa Whā, winter might turn into a restful reset.   

Our natural circadian rhythm is altered with the days getting shorter, but we don’t typically follow it and instead keep our normal sleep and wake times. When the sun goes down, melatonin is naturally produced to get us ready for bed, and this can leave us feeling tired and sluggish earlier in the day. Smash out your goals during the day and let your body rest in the evenings.  

Take the time to actively relax this winter. Have a cup of your favourite tea and read a good book. Take advantage of the app ‘Balance’ and their free year subscription that is available for the rest of 2021, and engage in mindfulness activities like meditation. My personal favourite way to relax is a nice hot bath. If you don’t have a bath, borrow your mum’s or your best mate’s and give your muscles a chance to decompress.  

Summer and the start of the university year create a lot of opportunities to lead a busy social life. In the thick of winter, no one really wants to be getting out of the house if it’s not necessary, but it’s a good chance to invite friends over for a lowkey potluck and winter catch up. Social interaction benefits our overall hauora and allows chances to check in with your friends and let each other know how things are going.  

Most importantly, listen to your tinana and give it the nourishment it deserves – whether that be through eating good food to sustain your body or spending some time outside to breathe in the crisp winter air. Drink plenty of water and moisturise often to help your skin fight the dreaded winter dryness. Your body will show you what it needs, so pay attention and fulfil those needs.  

Look after yourselves this winter, e hoa mā. Our bodies and minds need the time to rest and recover through a chilly winter. Mā te wā!