As the Christmas carols start to take over the radio, and the lights on the houses start to shine, our happy Christmas cheer can sometimes be replaced with an unhappy, sluggish thyroid.
At one point, I referred to my thyroid as the Grinch. I am a huge holiday fan, I love the lights and the music and the decorations. I love the cheesy hallmark movies, warm coffee and warm socks. I love the hustle and bustle of the shopping malls and the joy on children’s faces as they anxiously await the arrival of Santa Claus. My thyroid, however, has never been much of a fan of the holidays. In fact, even those with a healthy thyroid may start to experience the effects of subclinical hypothyroidism at this time of the year. According to Everyday Health, people with subclinical hypothyroidism often revert back to normal TSH levels as the warmer months approach (Warner, 2014). I know for me, November through February happen to be the hardest months on my health. I often feel the impact of depression, more anxiety than I am used to, low immunity, unstable emotions, chronic fatigue, higher levels of stress and intense sugar cravings. I tend to experience more brain fog, swelling of the joints and weight gain during these cold, bitter months, as well.
I have good news. You don’t have to feel this way. There are several things you can do starting right now to ensure your holidays are filled with joy and excitement, instead of fear and sickness. Below are five ways you can take extra care of your thyroid health this winter.
1. Getting Adequate Amounts of Vitamin D
Vitamin D levels are often severely depleted in the cold, darker months of the year. This vitamin is necessary for combatting fatigue, depression and anxiety. It’s my favourite vitamin for getting me out of my winter rut. For those who get their vitamin levels tested, taking the proper amount of vitamin D is essential as you may need more or less than your neighbor. For those of you who don’t get those levels tested, finding a potent vitamin D and taking 1 to 3 (1000IU each drop) per day can help immensely. I suggest the brands, Lorna Vanderhaeghe and Pure Encapsulations. I personally like the liquid form because there are no fillers! This is a vitamin that everyone can benefit from, whether you have a history of poor thyroid health or not.
2. Get Moving
The most helpful health hack in my opinion is movement. The longer I stay inside my house the worse I start to feel. Lazy days can be good for the soul once in a while, but the truth is your body needs to move and stretch. It needs fresh air and social activity to thrive in these winter months. Even if movement means walking to the mail box or parking the car in a further parking spot than you are used to. Sometimes even just getting dressed and putting on some face cream can make a world of difference. Movement is essential for proper blood circulation and even for building immunity. Whether this means picking up a pair of hand weights or taking the stairs at work, movement can help you out of those winter blues and is essential for quality thyroid health.
3. Diffuse Essential Oil Remedies
Find essential oil blends that are pure, therapeutic and organic. Oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and citrus are great for combatting fatigue and general exhaustion. They help to revitalize the body and send signals to the brain to stay focused and awake. Blend them in a diffuser or use them on your skin with a carrier oil such as grapeseed or coconut. Oils such as eucalyptus and tea tree help build the immune system and kill off infections as well. Aromatherapy is an awesome way to pull you out of the winter rut and kick start your thyroid.
4. Build Your Immune System
In general, we need strong immune systems to fight off viruses and disease in the body. The winter can be especially tough on our immune systems which can make you sick, tired and depressed as well. I can feel everyone around me getting sick, lately. If you deal with autoimmunity you have to work that much harder to avoid the germs floating amongst us. In addition to vitamin D, supplementing with Zinc, Elderberry and Echinacea are great ways to build the immune system and prevent colds, flus and respiratory infections. Before you turn to pharmaceuticals and vaccinations, try preventing infection with more natural alternatives. Please note, however, that if you do find yourself with a respiratory infection and are advised to take antibiotics, please do so to prevent further illness.
Finally, if the above suggestions are not enough,
5. Get Your Labs Checked
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to beat the blues we don’t always succeed on our own. Though I always advocate for natural healing and medicine alternatives, there is no shame in visiting the doctor. Your thyroid levels could have changed as science suggests the cold weather can do. Increasing your thyroid dose for the winter may help you to better adapt to the changing seasons. Continue to use the above techniques to support the functioning of the thyroid gland and the general well-being of our bodies.
I advocate for the prevention of illness and dis-ease in the body. I always suggest using natural medicine and holistic healing practices to prevent the body from sickness. Do not wait until you find yourself with a scratchy throat and an anxious tummy to start these healing techniques. Everything that has happened in your life has led you to this moment.
Thank you for reading,