Somehow it always seems worse being ill in winter. It doesn't help that everybody else gets ill as well and you end up catching things from others for weeks at the office. Being confined to your home because of the cold weather can make you go stir-crazy after just two days of bed rest. The best decision you can make is to avoid getting ill – and it is really your decision.
Few people have enough immunity to keep the seasonal flu away, but a couple of daily habits can help reduce your chances of coming down with it. Exercising is the first of them. Winter is the time of least physical activity and many people use the excuse of the cold weather to stay at home and treat themselves to large meals. The holidays exacerbate this tendency and your dietary habits quickly spiral out of control, which compromises the good work of the immune system.
As long as you keep up your basic fitness, though, you can emerge from the winter with your waistline and your health intact. You don't need to take up snowboarding to accomplish that – regular walks in the park can do the trick. Use the opportunity to escape the stuffy warmth of the indoors, where germs and bacteria find ample encouragement. Make sure to air the rooms you use every day.
Your bad habits undermine your ability to cope with illness, so this is a good time to quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake. Your lungs are especially vulnerable in winter, while alcohol can add more toxins to your body than it can deal with. If you are a social smoker or drinker, the holidays are a minefield of opportunities to relapse. Stand firm by your decision and don't let others goad you into overindulging. Instead, set a limit on the number of cigarettes or drinks you will allow yourself and promise yourself an extra present as a reward.
Junk food has no place in your menu, even if you crave it. There are too much saturated fat, refined sugar and artificial additives in it. When you have a yearning for something tasty – which the body automatically translates as rich in fat – add avocado to your salad. Its monosaturated fat keeps the stomach happy and the potassium contained in it improves the nerve function.
It's crucial to stick to a healthy diet during the cold season in order to keep your body supplied with vitamins C, A and D. Everybody knows about the role oranges play in preventing colds, but you can also get your daily dose of vitamin C from carrots, tomatoes and lemons. Introduce liver into your meals at least twice a week, especially pork, beef and fish, and you will boost your immune system and add antioxidant protection, thanks to the vitamin A. The sunshine, your usual supplier of vitamin D, may be lacking in winter, but you can still eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna to prevent bone problems. Take the chance of sunshine whenever you can get it, though – it keeps your mood buoyant.
If you find yourself reluctant to trust the vegetables and fruit in Bulgarian markets because organic food is notoriously difficult to find, it becomes mission impossible in winter, when the produce is imported from countries like Turkey, Chile or Brazil. While a certain amount of fresh food is necessary at any season, you can get the necessary microelements from dietary supplements at a dosage tailored to your daily needs. Thanks to a specially developed manufacturing procedure, the Depot tablets of Doppleherz act like nutrient storage and gradually release the valuable nutrients over many hours. This way they are always available for the body with just one Doppleherz Aktiv tablet per day. This multivitamin product is a prize winner – it won the award "Food Supplement of the Year 2010" of the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union.
High spirits can sometimes make the difference between staying healthy and falling ill, not least because you are more likely to keep up your prevention programme if you feel good. The sedentary life during the cold weather lessens the opportunities for social contact, but it's up to you to change that. Avoid the common pitfalls of the Bulgarian lifestyle – don't gather too often around a table laden with rakiya and shopska salad, and avoid the crowded cafés where you can't see through the smoke haze. Instead, invite friends along for your walk in the park, hike in the mountain or visit to the shops.
Your body will thank you if you go one step further and book a spa treatment. A massage helps work out the kinks in underactive muscles and a sauna flushes the toxins from your body. You can find both at Kontur Wellness, which also offers special anti-flu treatments. The Balkani procedure combines a Turkish bath, foot massage and rakiya rubs. The result – better immunity and quicker post-illness recovery. While you are at Kontur, consider fixing your cellulite problem with specialised massage, rejuvenating your skin with therapies for active relaxation or preparing for a party with a spa manicure and pedicure.