9 Wellness Tools We’re Leaning on to Get Us through Winter
In partnership with our friends at Youtheory®
Staying well this winter seems more manageable if we break it down into smaller categories: How do we keep our bodies functioning at their best? Start with social distancing and hand sanitizer; build up to advanced temperature monitoring. How do we keep it together emotionally? Try a journaling set designed for emotional purging. And what’s the best way to recharge when your day has felt like a lot? Formula: weighted blanket, white noise machine, and the sleepy scent of lavender on your pillow.
While you go about all your regular routines for staying well, it feels good to have some extra nutritional help: Formulated with 100 percent of the Daily Values of vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc, Youtheory Immune+ Daily Wellness is a supplement capsule to support healthy immune function.* It contains two specialty ingredients: a blend of full-spectrum functional mushroom extracts from cordyceps, turkey tail, reishi, maitake, shiitake, and royal sun agaricus, and Wellmune, a beta-glucan from yeast that’s been shown in clinical studies to support immune health and general well-being. Each daily serving is three capsules (Immune+ contains whole-food ingredients, which translates to a little extra volume) that go down easy with just some sips of water.
While washing your hands with soap, water, and good technique is always the preferred option, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can help you reduce the number of microbes you pick up on your hands between grocery runs and curbside pickups. This formula from Clark’s Botanicals meets our standards for clean personal-care products, and it comes in a convenient duo. That’s one to keep on you, plus a backup for your center console.
HEAT OF THE MOMENT
The Oura ring is a compact health tracker you wear on your finger. Most of us read that and think step counter, sleep tracker. And that’s not wrong: Oura collects robust data on your daily activity and sleep, which can help inform healthy habits overall. But Oura has so much more to offer, including a sensitive overnight read on your body temperature. From the Oura app, you can keep track of temperature changes over time and keep an eye out for any unexpected fluctuations.
Expressive writing has been studied for decades for its ability to promote emotional well-being and help us develop self-regulation. And if you’ve ever emotionally purged on a sheet of paper, you probably get why: Sometimes we aren’t sure what we think until we write it down. That’s what draws us to a journaling kit built specifically for looking inward. The self-reflection kit from We’re Not Really Strangers comes with a journal in reflective silver (maybe too on the nose) and a stack of cards with questions like “What do I need to get off my chest?” and “What have I tolerated from people in the past that I no longer have time for?” Try spreading out the cards facedown, drawing the two or three you feel energetically drawn to, and scribbling down your answers for however long you like. Don’t think too hard: Stream of consciousness feels best.
Whether you’re brewing chai from scratch or plunking a teabag into your favorite mug, sitting down for tea is a ritual that feels powerful. House of Waris Botanicals makes some of our favorite cups out there: In the Manhattan tea lab, herbalists concoct custom blends and speak to visitors about the unique properties of different plants. Sweet Clarity, one of the brand’s bestsellers, balances the adaptogenic herbs tulsi, rhodiola, and eleuthero with a warm and aromatic mix of cardamom, ginger, orange peel, and sweet basil. It’s exactly what we want to drink when it’s time to settle in for a good think.
The San Francisco multidisciplinary meditation studio Open was supposed to open the doors to its first physical space this year. And while it’s hit the same roadblocks we’ve all been hitting, we’re glad to at least have it online: The roster of teachers is full of yoga, breathwork, and meditation heavy hitters, including cofounder Manoj Dias, Hailey Lott, Mel Mah, and Ally Maz. You don’t subscribe; you just drop in when it’s best for you. Classes are as brief as ten minutes or as long as an hour, and you’re encouraged to pay three, five, or ten dollars a class as you wish.
When a sound keeps you from falling asleep or wakes you up in the middle of the night, it’s not sound itself that’s the issue. It’s that your brain shakes you out of sleep when it perceives inconsistencies or sudden changes in ambient noise. This is just your body trying to protect you: It doesn’t know the difference between a predator approaching and the garbage truck crashing by at 6 o’clock in the morning. But it is annoying, and it can seriously muck up a good night’s sleep.
For some sleepers, white noise—a steady humming that’s a combination of all hearable frequencies at equal volume—can mask disruptive sounds. Fans are especially good for creating white noise, which is why you might sleep especially well with a fan or the air conditioning on in the summer. In the winter, when you might be more protective of your bedroom temperature, opt for a white noise machine: The internal fan drowns out ambient noise without a creating a chill. And while it can’t stop your partner from snoring or shut up the neighbor’s cat, it might help you get through it a little less bothered.
SNUG IT OUT
If you get to bed feeling a little restless, consider a weighted blanket: Research has shown that they can have a calming effect and that going to bed under one can promote more restful sleep. They’re designed to work the same way for you as swaddling does for a newborn, by making you feel safe and snug and secure, so it’s no surprise the experience of being under one is pleasant. (We even find ourselves toting our weighted blankets from bed to desk to couch throughout the day.) This one from Bearaby is hand-knit from thick organic cotton yarn, and it looks especially pretty draped over an armchair or at the end of your bed. It’s not too heavy—a good thing if you’re new here—and can help hold in heat if you run cold on winter nights.
If sleep has a signature scent, it’s lavender. vitruvi’s lavender essential oil is steam-distilled from French lavender petals and has made its home in our bedtime rituals: A few drops on your pillow or streaming through a diffuser is a lovely way to end the night.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This product is not intended to treat or prevent COVID-19.