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Winter at the Spa

From our House to Yours

Join us for Winter Wellness Weekend at Mohonk, February 2-4, 2024!
Unwind with the healing sounds of singing bowls, discover the science of nature’s influence on well-being, embrace Winter Sky Yoga under the starlit sky, and more.

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Experience Wellbeing

The latest in our offerings

Winter Favorite Spa Treatment

After a day of outdoor recreation, take time to properly recharge your body. Our favorite recovery massage, The Après Adventure Massage, will help combat sore muscles and get you back on the trials for your next adventure!

Curated specifically to combat the stress on muscles and joints effected by your exact outdoor endeavor, this targeted massage combines our anti-inflammatory muscle cream with CBD, therapeutic clay heat packs and a Swedish based recovery massage to help combat tired muscles and relieve sore joints preparing you for another day in the wild!

Our Mohonk Family

Tips from our experts

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Mindful Wellness

Moments of renewal

5 Ways to Support the Immune System in Winter

Wellspa 360 Article
February 7, 2023
Nina Smiley

Forest Bathing

Being outdoors offers support for the immune system year-round—and don't forget about winter! Wearing appropriate layers of clothing and breathing fresh air in an outdoor setting brings relief from recycled air and the concentration of indoor air pollutants. Exposing yourself to the natural world offers renewal when you need to unwind and recharge. Time outdoors can help you feel more relaxed and focused as you are mindfully present in nature. As you step away from the stimulation of phones and screens, and the stress that may come with them, the spaciousness of a forest setting can begin to soothe your senses. Research has shown that time outdoors can help lower blood pressure and improve immune function. Take a moment outdoors in the winter to experience each sense, one at a time, as you breathe gently and calm your body. Feel the sensation of fresh cold air as it enters the body through the nose. Is there a scent in the air? Listen to the sounds that surround you and see with new eyes the spare elegance of a winter setting. Focusing on the senses outdoors can begin to clear the mind as you distract yourself from ruminating on stressful thoughts by being grateful for the wonders of the world that surround you. On a sunny winter day, there's vitamin D to support the immune system. And studies have shown that time in nature can boost creativity in problem-solving, as the calm of the natural world invites a more spacious way of being present with an issue.

Mindful Eating

Paying attention to the moment-to-moment experience of eating can help you connect with food that nourishes you and supports the immune system. Appreciating the bright colors of vegetables, the enticing scent of a winter soup, and the crisp textures and natural sweetness of fresh fruit, all offer a new way of being present with your body as you practice self-care. Becoming more attuned to feelings of hunger and fullness can lead to mindful moments of choice in which we try something different in our relationship to food. When we eat more slowly and make eating an experience, we become more aware of what is deeply satisfying and what is a craving. The body has more time to process and absorb nutrients. These small choices are not about being on a diet, they are decisions that create sustainable self-care.

Sleep

Sleep is a time of restoration for the body when cytokines are released which are essential for the regulation of the immune system. Under stress, or fighting an infection, cytokines are needed even more and lack of sleep hinders the body's ability to fight infection.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly for adults. Suggestions for sleep hygiene to support the immune system include eliminating the use of electronic devices at night before bed, regular exercising and monitoring consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Recognizing another powerful moment of choice, it's important to decide to prioritize getting enough sleep. Beginning to wind down earlier in the evening to nurture a sleep schedule that will enhance well-being needs to be a conscious choice to build the consistency that creates a new habit.

Exercise

Given that the immune system is not a single entity, it requires balance and harmony to work well, and research continues to explore the effects of lifestyle on the immune response. Regular exercise contributes to general well-being as it improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, supports the immune system and reduces inflammation. While a typical recommendation for exercise might be 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, it's also important to recognize that any amount of exercise adds to well-being. These minutes can be broken up into ways that work within your lifestyle and fitness baseline. People who exercise regularly have been found to have fewer infections. Starting with a 5- to 10-minute walk is better than nothing at all. Beginning to balance a sedentary lifestyle with activity can start with small moments of choice – standing while you're at work, creating a habit of walking around while you're on the phone, or taking stairs instead of the elevator. Understanding that activity is cumulative, and no moments of movement are wasted contributes to an ongoing flow of effort that supports well-being.

Stress

Being stressed has been shown to suppress the immune system. Meditation is only a breath away and has a calming effect that supports well-being. Whether you try mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, guided visualization, Zen meditation, yoga, qigong, loving-kindness meditation or a sound bath, exploring options will help you find your own preferred way to clear the mind and calm the body. As a starting point, apps, such as Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer offer a sampler of opportunities to consider.

In sum, finding your own sweet spot of sustainability in supporting the immune system is based on the understanding that no effort is wasted, the benefits of your efforts are cumulative and you are the expert on yourself!

Let simplicity guide your choices as you nurture well-being in 2024, one moment at a time!

Nina Smiley and Mohonk Moutain House

Nina Smiley, Ph.D., director of mindfulness programming at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, holds a doctoral degree in psychology from Princeton University. She is the coauthor of The Three Minute Meditator and Mindfulness in Nature, as well as the CD “Mini-Meditations That Will Enhance Your Life.” Smiley has studied mindfulness with Jack Kornfield, founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of Insight Meditation Society, among others. She delights in sharing insights about meditation and wellness, and her work has been featured in numerous renowned publications.

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