Do you have an aversion to winter? To the cold, to the lack of sunlight, and how it feels harder to get together in community – especially right now going into the third year of the pandemic?
I hear you. I’m spending this winter in Canada, my first Canadian winter in over 2 decades (I grew up in Canada), and it’s a mission to get dressed to go outside some days. And, let’s not forget the snow removal and having to brush snow and scrape ice off your car every time you want to go somewhere. And, having to put 2 sweaters and booties on the dog for every walk 🙂
Anyway, you know what I mean. Everything feels a little bit harder in winter. Except. Not all things.
Each season has it’s own unique intelligence and qualities, and the qualities of winter don’t line up with our culture of being productive and doing things all the time. And, certainly winter challenges us with getting comfortable with discomfort, something else our culture at large resists big time.
Winter’s Natural Intelligence
If you step back and take a big picture view of the cycle of the seasons, you can start to see that there are many positives about winter. It’s hard to go out because winter invites you to go within. Just as seeds, trees and animals rest during the winter so that they are ready to burst forth with color and energy in the spring, so do you need a time of reflection and contemplation. This time can help you dream big and be ready to take big action when the spring rolls around.
Winter is about stoking your inner fire. According to Ayurveda winter is Kapha (Earth/Water) season and so it’s important to incorporate some heat into your routine to keep your mind illuminated and your body healthy during the dark, cold months. So, although winter invites you to go within, it doesn’t mean sitting on the couch being a lump. That’s what can lead to winter feeling terrible.
Here are 5 winter wellness habits that stoke your inner fire
1.Ditch you salad for warm, nourishing meals
If you’re someone who believes that salads, juices and smoothies are the key to health and wellness, I’m sorry to burst your bubble. These are fantastic choices for the spring and summer, but they can actually be detrimental in the winter. According to Ayurveda it’s important to incorporate the opposite qualities of the season into your diet and lifestyle to stay healthy so cold food is out in winter. Warm, nourishing food is in. Think soups, stews, chilis, roasted veggies etc…
OK, I know I write this in every blog I write about winter, but I don’t think I can say it enough! This week in my Boundary Bootcamp so many of the women shared photos of their soups and stews and it was very inspirational. Words they used included cozy, delicious and nourishing. Has a salad ever made you feel cozy?!
2.Get moving to stoke your inner fire
It’s so important to keep your lymph, your digestion and your general circulation moving during winter season. According to Ayurveda, illness can be caused by stagnation in the body. Not to mention, when you keep things circulating you stay warm! If you’re exercising outside, be sure to breathe through your nose. If you need to use a buff to cover your nose so you can breathe effectively in the cold air, do it. Winter is actually the optimal time to do vigorous exercise to counteract the cold and the stagnation of the season. Just remember to exercise earlier in the day so you don’t disrupt your sleep.
3.Light a candle and drink warm lemon in the morning
Lighting a candle is a metaphor for igniting your inner spark. It’s surprisingly effective at inspiring feelings of warmth and wellbeing. Try and see how it feels, especially if you feel sluggish in the winter mornings. Next, drink a cup of warm lemon water. I know, I know. You’ve heard me say this a million time. And, I’ll keep saying it! Warm lemon water has vitamin C, the sour taste is warming and helps to stimulate digestion, and it super hydrating.
Whether it’s in my Wellness Circles, Boundary Bootcamps or one-on-one coaching, I always love the positive impact this one simple habit has on my clients wellbeing. It’s a game changer for sure. Have you tried it yet?
3. Get outside even when it’s cold
This one is easy for some of us, and not so easy for others. It definitely takes work and prep to go outside in winter, but it is so worth it. Layers are your friend. If you keep hearing yourself say, ‘it’s too cold.’ Then I suggest asking yourself what that’s about and doing some contemplation around it. You don’t have to go kayaking for hours, or freeze your feet on the mountain to get outside and reap benefits. Challenging yourself to go outside in cold weather is great practice for getting comfortable with discomfort and discovering something for yourself.
5.Get good rest
Winter is the season that best supports you in cultivating a solid and effective bedtime routine. Use this season to your advantage when it comes to sleep. Start your bedtime routine by 9 p.m. so that you’re lights out at 10 p.m. Turn off screens, dim your lights, drink a warm cup of chamomile or lavender tea, practice relaxation like legs up the wall. Getting good sleep takes preparation and practice. Use the slow, dark and static qualities of winter to help you get 8 hours of sleep each night so you feel refreshed, your mind is clear and illuminated, and your spark is bright in the morning.
Just because your body and mind are resting during sleep, doesn’t mean that your inner fire isn’t stoking. According to sleep scientists, your brain cells repair and rejuvenate during sleep. Ayurveda calls this cellular intelligence, and there is heat in cellular intelligence 🙂
Are you ready to stoke your inner fire this winter, and have the opportunity to connect with other health minded women? Why not make this winter your best yet? It’s important, more now than ever to keep your immune system strong, your mind illuminated, and keep your spark bright. Register for my 4 week Winter Wellness Circle coming up January 24th. Click Here to learn more and register.