Is winter tough for you?
Do you have a hard time getting out of your warm, cozy bed to face the colder and shorter days? The lack of sunshine can feel depressing and heavy, and that can have an effect on your mood, physical health and immunity.
Due to the cold, dark and heavy qualities of winter season, it’s important to tend to your inner fire so that it burns brightly. According to Ayurveda, a brilliant inner fire contributes to your optimal health and wellbeing.
Here are practices in mind, body and adventure that will help you keep your light bright and your life brilliant this winter:
Optimal digestion, according to Ayurveda, is the source of a healthy body and mind. Modern science is now affirming this ancient belief, calling our guts our second brain.
In Ayurveda, digestion is thought of as a fire that needs to be tended to in each season. When your digestive fire is strong and steady, your health and immunity are also strong and steady.
Here are 3 ways to boost your digestive fire:
- Keep your eating hours to between 8 – 10 hours per day. That means that if you eat breakfast at 9 a.m. your dinner should be no later than 7 p.m. This allows your digestive fire to rest and rekindle during the 14 hour fasting period between dinner and breakfast. A big bonus to this practice is better sleep. Research shows that when you don’t eat 2-3 hours before bed the quality of your sleep improves.
- It’s OK to eat heavier foods during winter. In fact, you want to avoid raw foods like salad during the winter months according to Ayurveda. Cooked veggies, whole grains, root veggies, stews, soups and chilis are all wonderful winter foods. The key is to not overeat. Too much food tamps down your digestive fire. When you eat mindfully you become aware of when you’re full. Stop when you’re full and don’t eat when you’re not hungry. These practices will go a long way to keeping your digestive fire strong.
- Move everyday, even when it’s cold out. It’s super important to build some heat in the body during the winter months. Exercise is an excellent way to do that. You don’t have to spend hours exercising. A 20 – 30 minute brisk walk in your neighborhood will do the trick. Commit to getting out as many days as possible during the week. A bonus is that exercise is a mood booster, especially when you do it outside!
An illuminated mind suggests a spark or light within the mind. Ayurveda talks about cellular intelligence as a spark.
Just as it’s important to tend to our digestive fire and build some heat in the body during the winter months, it’s also important to keep our mental energy shining.
The consequences when we don’t can be depression, anxiety and dullness of mind.
Here are 3 practices to spark your mind’s illumination:
- Say no to things you really don’t want to do so you can say yes to the things and people that are important to you. I recently read a quote by Jim Kwik that read: “Most of the time we feel burnt out and tired not because we’ve done too much, but because we’ve done too little of what makes us come alive.” Let that statement spark you!
- Practice gratitude every day. When you first wake up in the morning, right before bed, and in between list at least 3 things that you’re grateful for. Every. Day. Research shows that the practice of gratitude has the benefits of increased resiliency to do hard things, and increased generosity. It literally takes less than 1 minute to do. Right now, sit well, hold a thought of gratitude in your heart for something or someone that you’re grateful for. Curl your lips up into a little smile. You’ve just illuminated your whole being, and that’s powerful.
- Stop blindly believing what your mind is telling you about yourself. This is something I often work with my clients on changing. Your self talk can either tamp out your spark or ignite it. The thing is, the stories you tell yourself about yourself were created when you were a child as a coping mechanism. Are they really THE TRUTH? Start being a well wisher to yourself and talk to yourself with the goal of igniting your spark, not stamping it out.
You may be an avid outdoor adventurer and love to kayak, paddleboard, cycle, hike and ski. These are definitely my favorite versions of adventure!
The truth is that anything that gets you out of your comfort zone can be considered an adventure.
And there’s nothing like a good adventure to ignite your spark!
Here are 3 ways to be keep adventure alive during the winter, in addition to, or besides your favorite outdoor adventure:
- Say yes to something that sparks you even if (or maybe especially if) you’re uncertain of the outcome. Not knowing how it’s going to turn out IS adventure. Try it in different aspects of your life, especially when it’s something that’s been calling to you for a long time.
- Make a bold request of someone or of yourself. Ask for something you’ve been afraid to request for fear of hearing no.
- Learn something new. It could be a new sport, hobby or even a new way to walk around your neighborhood. This fall I bought myself a surfskate to push myself to try something new. Yes it’s hard and scary, and yes it sparks joy!
As we go into winter, take time to tend to your inner fire so it burns bright and supports your health and wellbeing all season long. If you want more information and support on igniting your spark, optimizing your health this winter, and starting 2021 off strong with community support, join my 8 week Winter Wellness Circle. It runs January 4th through February 27th 2021. We’ll take on the above practices and more! Click Here to learn more.