Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Depending on where you live, Winter conjures up many different images, including blizzards, snowmen, and holidays. During the Winter months, nature is resting and replenishing itself for the upcoming Spring. As a Life Empowerment Coach, I share with my clients, that we should also be focusing on reflection in order to recharge. Post holidays, there is no need to be so hard on ourselves by setting really tight restrictions. Instead, what if we were a little more forgiving with ourselves as we go through the Winter months.
Consider looking at January, February and first half of March, as a time to nurture your body, mind and soul. Choose to be proactive and decide to slow down. We can view the Winter months as a time to shut off from some of the distractions that drain our energy levels. We can use this natural Winter cycle to reset, recharge and get re-inspired. This is a time to perceive “taking care of ourselves” as a well-planned self-love/self-care intention, rather than a chore. I like to use a holistic approach with my clients and together we create wellness goals and embark on a journey to re-discover the self: body/mind/soul. This holistic approach allows my clients to take their personal and professional growth and wellness to the next level. Feel, think and be the best version of themself.
Did you know that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is taught that we should live in harmony with the seasons. When we don’t, that’s when disease and illness occur. Living in harmony with the season of Winter means we should avoid eating excessively cold or raw foods, we should focus our attention inward and we should make time to relax and rejuvenate our bodies. Below are some tips to help integrate Winter self-care intentions physically, mentally and spiritually for your Body, Mind and Soul.
Physical: The Body needs Nourishment, Sleep & Movement
Winter is a good time of year to consider which foods or nutrition plan will help you feel most vital physically and provide mental clarity. There are a lot of "diets" out there. It can be very individual when creating the right nutrition plan that allows us to integrate into a realistic lifestyle. Take some time this Winter to do a little research either on the internet or read books on the nutrition plan that seem to resonate with your unique needs. Sometimes a visit with a holistic healthcare practitioner can be helpful with discovering which foods and nutritional plan is best for you.
Maintaining quality sleeping habits during Winter helps ward of cold/flu by keeping your immune system strong. Be sure your bedroom is quiet, at a comfortable temperature and as dark as possible. It can be helpful to avoid blue light from computer, iPad, t.v. etc at least one hour before bedtime. Instead, read a book or magazine, something that will relax your mind if you've had a stressful day. Or enjoy a great fiction novel that allows you to escape.
Keeping physically fit in the winter is an important part of keeping your mood stable and staying connected to the outdoors. If you live where there is snow, take pleasure in bundling up in layers that will keep you cozy, then head outside, either alone or with a friend or your family. Look around, and notice how different your neighborhood looks in wintertime, and embrace the cool quiet of the season. And if you live where there is never snow in Winter, like I do, but temperatures have dropped, check out a local park or beach for some truly refreshing communion with nature. Find an exercise you enjoy, even if it is just walking. Exercise should not hurt. I do not believe in the saying: “no pain no gain”. Exercise should feel good and be enjoyable. Our bodies are always trying to talk to us. We strengthen the body to still the mind.
Mental: Pure, Uplifted Thoughts & Feelings
Make it one of your intentions this Winter, to always come from a place of love. Practice becoming aware of creating pure and uplifted thoughts and feelings so that everything you do is aligned with love. We can treat others most kindly when we take the best care of ourselves because when we feel our best we can be aligned with love and trust; versus anger or fear.
Do you find yourself feeling blue more often in the winter? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression related to changes in light. This usually makes people feel more depressed in cold months, when it gets dark earlier. One solution is doing a search on the internet and you will find a whole range of indoor lights that help alleviate SAD. Try the "dawn simulator," which imitates the sunrise in order to help you wake up naturally. You will definitely start the day in a better mood. Some people swear by creating ambiance with Himalayan salt lamps, candles, etc. I personally, have a Himalayan Salt Lamp and absolutely love candles. Many people find that cuddle time with pets is what helps to uplift their mood, since nothing gives you the warm and fuzzies better than something warm and fuzzy, so make time when it's cold outside to snuggle up with your dog or cat. Let your pet remind you of the simple pleasures in life, the joys of making another living thing happy and comfortable.
Don’t let the winter blues sneak up on you! Do something interesting and creative, even if you think it’s outside of your character. Keep yourself busy with activities and adventures. Sign up for that cooking or art class that you’ve been wanting to take. Find a book that challenges your way of thinking. Take on a new challenge at work. Make it something that helps your mind focus on learning something new and interesting. Find the personal value in stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. When your mind is consumed with something new and exciting, you have less time to be preoccupied with sadness and doubt.
Manage stress as best you can. Maintain balance with work/play/life. As long as I can remember, the restorative power of a hot bath helps bring me calmness and peace. Adding essential oils to your warm water escape can lift your spirits even more than a simple soak. Maybe you are familiar with using essential oils as natural cures for various ailments. Use peppermint to soothe headaches, citrus for rejuvenation, and lemongrass for inner purification. Smelling the oils sends the fragrances to your brain, where they affect your mood.
If you're lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace in your home, strike a match and settle in for a pleasant, cozy time. Let yourself relax as you enjoy the sight of the leaping flames and the scent of the burning wood. The mere sight of a crackling fire can get your body feeling warmer.
Sometimes the simple things bring us warmth. What are some of the ways you find joy and warmth in Winter? My favorite is curling up with a really good book under a cozy throw with a cup of herbal tea or hot cocoa and some candles. We still the mind so as to free the Soul.
Soul: The Soul needs Self-Love, Reflective Moments & Deeper Insight
Winter allows us the down time to receive even deeper messages from our Soul. You know, that little whisper nudging us when something good or bad is about to happen. All of us have an inner life - our Soul. The Soul is a living thing that needs nurturing, some TLC and attention. It is easy to take care of all of our "stuff" in Winter - organizing closets, painting rooms and cleaning out garages. While I am all for keeping my life in order and maintaining a clean home, I believe it is crucial to care for our Soul. If you experience feeling overwhelmed at times, this is actually your Soul trying to chat with you. It is telling you to take a time out. This isn't being lazy, this is a nourishing time for the Soul and in your best interest for overall wellness. It can be easy to brush this off and keep going, doing and completing errands - "stuff". Allow Winter time to go deep within to reflect, restore and nourish from the inside out. The beauty of Winter is its ability to shift one’s focus from the externals of life to the inner place of introspection and self-reflection. Notice Winter’s stillness, quiet, and reprieve. Take time to “be” and know it is okay to merge with the theme of Winter, a time to slow down and take an internal observation of areas in your life that you would like to release rather than replant into the growing season of Spring.
There are many ways to nourish the Soul during the Winter months. One of my favorites include a long walk on the beach. I am fortunate to live near the beach and can enjoy walks year around. Other Soul nourishment might include writing/journaling. Reading something inspirational or simply loosing myself by reading a really good fiction book. Breathing in the salty air of the ocean or clean mountain air. Visiting a new area (even a new local area can help) and scoping out the beauty, the scene. Indulge or immersing myself in music I love -especially on a walk or during a workout at the gym. Getting pampered - manicure/pedicure, a facial, a massage.
Winter time is a great time to go within and ask yourself some of the deeper questions that help reveal more of your authentic self. When is the last time you took some time to reflect and ask yourself questions such as: "What are the kinds of things I like to do for myself when I need some voluntary solitude, some alone time?" Or "What skill, strength or gift do you wish you could use more fully?" Sometimes it is helpful to review your current situation, habits or routines and asking the question "When you visualize your ideal life, how do you see yourself starting your day?" There are many questions to be asked for the various areas in your life. If you would like to receive my Self-Discovery Questions, simply send me an email and I would be happy to share these with you. And if you decide you would like some coaching and support, I look forward to connecting with you!
Enjoy Inspirational Quotes, in my book: Uber Empowerment Quotes: 500 Inspirational Quotes for Knowledge, Insight & Wisdom.