Winter can be depressing, but it doesn't have to be. Welcoming winter with open arms becomes a little easier when you use particular tools to stay warm, focused, and healthy. In general, winter is nature’s way of telling you it’s a time to slow down and enjoy your personal and family time. But we are human and often stubborn, not listening to its advice. Sometimes it feels as though we like to go against everything nature does, as if we know more than an ecosystem that has survived billions of years.
This year, try these tips to brighten the months ahead.
Celebrate the Winter Solstice
The official first day of winter is between December 21st and December 23rd. The exact date and time will vary upon your location and the year. A reliable source for your area is the Farmer’s Almanac.
Winter Solstice has been celebrated since ancient times. The word solstice translates into “sun stands still.” This particular day will be the darkest of the year. It is what gave way for the more modern holidays that are more focused on today. Incorporating this day into your winter traditions can be a wonderful way to reconnect with your genetic roots. Across the globe, all nationalities slowed down to welcome the sun as the days will now become longer.
Combining the following tips would make an excellent start to creating a winter solstice tradition. It may also help kick start some daily winter habits.
Nature hibernates, slows down, or moves somewhere warmer when winter hits. You can learn a lot from this. Winter screams "slow down" in many ways. It is a Kapha time of year—longer hours of darkness and lower temperatures. If you flow with what nature is doing, you tend to see better results in your health. Sleep a little longer each night, take naps when you are tired, and put on an extra layer of clothing.
Although the sun is around a lot less, the flowers have died, and leaves are long gone, you can still find the beauty this season brings. Almost everyone can agree snow looks beautiful! But what else do you see? If you don't mind a chill, take your meditation outside a few times this season. Or, for those of you who get cold easily, start a meditation by looking out a window. Take mental notes of your favorite visuals.
As most birds fly to a warmer location, don't be afraid to follow! If you have children, you may be concerned about taking them out of school. Many schools will still give your child their daily credit if you make it educational as well. They can take pictures and write a report on what they learned. Check with your local school system for their credit guidelines and spend some time in a warmer climate.
Embrace Feminine Energy
The sun, a masculine force, must be balanced by the feminine nature of the moon. In winter, you see a great deal more of the moon, making winter a stronger feminine season. This is a perfect time to journal, practice, and give thanks to all of the female qualities going on around and within us.
We all have both masculine and feminine qualities and energy, balancing these two forces takes awareness. Whether you are male or female, ask yourself these questions. Journal the answers as they come to you, reflect and research various ways you could articulate your feminine side that is healthy for you.
- Do you show a nurturing side?
- Is your intuition in tune?
- How long has it been since you expressed your creativeness?
- Do you enjoy symbology and colors?
- What side do you utilize the most throughout your day?
Although these are on the side of predominantly feminine, don't let that scare you men off. By spending some conscious time in this area of the brain and spirit, you are also building a stronger masculine energy. As you know, balance is the key to abundance in all forms.
Ladies, although your initial response may be that your feminine side is doing just fine, please keep in mind that our society has lost touch in the true power of the female-based energies. Sometimes it can be confusing as to what a 'feminine side' really means. The difficulties you may face in the workforce or even at home can sometimes fall back upon the subconscious detachments you have in this area.
Keeping yourself warm is more than just avoiding a runny nose. Your body needs extra circulation, inside and out. Try these simple tips throughout your week.
- Spice your palate with tumeric, garlic, ginger, or licorice.
- Dress in layers and keep extra clothes in the car.
- Increase the pace of your yoga routine.
- Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol may make you feel as though you're warmer, it actually decreases core body temperatures.
Increase Vitamin D
Over the years, humans seem to go outside less and less. Our body needs sun to combat many diseases, including cancer, and fight depression. The summer is obviously the best time to soak up the rays but don't forget to get your dosage in winter as well.
Studies have shown an extremely high rate of vitamin deficiency in America. The percentage rates are 41.6 to 82.1 percent, broken down by nationalities. The darker populations have the highest rate of Vitamin D deficiency, partially due to the fact that the darker the skin, the more sun exposure a person requires to meet their daily value.
Take full advantage of the warmer days of winter. If the heat of the day is during your work period, consider a lunch outdoors. Another way to stay warm and still get the sunrays on your skin is to sit in the car or in front of a window in your home, allowing the sun to hit your skin.
Plan Fun Winter Activities
Decorating a log to place on the fire has been a long-standing tradition in many cultures. The decorating and burning can both be meditative, an added bonus to family time. Here are simple steps to create a log with your family.
1. Gather these items:
- Fire log
- Orange peel - Represents the sun
- Sage - Releases negative energy
- Feather - Represents Higher Self
- Walnut shell - Represents gratitude for stored food supply
- Oregano – Representing love and protection
2. Have each family member write down an affirmation on a small piece of paper.
3. Tie all of the above items onto the log with an organic twine. Further decorate with any other organic materials as you wish.
4. Save for the Solstice or the New Year and burn.
Flowing effortlessly from one season to the next can often be a challenge—but if you listen to your body and intuition, and put forth a little effort, you can make it out healthy.
This holiday season, we invite you to join us for our 6-day mind-body immersion workshop, Perfect Health. The Perfect Health program includes a complete Ayurvedic cleanse designed to create balance in both the mind and body through daily Ayurvedic spa treatments, a mind-body consultation with a board-certified physician and Ayurvedic expert, a cleansing diet, and herbal supplements. Learn more.