Okay, I admit it. I don’t think I have ever heard one person claim that winter was their favorite season. While it could be due to a poor memory, my hunch is that it’s just the plain truth. Chances are that if we were to play a little game of word association, when I said “winter” you would say (select from the following): cold, depressing, lonely, sick, sluggish, dark or any other word that suggests bleak and dreary. The truth is that most of us begin to feel some or all of these during the winter months. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to change our opinions about this most peaceful and miraculous season.
Here’s the theory behind the change of heart; instead of resisting the laws of nature, why not allow them to manifest as intended? It wasn’t that long ago people around the world lived their lives according to the seasons. Spring was the time to plant and create, summer the time to grow and mature, fall the time to harvest and prepare and winter the time to rest and restore. Our instincts tell us to do what nature does, yet we resist. Why? The main reason is fairly obvious: its 2015. We have everything we physically need to live a high-speed life; therefore we can get more done, faster. Once we get more done, we feel the need to get even more done. After all, whoever gets the most done wins, right? While this is an interesting 21st century concept, it comes at a great cost. That cost can be seen in the form of pre-mature aging, illness, emotional imbalance, self-disconnect and loathing, loss of moral compass and more. These symptoms, when ignored by either denial or “Band-Aid” treatments, will eventually create devastating outcomes.
While I can’t promise that you’ll be tweeting about your love of the 2 degree weather anytime soon, by following the steps below, you can begin to make winter an ally in your journey towards a balanced life.
Enjoy Warming Foods
Sorry, New Year’s resolutions, but now is not the time to start a raw food diet. About 350,000 years ago, humans discovered fire. Since then, our species has managed to stay alive and multiply, thanks in part to the ability to keep warm and cook food. When it comes to eating in the winter, let your instinct be your guide. Warming soups, roasted vegetables and hearty grains should be the staple of your winter diet.
Keep Hydrated Inside and Out
Keeping hydrated during the winter months is often the last thing on our minds. According to the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, failure to properly hydrate in the winter months leads to everything from dry skin to a weakened immune system and even a pessimistic outlook. With fluids accounting for 75% of our physical bodies, we must make sure we keep things flowing on the inside, while protecting and repairing on the outside.
Tips To Keep You Hydrated All Winter
Start each morning off with a warm cup of lemon water
Infuse your water with cinnamon, ginger and other warming spices and drink warm or at room temperature
Enjoy several cups of herbal tea throughout the day. Not only will they help you stay hydrated, but they contain herbs and spices that have wonderful healing effects
Keep up your juicing and smoothie routines, but drink at room temperature
Choose skin and body care that contain a surge of antioxidants, which protect from the harsh environments while repairing damage
Exfoliate regularly (head to toe) to remove dead skin and allow moisturizers and lotions to act as a skin barrier
Take a Deep Breath and…
Here’s one reason winter deserves a big shout out (aka exhale). This season your exercise routine should be toned down, with a focus on deep breathing. Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Dancing and Walking are excellent ways to keep your fluids flowing, your energy circulating, and your joints loose while practice deep breathing. Why is deep breathing so important that we are promoting it as THE winter exercise routine?
Here’s just a few of the many benefits that will make you say “ahhhh”:
Stay tuned for more tips on how to warm up to winter!