Self- care tips for surviving winter
Is the cold and dark of winter starting to get you down? Feeling the desire to withdraw from the world, roll up in a duvet and hibernate? This may be a sign that it’s time to slow down a bit and focus on some self-care tips for winter wellbeing to help beat the winter blues.
The winter season is a time when we draw inwards. It is common to feel a little more emotional and sensitive and it is therefore important that we learn how to take care of ourselves and give our bodies a little bit of extra love and attention at this time.
Here are some ways you can survive and thrive this winter:
Rest and digest
Winter is a natural time for storage. As the earth rests, so must we, finding time for stillness to go deeper into ourselves and reflect on the year’s experiences.
Winter is a time for all the re- words. Retention, reflection, rejuvenation, recharge, replenish, rest and reset. It is a time to treat your body to what strengthens it: nourishing food, deep relaxation, kindness and lots of rest.
Self-care is essential to having a balanced and blues-free winter time.
Have an Epsom salt bath
Epsom salts are ideal for getting rid of aches and pains, helping to balance the mineral content and absorption of water in the body.
Having a warm Epsom salt bath 2- 3 times per week can aid restful sleep thanks to its magnesium, nature’s tranquilizer, which relaxes the muscles.
For best benefits, add 2.5 cups to your bath just before bed The biggest mistake people make is not putting enough into the bath!
Keep hydrated with filtered water
Water regulates all functions within the body. Dehydration and illness often go hand in hand. Most people don’t drink enough water and it’s easy to forget to drink it in the colder months.
In traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is linked to the water element. Water supports the fluids in the body, it baths the brain, cleanses the mind and enhances memory. The Kidneys and Bladder regulate water in the body and are also traditionally linked with the winter season.
Your Body is around 75% water, therefore the quality of what you drink is very import. The water we drink from the tap is often recycled many times. Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into water over time so bottled water is not ideal either (not to mention the wasteful).
Investing in a good water filter is a good way to ensure the water you are drinking is as clean as possible.
Warm liquids like herb tea and brothy soups are also an excellent way to hydrate and nourish the body in winter. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks, on the other hand, are amongst the many reasons why the body may become dehydrated.
Turn up the heat with Ginger tea
The Kidneys hate the cold, so try to avoid iced or refrigerated drinks wherever possible in winter. Caffeine and strong stimulants are also best avoided.
Herbal teas are the perfect way to keep the body hydrated and warm in winter. Warming teas like ginger are especially good at helping boost the circulation in the colder months.
To make fresh ginger tea:
1) Cut one big clump of ginger into slices ( you can tailor this to suit your personal taste)
2) Throw slices into a large flask or tea pot
3) Add hot boiling water and leave to stew.
Nourish yourself with mineral broth
Good nutrition is especially essential in the winter. The body needs hot, hearty food to keep itself warm and nourished. Roasted root vegetables, hearty stews and warming soups are perfect!
A vegetable broth like this, can be an excellent source of essential electrolytes. Ionic minerals are the key to maintaining good health.
The broth is a wonderful, filling snack that will also provide you with many healing nutrients and alkalinize your system, making it easier to detoxify, lose weight, and feel great.
Alkalizing Vegetable Mineral Broth:
2 x 5 inch strips of Kombu
6 dried Shiitake mushrooms
1 x 40g pack dried Daikon
6 carrots cut into chunks
2 medium onions cut into chunks
1 leek, both white and green parts, cut into chunks
1 small bunch of celery including the heart, cut into chunks
5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
1 small pumpkin or squash with skin on, quartered
5 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
4 cups chopped greens such as kale, chard,
1⁄2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- In a large stock or soup pot, combine all the ingredients and fill to the brim with water.
- Cover, and bring to a boil.
- Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables are exposed.
- Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. Strain the stock and pour into glass storage jars. Refrigerating works well with any broth.
Drink 2 to 3 cups daily.
Eat a warm breakfast
If it’s cold outside, we need to make it warm inside. A warm bowl of porridge is the perfect way to start a cold winter’s day.
Julie Hanson says:
‘I always start the day in the winter with a hot drink. For me an ideal breakfast in the cold seasons would be brown rice porridge mixed with seeds and nuts with a few dried cranberries thrown in. It is simple to make I pre-prepare about three days of rice. It gets soaked for about five hours before putting into pressure cooker and adding double the amount of water to volume of rice with a pinch of salt for 30 mins, staying in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes off the heat to allow the rice to soak up the rest of the water. After cooling I store in the fridge in a sealed glass container and reheated just the right amount every morning with rice milk and add my seeds. It makes a delicious filling and warming start to the winter days.’
Go to bed earlier & extend sleep
Go to bed early and give yourself permission to lie in. Good sleep is essential to good health and this is especially true in winter.
The kidney energy is depleted in the winter by long hours of work, excessive high-intensity exercise, punishing diets and insufficient rest.
If we take care of our energy in winter, we will find ourselves feeling refreshed and healthy in spring.
Find stillness with meditation
Winter is an excellent time to start a meditation practice. By meditating we can create a fresh and positive thought process, allowing us to think clearly and make decisions.
Meditation can help you to feel more grounded and become more present, letting go of worries about the past or future.
You start vibrating at a higher level of energy and no longer feel engulfed by anger, fear or negative feelings that affect your thoughts and behavior. Instead these feelings are replaced with courage, calmness, acceptance and understanding.
8 Life Exercises for the Winter Season
- To understand it is natural to feel fear, notice threats, assess risks and respond appropriately.
- Being careful, and take care of yourself – work self trust.
- Notice whether what you think of as a risk is perceived by others differently, and may even be an opportunity.
- Find ways to discover courage – feel fear and do it anyway!
- Learn to discriminate – consider when it is appropriate to pull back and when to engage.
- When you are concerned about something in the future, imagine going beyond that point and looking back at it
- Learn to dissociate from scary situations and visualize changing outcomes.
- Try not to leave things so late you are continually fighting against tight deadlines.