As the winter months settle in, it's time for a winter awakening, where the colder season offers a unique opportunity for realignment, focus and awakening.
Whilst winter brings with it some of the most magical times of the year, in Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it is also a time when our self-care routine must step up to higher levels!
The simple facts are, when our bodies are exposed to colder climes, we lose heat faster than it is produced, leaving us feeling chilly; whilst our heart must work harder to keep us warm; our blood vessels narrow, so that our hearts can focus on pumping blood to the major organs including our brains. How amazing are our bodies?
And it’s not just our cardiovascular system, which is put under pressure in the cold, our body’s fluid levels also dwindle due to the dryness of the winter air, urging us to breath more deeply, which in itself contributes to higher levels of fluid loss and leads to many more dehydration cases over the colder months.
The cold, dry air also aids the passing of viruses and it’s based on that, and our hunkering behaviours over the winter months that makes for a breeding ground for colds, flus, and respiratory illnesses as we pass them more easily to one another.
Before you set off to sunnier parts, we’ve listed some of our top well-being tips for mind, body, and soul, which we hope you’ll find helpful to guide you on your journey of awakening…
- **Mindful Mornings:** Whilst the Dawn Chorus may have dissipated, the majesty of the sunrise arrives, each day. So, if you missed it today, fear not, it’s back tomorrow! How majestic is that?
So, we inspire you to charge your mug of hot matter to the sky and connect with mother nature on a deeper level.
Even just through heightening your awareness of your surroundings, you will reap the benefits of this and feel more whole. Take time for a few moments of mindful breathing, where you notice the breath and its natural rhythm flowing in and out of your body, all to help create a peaceful morning which will in turn set a positive tone for the day.
- **Hydrate Inside Out:** Cold weather is incredibly dehydrating, not just for us externally with our skin and hair, but also internally. As we battle the elements of this cold season, it’s important to really take time to stay hydrated by drinking fluids as often as you can, morning, noon, and night! You can also encourage healthy fluid levels through incorporating moisture-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and soups into your diet. After all, hydrated skin is happy skin!
- **Winter Skincare Ritual:** Similarly to adjusting your wardrobe from one season to the next, it’s important that you adjust your skincare routine to the season you’re in. To combat the harsh winter air, use a hydrating cleanser to not only help remove the dirt, sebum, oil and dead skin cells, but also to nourish your skin as well. Follow with a rich in vitamin moisturiser to replace any moisture lost and smooth and soften your skin and treat your skin with a weekly hydrating mask for an extra moisture boost; leaving you with brighter and more hydrated skin through the colder days. And you might think you can do away with that SPF cover, but that’s a no go! The UV rays in winter may well be lower, but the sun is still powerful enough to damage your skin.
- **Nourish Your Body:** Explore the fruits of this season to boost your body’s function. In colder weather, it’s so easy to reach for the comfort food, but before you do that, take a moment to consider what your body might need in this moment… We’re not getting the same levels of vitamin D we were getting just a few months ago, so consider how you can bolster your Vit D bank, with your choice of nutrition. We love to make comforting, hearty, and nutrient-rich soups and stews with mushrooms, one of the most nutritious vegetables of the season. And for those of you who are more of a fruit-kind-of-person, fruits with masses of vitamin D include bananas and oranges! Embrace this season for its wondrous seasonal veg, from the sweet potato to red cabbage and turnip - making for the perfect, warming soups and stews. A well-nourished body contributes to a resilient mind as well as body.
- **Gentle Movement:** Engage in gentle exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi to keep your body and mind active. These activities not only promote physical wellbeing but also enhance mental clarity and focus. And regular exercise, can help improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Not found your movement yet? There are so many ways to move and they all have huge health benefits, so start with something you know you can do easily, like walking. A walk in nature can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, bolster your Vitamin D levels and improve your concentration. What’s not to love?
- **Create Cosy Sanctuaries:** Your home is where you heart is, is a cliché – noted, but it’s also the top and tail of it. We spend so much time in our homes, so why wouldn’t we make sure they are the perfect sanctuary from which to escape the world? We like to designate cosy corners across ours which encourage rest and relaxation. Use candles, soft blankets, warm lighting, and your favourite books to create a little eerie. Having a comforting space to retreat to fosters a sense of tranquillity and peace, Hygge perfection, we’d say!
- **Digital Detox:** Take breaks from screens this season! Whilst technology has so many benefits, it is important that during the winter months we take the opportunity to pause, disconnect and reconnect with the world around us. Put your phone away, write in a diary, read a book, go for a walk, or engage in face-to-face conversations, it couldn’t be a better time to get together with friends and family. Studies have shown that stepping away from social media can help with better sleep, reduces stress, prevents depression, anxiety and boosts mental well-being.
- **Embrace Nature:** Despite the chill, nature has its own winter beauty. Take time to enjoy the world around us in this beautiful time of year, and bundle up, breath-in the crisp air and enjoy the winter landscape, with its serene snow-covered scenes, which are rejuvenating for the soul. Whilst out and about look for the creatures living alongside us and observe their behaviours, as some enjoy their hibernation periods, whilst others continue to live their busy lives feeding, hunting, and surviving the winter months. Natural England, amongst others have demonstrated how important spending time in nature is for our wellbeing.
- ** Warm Winter Hygge Evenings** Embrace the Danish concept of Hygge for boosted happy levels, fewer cortisol spikes, weight regulation, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety. Gratitude and mindfulness are key components of this wellness trend, but also there are physical ways in which you can create hygge. Start with your winter evenings and carve out your very own ritual, lighting candles, enjoying a warm drink, and a wholesome meal (go organic where you can) and indulging in activities which bring you joy and connection with loved ones. Don’t forget the greenery – surround yourself with plants for an added Hygge-boost!
- **Reflect, Manifest and Set Intentions:** Winter is a reflective season, so take time to look back on the past year, acknowledging what went well and maybe what didn’t go so well, before considering what you’d like to aim for in the months ahead.
Starting a manifesting regime throughout your day or week, is a great way to focus yourself and encourage positive mind chatter! After all, by replacing negative thoughts with positive, you are only going to start thinking more optimistically. Whether you scrawl your intentions on your mirror in lipstick, or pop it in a notebook quietly, the art of manifestation prompts empowerment and can help you to focus on what is important to you in that moment leaving you feel motivated for the day ahead.
At this time in the year, it’s important to embrace the opportunity for personal growth and renewal.
The winter months are not just a time of cold weather but a chance for a deeper connection with yourself and the things and people around you. By incorporating these self-care practices, you can create a winter awakening that nurtures your mind, body, and spirit.