When I begin to think about everything that winter has shown me in the depths of my soul, I feel immense gratitude for this reflective, quiet time. Then, thinking of others pushing beyond their limits, I almost feel enraged that more people aren't showing up for themselves in this way. It can be so easy to keep working beyond exhaustion, beyond the body's screaming signals of needing rest. It seems odd to fulfill some illusionary idea that we have to work hard and push forward or else we fail the assignment of life. Yet, what I know the truth of life to be is living. Living in the magical mundane moments of the cycles. Honoring these cycles through awareness of living in the present moment.
We owe it to ourselves to have rest during winter. I use the term winter in a myriad of ways, so let me share. Seasonally winter is a time of dormancy, quietude, hibernation. We see this reflected in nature, in the animals and plants alike. For humans, it has long been a time of making sure we can be cozy, warm and well nourished while the outside world becomes cold and limited in resources. In this modern day we think of warm soups on the stove, roasted veggies and baked goods accompanying the warmth of the wood stove. A time of true nurturance for the body and soul.
It can be so easy to bypass this time of Winter because it just so happens that there's more external engagement of gathering with family and loved ones during the holidays.
I have put together some essential notes below that characterize Wintering from my perspective. I hope this brings you comfort and ease as you read and remember what this season is all about!
Winter being an essential art, here are some tools to guide you through this season.
Rest. The body and mind both seek rest. Read a new book, take a nap, delete social media and other distractions. You deserve this break from obligations to reset for the next year ahead. And if there's no rest, one moves forward from depletion instead of rejuvenation!
Give yourself plenty of space throughout your days for processing, contemplation, and daydreaming. It's here in these moments that creativity naturally sparks through you!
Ground into your body with hearty, whole cooked foods. Think of the vegetables associated here - roots, squashes, animal fats, warming broths and stews. Along with warming spices that help the digestive system stay balanced.
One of my favorite resources for Seasonal eating is from Kearsley Tate Schweller. You can find her Winter Seasonal cookbook and rituals here.
Stay warm during these colder months. Slippers, sweaters, scarves and socks! The body seeks homeostasis. By keeping your internal temperature warm you set yourself up for nourishment.
Moisturize and oil the body. During the drafty cold nights, you may find your skin drying out. Access the Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga body oiling massage.
Spend time listening to the stories of the elders in your life. In Winter, we nourish our roots, and by listening to the stories of our elders and ancestors, we restore the connection within ourselves of remembrance. These elders can be blood related or not, all of the elders in your life have wisdom to share and it's time we listen with eager ears!
Reduce distractions! Allow yourself to simply be this season. What may be pulling at your heart strings? Are you listening and quiet enough to stir the cauldron of creativity? Releasing distractions (especially social media) allows the creative Vata energy to pulse through you. p.s. if you want to join us for the 40 Day Social Media Detox Challenge held on Telegram, click here!
Hold a boundary for yourself. Notice if you're overstimulated easily, over-committed with engagements, etc. If you need to cancel to better serve your body and mind, this is totally acceptable. You can give yourself permission to say no or cancel. It will be okay and your friends and loved ones will understand. You are the most important person in your life, so make sure to tend to your energetic boundaries!
Can you think of times when you have wintered before?
Has it been in the season of winter, or a space throughout the year when we've needed to retreat from the outside world?
What distractions can you reduce this season?
Are you properly nourishing yourself? Taking good care of yourself?
Do you feel grounded or frazzled?
From the suggestions above, which do you feel is the most out of reach in this moment? Can you work your way towards it with small changes each day?
Are you able to clear your schedule and make space for yourself?
Do you need to go to every engagement or is it better for you to hold a boundary with your energy exertion?
Remember, during this Winter season, tending to Self is the highest priority. Your friends and loved ones will understand if you need space to deepen your intimate connection to Self. Honor yourself, your roots, your body, your mind!
May you be well this season of inward reflection,
May you be well nourished,
May you be well comforted in the intimacy of Self exploration, and
May you be well loved!