So many people have become disconnected from the rhythms of the earth and the process of embracing nature to live seasonally. Living seasonally has nothing to do with following the modern thinking of buying the trendy fashions in clothes and home decorations that the mainstream world pressures us to conform to. Walking the path of living seasonally is about embracing the natural cyclical progression of the earth and allowing it to guide us in our daily journey.
For most people, winter tends to be a difficult time emotionally, physically and mentally. When I talk with people they often say that they dread winter because of its darker, colder and shorter days. Many people feel they are afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder and think that they need to bring more light into their world during the winter months or want a magic pill to fix their winter blues. During winter, we take on the pressure of the holidays, entertaining, socializing and the fast pace of work that doesn’t usually slow down just because it is winter.
Everything in the modern world is asking or expecting us to keep up the pace in a period of time that nature shows us exactly what we should be doing. In the winter, Mother Nature concentrates much of her energy in her roots, gathering and storing this energy to be reborn with new abundance in the spring. Following natures example, it is the time for each of us to go inward, reflect, recharge, and replenish so that we will be ready to experience rebirth in the spring.
Inward time does not mean to go indoors, crawl under the cover and hibernate until spring. That is not balance and will often lead to deep depression and very large imbalances. During winter, we should prepare our bodies for a new season by adjusting our diet, exercise routines, social activities, and taking the time to dream of what is to come for us in the spring awakening.
When the weather is cold and damp, we need to dress warmer and alter our diet to warming foods that nurture and nourish us. Soups, made with bone broth, miso, roasted vegetables, warming curries, whole grains, steamed or baked vegetables, hot cocoa, chai tea and other herbal teas (especially root teas) are perfect foods to keep us satisfied and warm during the winter. However, these heavier foods may make our regular workout routine more difficult. That is okay! In the winter moderation is the key to good health. We should not overexert ourselves by using energy that is not abundant in us during the winter darkness. However, you still need to be sure and do some exercise and deep breathing throughout the winter months. Tai Chi, yoga, swimming, walking in nature (enjoying some natural sunlight), and meditation are all beneficial gentle exercises for winter wellness and balance.
Root herbs and warming spices will serve you well in this time of retreat from the cold.
- Ginger root or Lemon Ginger Warming Tea is anti-inflammatory, will help circulation, aid digestion, and is warming. Ginger is also a great ally for warding of the symptoms of colds and flu.
- Burdock root is a grounding herb that strengthens the immune system, kidneys, and liver. It is especially useful for those with skin problems, such as blemishes, boils, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, and acne. It is also a prebiotic which promotes the beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
- Mashmallow root tea (cold infused) will soothe dry tissue of the respiratory system and the urinary system. Especially the bladder and kidneys, which benefit from the extra support during the winter.
- Cinnamon is warming and increases general circulation, balances blood sugar levels, and moves along stagnant digestion in the body.
A word of caution regarding the holiday season and your inner balance. The holidays are a wonderful time to spend reconnecting with family and friends. Unfortunately, holiday celebrations tend be overkill and become overwhelming. There are so many parties and you may feel pressure to attend every invitation. Gift giving and the materialism of the holidays also add unnecessary time and financial stress to many people’s lives. Most people will understand and respect you if you communicate with them that you are taking it easy this winter and embracing a simpler lifestyle. In fact, many people will become intrigued and may ask you more about finding their own journey to mind, body and spirit balance. Extravagant eating from the food-oriented holidays can really leave you feeling horrible and possibly gaining weight. A way to maintain balance during the holiday season is to not overextend our energy levels with too many parties, excessive food and alcohol. If you happen to feel like you did over indulge or just feel like your digestive system is sluggish we have created Gallbladder and Liver Support Tea for just this situation. Digestive Bitters taken before meals or directly after can improve your digestive functioning.
In conclusion, when we find harmony in the earths rhythms, we tend to be healthier and feel much more satisfied. Over eating can promote sluggishness, combined with a slower digestive fire can lead to a compromised immune system function. It is important to find your balance between food, exercise, and herbs that will support you. This may seem too simple, but this entire article is about reminding us of the importance of simplicity and stillness during the winter. Sometimes we get so caught up in the fast pace of modern society that we forget the basic instincts and wisdom that our ancestors used to be strong and healthy.
Looking for some awesome books to curl up and read during the winter rest time while you dream of what your energy will put forth in the spring? 📚