We have all heard of SAD, otherwise known as Seasonal Affect Disorder, which I know can be perceived as a real thing. I know some of you are saying, “but it is real, because I have it!” Trust me I live with someone who used to say he had it. But I challenge you to realign with what is really going on. We live in a go-go-go environment, constantly being pushed and expected to be at full-throttle all day long at 110%. No wonder we are an exhausted society!! Over 25 years ago, I learned about Chinese Medicine when I enrolled in Acupuncture school and I learned a whole new way to look at life…and it made sense. I was taught another way to look at life and started honoring my life by the seasons. Each Season has it’s gifts and strengths and if you start to move with the universe instead of against it, the pressure finally releases. The goals don’t have to seem like insurmountable summits to be fought with grit and super hard work. When you realize everything is energy, you can take the Season you are currently in and live from that space.
The energy of the Winter is to hibernate, to go inwards, to rejuvenate your reserves. There is strength in the stillness and quiet. If you look in nature as your guide you’ll see what I am talking about. The bear goes in for hibernation, after filling himself up from the previous seasons. He may wake to do some business, but for the most part, he is taking some serious nap time and ENJOYING it. All the leaves have fallen off the trees, landed on the ground, and have decomposed and created a sort of blanket on the soil beneath it. This is on purpose! This creates a rich and fertile soil to help the seeds that fell during the Fall. When Spring comes, they will have the nutrients they need to become that new tree or that new flower. That same cycle is happening in the rhythm of your body.
This is your opportunity to plant some real “seeds” of your intentions, new ideas, and maybe a new practice you are trying to discover for yourself. And then just let them percolate. That’s all you HAVE to do…for now. I have a "prescription” that I often use in my practice to help people get the best out of the Winter time.
- Take a Nap!- Yes! You heard me right, take a nap, like even 15-20 minute one in the early afternoon, if you can. The Latin, Europeans, and I'm sure more I don’t know of, take naps. As a culture it is not only accepted, but is celebrated!! Yes!!! You have permission that not only is it good for you but studies have shown, for years, that this helps more than hinders. Now I’m not saying go in your bed for 2-3 hours. No, this is not that. However, I am saying recharge, reboot, reconnect to your inner body and mind. Arianna Huffington is on a mission to not only promote but to make it a fabric of our society. Check it here for the article! Here’s a 4minute TedTalk on it. You just got scientific proof-You’re welcome!
- Eat Root Foods- Eat warming foods from the earth.. now all you salad eaters you’ll have to adjust a little.😉 Eating a lot of salads in the Winter is cooling to your body and you are already experiencing “cold” with the winter energy. Eat more root vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes (all varieties), ginger, beans, warming soups and stews, steel-cut oatmeal and throw some Goji berries on top.
- Exercise - Make the time to have more “yin” exercises. Yes, you may have a goal to lose weight and you can still do your workouts but add in some restorative yoga, or “yin” yoga. Some kind of "Flow" class to keep you in gentle movement.
- Schedule a vacation/ or a spa day- You need some sort of reward to look forward to. Putting a carrot, a prize to look forward to helps to give you a bit of “sunshine” when maybe you aren’t experiencing that much vitamin D.
- Enjoy some Red Wine!- Wahoo! Oh yes! Enjoying some red wine is particularly warming to the body. The richness and the full-body of a red wine can do wonders for your energy, and also helps relax your mind!
These are my GO-TO TIPS just for you for Winter. They are the reminders we all need to help us stay on track to laying the ground work for your next season: Spring! And, hey, throw a little meditation in there and you are as good as it gets!
Let me hear from you! What your Winter secrets are for keeping yourself in a rejuvenation mode all Winter long? It gets me really pumped to hear your thoughts!!