It can be tempting to start the year with the bang of fireworks you experience at the stroke of midnight and swiftly seek to jumpstart change in different areas of your life. But what if spending time intentionally and deeply nourishing your inner world was just the spark you needed to begin the year at your best?
Humans used to live in agreement with nature’s cycles. Advances such as electricity, while transformative, altered the human connection to the Earth’s circadian rhythm.
Each season has many opportunities to adjust our habits to create more balance between our bodies and the external environment, and therefore, thrive during the season. During winter, which is identified by shorter days, longer nights, and less sunlight, this can mean slowing down, deeply nourishing yourself, and keeping warm and well-rested. This helps to plant the seeds for renewed vitality in the new year. As nature slows down and hibernates during the winter, the process of new growth and regeneration for the spring has already begun.
The winter season allows for deeper introspection and nourishment so that our seeds and intentions can develop internally before they blossom in spring. So stay warm, hydrated, and nourished, and try to give yourself the extra time and space to slow down and rest in this profound season of stillness.
Here are some ideas to consider in creating your own Winter Thriving Guide:
1) Create a winter survival kit — prepare your environment with items to help soothe, warm, and entertain you — candles, a hot water bottle, warming drinks, books, relaxing music, warm clothing.
2) Create an energizing morning routine — begin your day by drinking 1-2 glasses of water upon waking (an inner bath), prayer/meditation, deep breathing, light movement.
3) Create a soothing evening routine — turn off electronics 90 minutes before sleep, participate in relaxing/calming activities, read, dim lighting, practice some deep breathing, meditate/pray.
4) Make a winter bed date — getting in bed by 10-11 pm will help you stay within the natural circadian rhythm when your body really starts to slow down so that it can inwardly rev up. Cell rejuvenation occurs, hormones reset, digestion, and detox of liver and blood occurs while getting quality sleep.
5) Discover a new way to exercise — explore yoga, mobility/stretching, tai chi, qi gong, strength training.
6) Learn the winter way of eating — nourish yourself with warming foods such as winter greens, root vegetables, small amounts of meat or fish protein. If you are a vegetarian, eat more beans, nuts, and tempeh.
7) Take really good care of your skin — use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air, avoid really hot showers, and use a moisturizer while still damp from your shower to seal in hydration.
8) Practice self-acceptance — fears can freeze us so that we feel stuck and hopeless. Observing fears without judging them can liberate us from the stagnation that fear sows. Learn the gentle art of “witnessing” to ourselves without judging ourselves. Rather than attempting to overcome our fears, we can learn to recognize and accept them. Self-awareness and self-acceptance burn and thaw our fears so that we become “unstuck” and can move on healthfully.
What would you include in your Winter Thriving Guide?