Getting the Most Out of Winter

Getting the Most Out of Winter

As winter starts I like to remind myself how many animals use this time to hibernate.

“Nice concept”, a little voice from within said as I reflected on how and why these creatures withdraw.
If you are anything like our family we had every intention of slowing down this year, we started off well by not over committing to as many work and social events. Somehow now though, we are half way through the year and both Simon and I are wondering how we have managed to get to a place of feeling “overworked and stressed”. We have ticked off a number of goals but as always there is a cost and we are both wandering around like bears with sore heads, looking for our cave to retreat into!!!

When we push ourselves each day we inevitably tax our adrenals, the gland associated with the fight or flight response. When the adrenals are constantly CALLED INTO ACTION for energy, it can lead to morning anxiety, insomnia, blood sugar problems, and a disruption in the endocrine system. If we live under constant stress (like many of us do) the system begins to break down and our bodies become depleted. We can’t live on adrenaline, on the emergency batteries, forever.

Winter is the perfect time to move into rest and repair mode.

In winter the days are shorter with less natural light , which from a Chinese Medicine perspective means we have less natural warmth. It’s time to take stock and slow down. So I have decided to listen to the SEASONS, MY BODY and MY GRIZZLY FAMILY and reprioritise some restful and nurturing rituals that will help us all unwind again.

WINTER RITUALS TO RESTORE AND REJUVENATE.

  • Go to bed earlier. I might still get up early, before the boys, but there is sheer delight hitting that pillow by 9-9:30pm
  • Resting periodically throughout the day. Enjoy a new herbal tea while you read a few pages of a book. This gives us you chance to catch our breath. All of us have returned to a pot of herbal tea and reading together on the couch.
  • Try new forms of exercise. Most of us won’t want to turn into big fat bears so use winter as a time to experiment with different forms of exercise. Go for long vigourous walks and enjoy the cool, crisp air. Join a cycling group or swimming club. Find new running routes or raise the bar and commit to doing a small fun run with friends so you stay motivated to maintain your fitness.
  • Modify our eating habits by adding a few new good foods. During this time of year, winter squashes, root vegetables and dried mushrooms are all seasonably available. Parsley is a savory winter green full of Vitamin C. Avoid the pastas and try new recipes for filling hearty soups, Experiment with beans and pulses.
  • Try warm or hot cereals. Add dried goji berries and walnuts to warm rice cereals or sesame seeds and honey. Barley and spelt porridges are delicious alternatives to oats. Brown rice, apple and date porridge is delicious – see recipe and Chicken congee makes for a soul nuturing start to the day – see recipe.
  • Avoid cold and raw foods, as they are particularly hard to digest right now. Small amounts of uncooked fruits are okay but stewed are better again.
  • Enjoy long rejuvenating baths with aromatherapy oils and magnesium salts
  • Meditate more, go within. Use a guided meditation if you’re finding it hard to get started.
  • Try to turn artificial lights off as often as you can.
  • When the sun goes down, put away your phone, turn off your computer, and enjoy your family.

Love and winter warmth to you all!