bring your self care awareness to new levels of love during the winter months
After having a reiki session a couple of years ago, one of the insights she received was to tell me to ‘not be scared of the dark’ I explained to the reiki practitioner I was having anxiety about living in Norway during the winter. She then went on to share her own experience of living in the north Canadian winters. Her dive into depression and even questioning her life. All of this depression and anxiety seemingly coming from no where but having a potent and harming affect on her wellbeing. It made me look back to the prior winter I had experienced, where my depression and self doubting were at their highest. I spent my days off in bed crying inconsolably and unknowing why I was so sad. The frustration made it even worse, when I couldn’t even give a realistic reason to why I felt that way. It put strain on my relationship and I didn’t know how to help myself. Its bitter sweat now, as the darkest times were what pushed me to do something about my wellbeing. I booked my yoga teacher training that winter, to be in a tropical country for the next winter to come. Just booking the training instantly gave my brain a boost of happiness. Knowing that I had put my foot down and made a decision that would unknowingly change my life forever.
Having had time to recollect on my experience and just listening to others, depression, no matter in what form is completely normal. It’s a state of being that all of us at some point in ours lives encounter. It can last hours, days, months, years. Its something we can’t avoid but instead we can change our perception on how to move through it and learn from the experience. Depression is often said to be your body talking to you, telling you something needs to change. To truly feel great happiness you must also feel great pain, they are one of the same and we can only strive to accept them as flow states forever morphing between the two. Learning to feel gratitude to all moments in life, as they will inevitable bring us deeper into our existence.
The tips I will go on to write about are routines or rituals that I use and have been helpful to my rising wellbeing. I’m native English so grow up with wet miserable winters, now I live in the mountains of Norway, where winter is on a whole new level. Some of these hacks are things I do daily, weekly or once a month. You don’t need to do everything at once, more like keeping all these goodies in mind for when you feel a little down or you just feel like it.
Coming back to the reiki practitioner story, she sat with me after the treatment and gave me her best advice to what helped her ( apart from her moving to live in a tropical country, but we can’t all do that) and this leads me nicely to my first tip for self care during winter…………….
Full spectrum light
I use my full spectrum light as soon as I wake up. I drink a big glass of water sitting in front of it, often I stay and meditate there for 5-20 minutes. I’m sitting about 30cm away from the light for roughly the recommended 30 minutes. If you live somewhere where you don’t see natural bright light in the mornings, the full spectrum light could help trigger your body into experiencing the same effects of natural bright light. It has helped me feel more invigorated in the mornings, whereas before I would struggle feeling groggy and be slow to wake up. There is some really interesting info about light in the article tagged here. Light
This is a traditional Ayurvedic ritual called garshana. Gently brushing your skin toe to head, with a bristle brush. The idea being that you brush towards the heart, to help stimulate the blood flow. I have been pretty consistent with this one, as I really enjoy the benefits. I use a long handled dry brush, think I bought it in Boots. I also like to mix an essential oil into some coconut/almond oil and put a few drops on the brush, I particularly love using cardamom oil, rosemary oil or silver fir around mensuration. Its best done in the morning or before you shower/bath. It’s a great way to wake up and does wonders for the lymphatic system, boosts mood and leaves your skin silky soft. Depending on your skin type, I dry brush 4-6 times a week. It’s not recommended for people with skin irritations or damaged skin. Check the link below for more info on dry brushing and why you should give it a go. Drybrushing
Ramp up your moisturising routine
I have fair skin and so the cold dry winters are not my best friend. Dry flaky skin and cracked lips are no fun. Its taken me a while to actually find a skin care product that I feel good buying. So I advise trying out different brands and researching what products our out there for your skin type. Especially if you are looking for ecological natural skin care. At the moment Im using Rudolph. I love to follow http://livingprettynaturally.com/ she has a ton of information on her website, I definitely recommend checking her out for good quality natural brands. I’m also starting to learn about essential oils, for mood, health and skin care. I’ve been adding a drop of rosemary oil to my daily moisturiser for an extra boost. Organic Rose otto is also great for a natural organic moisturising toner, I find this website extremely informative, if you would like to know more about the benefits and history of hundreds of oils. Oils
Its pretty much the Norwegian version of Hygge, that the Danes are so famous for. So, basically making your home cozy af. Lighting Candles, twinkly lights, warm blankets, big cups of hot tea, reading books by the fire, oh and changing bed covers is the best. Anything that creates nostalgia, or the feeling of coziness and warmth. It could also be inviting friends/family over for a home cooked meal with a bottle of red and later on playing silly board games. The point being to not be alone all the time, make sure you spend time with people you love and enjoy their’er company. It helps a million to spend an evening belly laughing so hard you nearly pee yourself.
Having a sacred bath/shower ritual that leaves you feeling all kinds of amazing
For all you people out there that have baths, you can totally go to town on creating a goddess worthy bath experience. Your favourite music, candles, scented bath oils, crystals, incense, scrubs, masks, rose petals, the perfect beverage to sip on and reading a good book. I could go on. Go nuts. If you are like me and don’t have a bath, then don’t despair, showers can also be goddess worthy experiences. You can still set the scene the exact same way you would for a bath, maybe whirl some palo santo around and dry brush with your favourite oil before you hop under the shower. As the water hits your skin visualise the water cleansing away the day. You can even play with hot and cold to give you an exhilarating boost. Bathritual
No matter how cold it looks. Make sure you are actually wearing warm enough clothes for the weather. Moving to Norway introduced me to actual warm, weather proof clothes.
I had obviously never worn woollen thermals and dune jackets before growing up in England. But if you’re not wearing the right clothes or footwear, your chances of actually being able to enjoy being out in the cold are much less likely. Wrap up and go for a walk or even a run, you’ll be surprised with how warm you get from the movement and you get to be out in nature, which is always good for the soul and releasing endorphins. JonnaJinton for some truly inspiring nature loving.
Eat warm and nourishing foods
If you like stews, curries and soups, winter is great for these types of meals. Food is pretty personal, so I wont say too much, just follow your intuition with what feels good to you. Get into your herb and spice cabinet and get creative. It can be easy to consume a ton of carbs in winter trying to feed your satisfaction, but try adding more veggies, seeds and nuts as they also give a great nutritional boost whilst keeping you feeling satiated. Pintrest is my fav go to, to find inspiring recipes. I also recommend getting a routine for breakfast, having all the ingredients stocked up for the week, so that you don’t run out mid week. Eary morning trips to the shops are no fun in the cold and dark. I make a smoothie most mornings but as the weather gets colder I will add a bit of hot water to bring the temperature up. Cold smoothies in the winter can be harsh on your digestion, so brining it up to room temp can be much more pleasant.
After Ive had a large glass of water first thing, I make my morning coffee with our Aeropress . I add my FourSigmatic 10 mushroom blend and adaptogen blend and mix it all in with a little bit of coconut oil topped up with OatlyKaffe. This combination is heavenly and the clarity and boost I get from this elixir is vital to my morning wellbeing.
Get moving and sweat
move your body enough that you sweat, and if appropriate use a sauna. I know that not everyone enjoys the feeling of sweating, but its an incredible way for your body to release and dare I say it, detox. Go take a spin class, kick boxing or hot yoga. If you’ve had a day from hell and your tense and tired, go find a sauna, drink plenty of water and just sweat it all out. If you are lucky enough to have a sauna at your yoga studio, get all warmed up then float away in a restorative or yin yoga class, by the end of the class winter will feel so far away. Love to sweat
I’am a ski instructor during the winter and although it might be an active job, I rarely break a sweat, so my amazing boss and friend has come up with these awesome winter workouts, check @proskicoach on instagram for the perfect, quick workouts, especially designed for skiers. Proskicoach
Discover your bedtime routine made for dreams
This one Is a big one. If there is one thing I cherish with all my heart, its getting 8-10 hrs sleep and preferably being in bed by 10pm. Now a lot of people would laugh out loud at this and say its impossible. I take sleep hella serious. If you haven’t tried sleeping 10pm-7am consistently for 4-6 weeks, then I urge you to try it and see how you feel. And of course if that’s just not gonna work for you, then aim for something that is regular and gets you at least 6 hours. Bring ritual into your bed time. Mentally and physically prepare yourself for bed. I like to make a turmeric latte, maybe an hour before bed, its like a signalling that bed time is soon. Maybe you and your partner take turns massaging oil into your feet/hands or back whilst lying in bed, you get to relax and catch up on each others days all at the same time. Delve into a good book and wrap up under the covers. Get a salt lamp and relax with the golden glow. If you have trouble getting to sleep, download a meditation app like Insighttimer. press play on a guided sleep meditation or my favourite, yoganidra. Game changer, there is so many to choose from and they are free. Learn more about sleep with Matthew Walker, the man who has written ‘Why we sleep: The new science of sleep and dreams’ check it out. Sleep
Thank for reading xxx