With the change of the seasons, from fall to winter, it is important to be aware of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Are we feeling in balance or out-of-balance? Is our skin and hair dry, do our joints ache, are we cold all the time? Is there an increase of mucus secretions, feeling of heaviness, stagnation, craving sweets, and/or insomnia? These are just a few signals that we may be out of balance.
The qualities of winter are cold, wet, fluid, cloudy, heavy…and at times dry and windy. These qualities can aggravate and cause imbalances in our body, mind, emotions and spirit. Winter allows the earth’s energy to move inward…to withdraw, be dormant. And even though we are not bears, tis the season of hibernation. The winter offers us to take more time for rest, preparation, grounded-ness, stillness and quiet time. Because our natural self is to be in-tune with nature, not only can winter’s qualities bring us out of balance, but they can also support us to rest, reflect, hold space, envision, cultivate a slower relaxed pace and withdraw some of our energies.
Being aware of our activities, what we do, see, hear, eat, sleep, touch and feel, can tell us, with our own intuition and common sense, what/how we need to re-balance ourselves.
Within the practice of Ayurveda, there are seasonal routines that help us with that. Here are a few:
- Eat warm, cooked, slightly oiled whole fresh foods, with lots of spices/herbs. Soups, stews, steamed vegies and porridges are good. Use seasonal root vegetables, rice, barley, and healthy organic oils such as olive oil, ghee, and avocados to say a few! Make lunch your biggest meal and decrease snacking.
- Avoid cold, raw food, salad and cold drinks.
- Drink 1-2 cups of warm water first thing in the morning. You can add small amounts of lemon/honey, if you wish. Sip warm water throughout the day, between meals.
- Bundle up!! Scarfs and hats especially. Treat yourself to a self-massage with warm organic sesame oil in the morning. Then rinse off with a shower. This protects your skin as a barrier and nourishes dry skin, stiff and achy joints and is grounding.
- Take time in the morning and evening for quiet time, meditation, journaling and other restorative activities. Turn off TV and devices 1-2 hours before bed. Make bedtime no later than 10pm and arise by 7am, at the latest.
- Keep your routine steady. Get outside when you can (especially in the sun!) and MOVE. Moderate and invigorating yoga, walking and other forms of exercise in the morning, bring warmth.
- Wear bright colorful fabrics, laugh, be lighthearted, cultivate a sense of purpose and share love!