The winter season is knocking on the door, and the invitation around this shift in weather from light to dark is to go within. The changing of the seasons not only affects what foods are seasonal and most nourishing to us, what herbs and supplements provide support but also allows us to look in spaces that we cannot normally access in winter. To me, this means it is time to readjust so that I can live in more alignment with what is occurring around me. So around, so within! Here are some actionable tips to allow you to live in more harmony with the season.
Emotionally + Spiritually: Bears hibernate in the coldest months of the year. The shift into cold, damp snowy weather invites us to explore our internal winter. Winter holds a level of darkness we can choose to make peace with. By coming to terms with the shadow that Winter casts upon our lives, we more deeply accept our night. This is a time to look into our shadow with more curiosity and compassion. Our shadow holds the secret to unlocking deeper layers of our operating system, making peace with those parts of ourselves we tend to lock away.
Foods + Spices: Drink hot soups and stews, meats and ghee. Consume foods that heat your body, warming spices such as cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, foods like oatmeal, soups, stews, steamed vegetables, ghee, teas and beans, asparagus, onions, eggs, chicken, turkey, and lamb.
Ayurveda Tips: Cold, damp, heavy weather moves slowly, as does winter energy within the body, so eating in a way that supports your body and the weather is crucial. Consume warm or hot teas and soups/ stews. These warm/ warming foods and beverages help counter the cold weather. Minimize or eliminate frozen or raw foods. Cooked and roasted is key!
Traditional Chinese Medicine Tips: Winter correlates to Water element, storage, containment, and going to bed earlier. Winter represents yin energy, darkness, cold, and moving slowly. It is a time to go within, conserve energy, and be comfortable in the stillness.
Essential Oils: Frankincense, Balsam, Myrrh, Fir Noble, Cedarwood, Sage Clary, Spruces and Pines. Place these on the bottom of your feet, to feel more rooted, on the spine, heart-space, or wherever on your body that you need more support.
Cycle: Please note that if you are a woman who gets her period every month, regardless of what season it is, when you are bleeding, this is your monthly winter. Menstruation is a time to be still, rest, nourish, and love yourself! Do not be afraid to say NO to what your body does not have energy for and to spend more time alone while your body sheds. Normalize this phase of the cycle as your rest cycle. You naturally will have little energy, so please honor your needs.
A story to illustrate my acceptance of Winter was when I moved up to a small ski town several years ago from a big city, where snow played a very small role. Here, in Aspen, Colorado, once it starts snowing in November, it often doesn’t stop until April or May. The cold got to me and even brought up feelings of anger and frustration that felt extremely uncomfortable. (Do you mean I have to go scrape snow off my car every single morning?!?) I fought it for a very long time, until one evening, I drove up to a trail on the ski mountain and took a walk. I bundled up with a big jacket, gloves and a hat and set out into the forest. The snow illuminated the path for me and as I felt the crunch of snow beneath my boots, I began to feel and see the magic of not only the darkness but the cold. This became a walk I did several times a week, and I would imagine myself meditating here when I was way away, by a visualization of sitting on the ground and feeling deeply loved and accepted by this land.
The magic of the season reflects the joy of giving, time with loved ones, and delicious foods. Let us remember to go within and shine a light.
( this means working through any issues that may arise, and allowing yourself relief, release, and evolution)
Do: Go on starlight walks in the snowy forest. Be guided by the light of the moon and dress warmly! Cook more meals in the crockpot, and find hobbies indoors or outdoors that help you manage the darkness, whether it's board games, skiing, snowshoeing, or painting. It can also be a great time to read, journal or bake!
Don’t: Consume raw veggies, salads, or smoothies. These are foods meant for spring and summer when there is more heat and digestive fire.
Don’t: Fight the urge to stay home and rest more. Although having the occasional holiday cookie is essential, consuming too much sugar slows our bodies, minds, and metabolism. Enjoy and celebrate, yet also stay mindful of how excess sugar can negatively affect you.
Acclimating your body, your spirit, and your frame of mind to shifting from the seasons is empowering and deeply nourishing. Do not fight with what is, lean into the discomfort, you will find your edges, strengthen your relationship with yourself, and become more resilient.
If you are looking for more support on your healing journey, check out my online digital journal!
Written by Cecily Lowdermilk, MNT
Bloom Healing + Nutriton, LLC 2023