Written by Brittany Masson, CLC | Photo by PixelsEffect/istockphoto.com
With winter upon us, it’s common to feel a little glum and sluggish. But could this post-summer grief be reinvented into anticipation for a change of pace? Instead of expecting that we continue to push ourselves, sweat often, and operate as our spritely summer-selves, we can ditch the guilt and sink into the slow moving, introspective winter season.
According to Chinese medicine, living in harmony with the seasons promotes a more balanced way of life. Winter represents Yin energy and it inherently encourages more self-observance, an eagerness to rest, and an overall slowing down. If winter is urging us to rest and recharge, why resist? Today, the best thing for your overall health and wellness may not be gearing up for a long, cold run in a foot of snow. Think curling up with a weighted blanket, hot cup of tea, and a crisp new journal. Keep reading for even more ways to attune your energy with the winter season.
1. Meditate on Gratitude
Have you started and stopped your meditation practice before? Now’s the time to jump back on the wagon. Change your perspective and look at it as your daily dose of mental medicine as you cope with shorter days and longer nights. As the winter blues take hold, it can be easy to lose sight of all you’re grateful for. Starting or ending each day with a pause for breath and practicing thanks has the power to radically shift your state of mind. Some sources for your toolbox: Guided tracks on Insight Timer or the Five Minute Journal.
2. Ritualize Self-Care
With more time spent nesting and staying cozy, look at ways that you can turn the mundane into the magical. Show yourself some intentional love! Take your skincare routine for instance. You need to do it anyway, so why not turn it into a thing of absolute luxury. Start with a face brush, uplift your skin with a tonal spritz, and end with a hydrating acupressure massage. For all tools and tips, we look to Canadian skincare company Province Apothecary. A self-love ritual is something to look forward to each day when it may seem like there is a little less on the go.
3. Switch to a Slower Sweat
Take the opportunity to really tune into what your body needs at this time of the year. It may not be the fast-paced spin class that you were addicted to all summer, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Winter brings with it a Yin energy, which is a “symbol of earth, femaleness, darkness, passivity, and absorption.” Movement such as yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, or swimming are great options that allow for more restoration of the nervous system while still tapping into those happy-making endorphins.
4. Put Your Plans on Paper
Winter encourages us to turn inwards. If your lack of energy has shortened your workouts, do your best to use that new-found time for this valuable reflective me-time. Emulate mother nature’s rhythm, invite yourself to pause, almost become dormant, as you conspire and create plans for the turn of spring. This could mean scheduling your marathon season or planning a fitness-focused weekend away with your sweat buddies. The Year Compass Booklet is a free resource to guide both a deep reflection of the past year and create a detailed manifestation for the future.
5. Sleep, Then Sleep Some More
You aren’t imagining the feeling of fatigue in the winter. Studies suggest that lessened natural light exposure impacts the natural circadian rhythm. This means that those 5 p.m. sunsets trigger your brain for more sleep, and we say go for it! Clocking extra zzz’s can work wonders for your physical and mental health. According to SCL Health, getting a full night’s sleep can strengthen your immunity, prevent weight gain, boost your mood, and improve memory. Give yourself some grace if your body just can’t seem to make it to those 6 a.m. workouts that were a breeze to attend in the summer.
6. Nurture a Creative Interest
We could never suggest that you completely shut off your ‘can-do’ attitude during the winter months. So as you sidle up to the fireplace, perhaps a creative project is one that would really fit the vibe. Learning how to knit, finally taking that online training course you’ve been talking about, or putting paint to paper for the first time are all activities that can give you a sense of accomplishment, while still maintaining your loungewear look. Online platforms like Skillshare, MasterClass, or Domestika all make accessing new creative endeavors easy and affordable.
If you’re feeling particularly sluggish this winter, there is a chance you could be experiencing burnout. Here are 6 Signs of Burnout (3 Aren’t What You Think).