As the nights draw, learn to be in rhythm with your natural flow with my favourite winter health meditation, mindfulness, yoga and healthy diet tips…
In my experience, the best way to stay healthy and happy over winter is consistent practice. Set your day up to do at least one nice thing every day. You will reap the rewards as you feel energised and balanced.
Find what you enjoy doing and stick to it. Be disciplined. True freedom only exists through a disciplined mind. I don’t always feel like doing my yoga practice, but when I do I feel amazing and alive. So can you!
Here’s my go-to list for how to stay positive, strong and healthy through winter and beyond…
1. Get moving
Find an exercise you enjoy and put it in the diary as a date to yourself. Dopamine, our pleasure hormone, increases when you exercise, and you produce endorphins that help you feel relaxed and positive. Even as a Health Coach, I put my yoga and meditation practice in my diary. That way I stick to it.
But it doesn’t need to be yoga. Go for a brisk walk, a swim or a round of golf. If you enjoy what you do, you’re more likely to succeed and feel the winter health benefits.
2. Go outside
The research is clear that being outdoors increases serotonin levels, which is a great mood stabiliser. Even when it’s cold or damp, take time to connect to nature. Notice the birds and the ambient sounds around you. Gather leaves and make something with them at home. Check out my Monday Mandalas from my walks. Even a few minutes outdoors can lift spirits.
3. Take time to breathe
This might sound funny as you breathe all the time! But focussing on the breath, deliberately, can instantly connect you to yourself. Practice breath awareness for five minutes a day. As you reap the benefits, you will be encouraged to try it for longer and then suddenly you have a meditation practice! I like this breathing app.
4. Smell yourself well
Essential oils come into their own over the colder months. Smell has an effect on the limbic brain, which is closely linked to emotions and memory. Many oils like Eucalyptus, Thyme and Oregano contain anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
Infusers or oil burners can create a lovely atmosphere and scent at home. Or, you can mix drops into a base oil such as almond or coconut for massaging. Massaging your feet after a bath is a wonderful and simple thing to do. Feet soak up oils and distribute them throughout your body, like an aroma shower!
You can also use essential oils in the bath. You will need a base product to blend oils into, otherwise the oil will float on top. Try adding 12-18 drops to dried milk powder or full fat milk as the base. The fats disperse the oil and are easy to absorb into the body. (Citrus oils can be strong and cause a reaction on sensitive skin, so use wisely).
Essential oils are a great resource during Covid too. As well as being natural and safe for the environment they lift your mood and contain cocktails of anti-bacterial ingredients. Think Tea Tree or Marjoram, or my favourite is Lemongrass.
5. Tap into the power of flowers
Winter is a time to plant seeds and germinate ideas. During this season, it’s easy to veer towards self-reflection and it’s a good time to connect to your spiritual side. Flower essences can help you connect to yourself. They work on a higher vibration, helping you gain insight into your life.
There are many companies producing flower essences including Australian Bush to Bach Remedies. I use flower essences all the time. The flowers embody the positive state, their natural vibrations help me feel happy and to return to wellbeing. Here are a few I find invaluable:
Mustard – helps lift the spirit.
Walnut – use for times of transition and change.
Oak – helps with finding strength during adversity. Think acorn to tree!
Elm – great for when you feel overwhelmed, with too much going on. It helps strengthen resolve.
Olive – reduces fatigue, to make you feel rested and supported.
Wild Oat – helps you find direction and purpose.
Wild Rose – allows you to look at life in a fresh light.
6. Become aware of your surroundings
Notice how your environment effects your mental health. Think of things you can do to change your living space. Add splashes of colour like a red jar or a yellow wall. Wear colours you are drawn to. Buy a plant or burn oils to create a healing space.
Try this: notice what colours you are drawn to and also what colours you don’t like. It’s likely they will give you an insight into yourself or help with a problem you are currently experiencing. When you go out, choose a colour to focus on. This is a simple mindfulness exercise that will focus your mind.
Here is a quick guide to colours based on the ancient Chakra system of healing…
Red – grounding and enthusiastic. In excess: this is fiery. In depletion: you may lack direction and energy.
Orange – creativity. Brings light to a gloomy mood and helps us connect to our creativity. The flip side can be depression. Use alongside Mustard flower essence
Yellow – a ray of sunshine. Brings positivity and joy. Great if you need a boost of energy. Use Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) essential oil to burn around the home. It’s also antimicrobial too, so a great winter oil. It will lift your energy and help restore balance. A strong and powerful scent to fill your space with sunshine!
Pink – the Heart energy. Unconditional love. Self-love and acceptance. Sidney Rose from the Australian Bush Flower remedies is a wonderful flower essence to use as a heart tonic.
Green – healing and cleansing. Green is soothing to the eye. After long periods on the computer this is your colour. According to Paraselcus, it calms the eyes and the mind. Go for a walk and notice green. Drink a green juice or green tea. Peppermint essential oil as a foot bath will help dissolve a tired body and mind.
Indigo – expression. Speaking your truth! This colour also soothes the mind.
Purple – healing and balancing. Release negative thinking.
Violet – regenerates the nervous system and aids bone growth. Good for menopause where we need our new bones to grow healthily and also during the winter when we lack sunshine and vitamin D.
Silver – peace and persistence.
Turquoise – connects us to our feelings and intuition. You may be drawn to a particular stone to wear or carry in your pocket.
White – cleansing and healing. Purifies the body. Can use with Rock Rose Flower Essence for any type of cleansing and release of toxic states. White is often used as a visualisation colour and is deeply cleansing and healing.
7. Do something creative!
I love making mandalas. Go for a walk and collect leaves, acorns or conkers. Pick whatever draws your interest and be creative. Sketch, paint, or trace leaves. Do this with friends online or with your family. When you are creative, you lift your energy field. I made this out of satsumas and it’s on the floor now looking beautiful!
8. Eat seasonally
Don’t you love the colours of different squashes? Nature always provides what you need to be in balance. Think spices like cinnamon and cloves, fresh ginger and chillis. Try making healthy soups with sweet potato and butternut squash. I buy small squashes so I can look at them. I find the colour and shape so beautiful. And when I’m ready I can roast them in the oven.
9. Keep connected with others
It’s easy to hibernate in winter – but like all things, it’s only good in moderation. As a social being, make sure you cultivate friendships. You may be drawn to volunteer, which will get you out meeting people. When you help others, you will feel great. Find what’s right for you and if you do feel lonely or isolated look for help. Join a group and find like-minded people who will support you.
10. Create a vision board
When clients come to me, we may do a vision board. Try one now. Write down all your desires, what you are good at and how you want to see your life in the future. Ask yourself: “what makes my heart sing?” Remember, this will change as you change. Now, place this where you will be reminded of your intentions. Add to it. It’s your life map.
When you set your dreams and desires onto paper they manifest. Discover yourself and be surprised what is revealed. Meditation does this too. It reveals and opens up possibilities. It’s magical to see your desires unfold as you connect to your potential and live your life to the full.
11. Praise yourself (at least once a day!)
Positive thinking can change your mindset. Choose to be happy. If you find that during winter, you feel gloomy or suffer with SAD – turn it around. When you feel a negative thought, think a positive one up in its place. If that is too challenging, close your eyes and focus on your breath. As you breath in say the word ‘love’, as you breath out say ‘now’. Do for one minute and then see how your mind has shifted! It works every time for me!
I’d love to hear your tips and how you stay focussed and well during the winter – especially during Covid 2020. Need some extra winter nurturing? Contact me for more information about my health coaching via Zoom.