Here we are in deep winter, post holidays, in a continuing pandemic. These are tough times for everyone. We’re at that point in the year where we often wonder, “When is Spring coming?” and “How much longer do I have to wear 10 layers just to leave the house?” While the cold, darker days bring many challenges, they are also an opportunity for radical acceptance of what is. We can’t change the weather, so why not embrace what is being offered instead of fighting it? Acceptance can bring a sense of peace and calm.
Below are 8 ways to welcome and fully embrace winter and be open to receiving the gifts this reflective season can bring.
Cook with warming foods and spices. Both Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, speak to the importance of eating warming foods and drinks in cold weather. Nutrient-rich, cooked foods, like root vegetables, soups, stews, and stir fries are both nourishing and grounding. Spices like ginger, turmeric, black pepper, garlic, chilis, cinnamon, nutmeg, mustard, cardamom, and cumin all increase heat in the body and support digestion. Our bodies have to work much harder to digest cold, raw foods and drinks.
Drink hot water and tea often. Ginger, chai, black, and oolong teas are all warming in nature. Hot water alone, or with fresh lemon, is fantastic for digestion, especially first thing in the morning. Make sure to rinse your mouth after, as lemon is very acidic and can erode tooth enamel. Check out all the benefits of hot water here.
Stay connected to community. Find at least one community you see regularly, either safely in person or online, and feel a strong connection with (e.g. art class, movement, dance, sports, activism, volunteer, faith community, etc.). Find communities on Meetup.com, Facebook groups, Nextdoor, and your local community center.
Spread love and make someone's day with a hard-written card. With technology overload and instant messaging, there's a special magic in both sending and receiving old fashioned snail mail with a personalized note to say you're thinking about someone. Include some stickers, inspiring quotes, or a small craft project for extra joy!
Look inward & reconnect with yourself. Journal, create art, make a vision board, cook new recipes!
Take a winter hike. Nature is magical in the winter. Snow-covered trees, hills, and homes, and artistic ice crystals in frozen waters offer a sense of wonder and delight. Take pleasure in knowing that these beautiful sights are here for a limited time only.
Enjoy hot baths. Hot water improves blood circulation, which can aid digestion and ease menstrual cramps. Adding a bit of Epsom salt can help with constipation and relax sore muscles. Bathing also increases levels of serotonin, the chemical produced by the brain associated with happiness and well-being. Have a free spa day at home, anytime!
Get comfy! While anytime is a great time to get comfortable, winter especially lends itself to this self-love practice. Rock your comfiest, coziest sweats, and slippers that feel like walking on clouds, wrap yourself in a fuzzy blanket, and breathe in the warmth of the season.
What resonated with you in this post? How do you welcome and embrace winter? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Wishing you a warm and cozy winter!