Old Habits Die Hard: Tips for Winter Self-Care
January 11, 2020
From the pages of Issue 5: Black + White
By Samantha Romanowski | @unionholistichealth
Winter is upon us, whether we are prepared for it or not. By the end of each season, I am ready for the next one; I see this transition as an opportunity to reset, create new habits, and make lifestyle adjustments so I can feel more grounded and less stressed. Who doesn’t want that during the holidays and at the start of a new year?!
Winter is a perfect time for rest, reflection, and restoration. As the life force around us slows down, it’s in our nature to do the same. According to Chinese Medicine, winter is the time we should be nourishing our yin energy. Think of yin and yang energy like those old-timey oil lamps. Yin is the oil that allows the fire (yang) to burn. If the oil (yin) isn’t replenished, the fire (yang) will burn out. Our yin is nourished by deep, rejuvenating rest. The kind that the dark, still days and nights of winter can provide.
It’s easy to move through our days and seasons without resting and reflecting, I get it. You want to get out on the mountain or trail, meals have to be prepped, parties attended, and businesses run. But if we don’t take the time to rest and recharge when our bodies need it, we can set ourselves up for illness, exhaustion, and stress.
Remember hygge? It was all the rage in 2018. Gettin’ cozy in your thick socks, next to a fire with candles and a book and those itty bitty twinkle lights and mug of something delicious sounds awesome, but that doesn’t have to be the only way you rejuvenate this winter. Truly nurture yourself with some of these ideas instead:
- Meditation. It’s the activity that will help us reconnect to ourselves. It allows us to pull away from habituated thought and emotion to connect to the deepest part of our being—our soul.
- Journaling. Reflect on your year—give yourself the space to appreciate what you’ve done and how your experiences have prepared you for what’s next.
- Warm baths or steamy showers, followed by a rubdown with deliciously scented oil. Dry skin be gone!
Eat appropriately for your climate. Food can enhance our ability to adapt to the environment. When it’s cold, eat food that will warm the body up:
- Replace that green smoothie with a mug of bone broth. Your body will be deeply grateful.
- Consume more cooked foods like soups and stews, which allow the body to expend less energy digesting. Soups and stews also provide extra hydration.
- Grains, roots, and seeds help move the body’s energy inward.
- Healthy fats, dark leafy greens, and roasted root veggies are most nourishing to the body in winter.
Feelin’ Like a Baller?
- Flotation therapy: Float in saltwater for deep relaxation.
- Infrared sauna: Sit in a superhot box to sweat your body into relaxing.
- Massage therapy: Get a rubdown to release tension.
- Halotherapy: Immerse yourself in the negative ions of a salt cave.
- Travel to a warm, sunny climate: Costa Rica surf retreat, anyone?
Samantha studied Amma Therapy at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts. She shares her practice of Chinese Medicine, Amma Therapy, and holistic nutritional consulting to those seeking alternative and complementary healthcare.
You can learn more about her work at www.unionholistichealthoc.com