Once again, it’s time to post a winter checklist of all the things I have pulled together over the years to keep me feeling my best during the darkest month of the year.
With Winter Solstice last weekend and Christmas, Kwanzaa and Winter Holidays this week… this is the perfect time to make sure we are doing all we can to feel our best and slow down and care for our inner spark while the world sleeps on around us.
It’s okay to take these winter months slower, to tend to our inner needs more, and to make sure we are getting lots and lots of sleep.
It’s not only okay, it’s what we are *supposed* to be doing.
So let’s run through 6 questions that you should ask yourself at the beginning of each winter, in order to feel your best:
1) Are you drinking plenty of water each day?
More important than the foods that we will eat today is our hydration status, especially amidst all this dry artificial heat in our workplace and winter fires in our homes.
Drink and drink and drink even more water then you are used to.
It’s easy to remember to drink water in the summer when you are perspiring, hot, and sticky.
It’s tricky to remember to drink it in the winter when you are dry and cold and flaky.
Drink it anyway.
2) Are you taking an oil supplement?
Combat the winter dryness and lift the winter fog in our brains with health omega oils: fish oil, flax seed oil, cod oil, krill oil, coconut oil… any Omega supplements will help smooth out your days and ease your body from the brittleness that winter brings.
A kind reader shared this one with me and it is my new fav: Ovega 3
3) Are you sleeping more than you usually do in the spring/winter/fall?
Allow yourself to re-connect to the natural rhythm of the earth.
These days of bright artificial lights and TV channels that blast shows 24 hours a day can keep us feeling like there isn’t much difference between the middle of the night and the middle of the day. There is. To your body, to your pineal gland, your hormones, your muscles, your brain… the difference between night and day is iron clad.
You are meant to sleep at night, and you are meant to sleep longer in the winter months.
Allow your body to get an extra hour of sleep each night during the winter… at least in honor of Winter Solstice, vow to sleep an extra hour each night this week and see if your mood, energy level, eating habits, activity level and joy all get a boost!
4) Are you getting out there and touching the earth each day?
We all build up free radical damage, it’s a normal part of life.
What is not normal is that we are accruing damage from them, instead of letting them be effortlessly neutralized by the worlds biggest anti-inflammatory ever… the earth.
Ten minutes of direct contact with the earth will literally neutralize all the inflammation in your body from head to toe, inside and out.
If I could hook each and every one of you up to a PET scan and show you the difference just ten minutes would make to your body you would be so in love with the earth you would embrace her every day.
And if you find you are not getting your ten minute date outside with mother earth every single day, please begin taking a Vitamin D supplement and continue to take it all winter long if you are not already. (And for more ideas on why touching the earth is so healing for you, even in winter… grab my free Earthingâ„¢ Idea Book at the top of my right side bar on any page of my website…)
5) Are you pooping?
It’s normal for everything to slow down in the winter, but if your bowels are feeling full of rich and hearty winter meals and you are feeling dense inside, hopefully upping your water intake, taking tons of healthy fish or flax seed oil, and laying on the earth each day will help restore your daily rhythms.
If not, my favorite remedy is juicing a whole bunch of apples… or eating a prune a day.
And as a last resort, a cup of nighttime tea with senna in it will certainly help you feel back to normal the next day.
6) Are you allowing yourself gain a few pounds?
You might be an enlightened buddha thriving off the energy of the universe, but your body is an organic, human thing that is connected to the physical earth and responds to the rhythms of the seasons and needs nourishment.
Every winter it is normal to slow down and allow a few extra pounds to sustain and warm you.
It is like-wise just as effortless and natural to lose several pounds in the spring as the world awakens and we are drawn to more physical labor such as preparing garden beds, trimming the lawn, spring cleaning our homes, and walking barefoot on the beach.
If we don’t attach all the typical BS to our weight that we usually do, the few pounds that warm us in the winter will be shed without a second thought in the spring.
This is the natural rhythm of the animal world all around you.
The first half of winter, while food is still plenty and days grow darker, are a time to allow yourself to find nourishment in foods and warmth under your blankets, eating more and sleeping longer.
In a few months, as the pantry empties out and the holiday parties are long gone, there will be a natural thinning time, a time when the days become noticeably longer and your thoughts turn to the fresh spring salads that will be popping up in your garden.
It is only when we attach a negative meaning to our weight that we attach heaviness and permanency and BULK to it… and these pounds become a part of how we see ourselves forever.
We get locked into battle with them and they fight to stay and add and grow, year after year after year.
As a result, most people tend to gain a few pounds a year (despite being locked in constant battle and fighting against it the entire time) and accrue this mass permanently, instead of easily gaining and losing a few pounds with the seasons. It just shows that fighting weight isn’t the way to go.
If we dropped all our mental baggage around this rhythm, a rhythm of ebb and flow, of nourishment and lean times, of seasons, we would not gain weight year after year after year, instead we would gain and release.
It’s only our society that fears weight gain that makes it almost *impossible* to drop the pounds without thinking twice about it late winter and early spring.
Now is not the time to allow our culture’s baggage to taint what should be a natural time of celebration, stocking up, and preparing for the winter ahead.
If you welcome this seasonal change with gratitude, you will be healthier for it.
Want more reasons why your weight should not be stressing you out right now?
Have a wonderful wintertime and the happiest of holidays this week… and I will see you in a few days as I touch base with you right before New Years Eve…
PS — If you like pinterest, you might find some fun ideas on my Fall/Winter Health Tips Pinterest Board here:
And my Winter Spirit board here: