Many of us have mixed emotions when it comes to winter, so just how do we learn to embrace winter? Generally speaking, most people find that the dark, cold mornings and early evenings rob them of their ‘get-up-and-go’, leaving them feeling demotivated and deflated. But for others, winter can be a time to enjoy brisk walks outdoors, then cosy up at home with a hot drink.
Whether you love or hate winter, none of us look forward to the seasonal ‘flu bugs and colds that it brings. And now we’ve got Covid-19 to worry about too. Add to that the fact that 29 percent of adults experience symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), with symptoms ranging from low energy levels, to low self-esteem and anxiety, while 57 percent report that their mood worsens in the winter. It’s easy to see why winter has a bad reputation!
How to Enjoy Winter
But it’s not all negative. There are plenty of good things about winter. Personally, I love all the seasons, and I try to embrace each one for its positive aspects. To me, winter represents log fires, cosy evenings, Christmas parties (though possibly smaller than usual this year,) present wrapping, and tree decorating. Along with lazy Sunday afternoons watching TV and movies from time to time. As well as that, I like wearing cosy jumpers and woolly socks – and best of all – being able to go to bed early without having an excuse!
I think it’s important – and beneficial – to tune in to life’s natural rhythms and to embrace each season for the gifts it brings. Most cultures in the Far East believe that winter is the best season to slow down and recharge our batteries, in the same way, that many animals hibernate in the colder months!
So, why not take the time to make your home cosy and comfy and to purposefully plan to get plenty of rest and relaxation? This should help you emotionally survive the cold weather and really embrace winter. Come spring, your energy levels, and creative juices will be flowing and you’ll be re-energised and ready for new beginnings.
Why not learn to love winter with my 7 easy tips.
Snuggle down – enjoy!
How to Embrace Winter and Why Winter is the Best Season
1. Keep Your Mental Health in Check
If you start to experience the winter blues, take action immediately! A duvet day now and again is okay when we’re exhausted, but it won’t do much for your mental health if you use it to ‘escape’ from your emotions, especially if you are prone to bouts of low mood. Simple strategies work wonders and help us embrace the winter months. Going for a walk in some ‘green’ space can really boost our mood; or if the rain is lashing down, why not spend some time meditating?
Meditation and mindfulness are two effective ways to boost feelings of contentedness and calm. Both are also excellent techniques for teaching you coping strategies too. Find a quiet, dark room where you can sit by yourself and close your eyes. Relax your tongue (this immediately stops ‘mind chatter’), then do a body scan. Note the places where you are holding tension and try to relax. Focus on being present and in the moment, while emptying your mind of all thoughts. Find more tips on meditation and mindfulness.
2. Eat Yourself Healthy
It’s so important to listen to your body during every season. Winter is the best time for indulging in hearty, warming foods. But that doesn’t mean upping your intake of junk or carb-rich foods! Instead, aim to eat plenty of fresh, seasonal veg, along with a plentiful supply of slow energy-releasing carbs like black, wild, or brown rice.
Keep pizza and pasta for treat days, and opt for nutrient-dense foods, especially important this winter when we really need our immune systems to be fully charged. If you need some ideas for nutritious and delicious veggie-packed recipes, try this spicy cauliflower tikka masala or warming vegetable tagine. Find more healthy recipes here.
3. Maintain your hydration levels
It’s harder to drink water in winter, especially when it’s cold. To optimise my hydration levels, I follow the Ayurveda approach and drink water at room temperature. Another tip is to swap caffeinated drinks for hot water with lemon or for herbal teas at least twice a day. Our bodies don’t just need water for hydration; we also need it to maintain our core temperature. Dehydration can cause our core body temperature to drop, so it’s essential to keep our fluid levels up to stay warm. Hydration is also essential for healthy kidney function, as water helps our kidneys to remove waste and to keep our blood flowing freely so that nutrients can be delivered throughout the body. Find out why I only drink water from my Berkey Filter here.
4. Add Omega 3, 6 & 9 Fatty Acids to your Diet
Omega Fatty Acids are healthy fats that are normally found in oily fish, seeds, and nuts. Fish oil is known to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, helping to reduce morning aches and joint stiffness which are all too common on a winter morning! Omega fats have also been proven to be ‘food for the brain’ and I have found that they are particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety too. I’ve noticed that during these particularly ‘hormonal’ years of my life if I forget to take my Omega supplements for even just a couple of days, my anxiety levels noticeably shoot up. Taking an Omega supplement will help you to embrace the winter and overcome the winter blues.
5. Cook With Spices
Spices are known to add ‘fire to your belly’ which is a good way to boost a sluggish digestive system, increase our metabolism and help us control our weight, something we can all embrace in the winter! Turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, chillies, or even just black pepper all help warm the body and benefit our health in the winter months. Turmeric’s main ingredient, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease. Why not add turmeric to soups and curries – or try a turmeric latte – recipe here.
Another way to introduce spices is to add them to your herbal tea or coffee. Try adding a cinnamon stick, a grating of ginger, a sprinkling of nutmeg, or even some Chai spice to ‘spice up’ your hot drinks. Not only will these give your hot drinks a ‘kick’ and make you feel warmer and cosier, but they’ll also boost your immune system too!
6. Head to an Infrared Sauna or Steam Room
Stress and anxiety levels can often skyrocket during the winter months, especially around the holiday season. Help to reduce your stress levels by treating yourself to some ‘heat’ therapy.
One of my favourite ways to feel calmer in a matter of minutes is to spend time in an infrared sauna. Infrared therapy is proven to reduce our cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Not only that, it increases your core temperature and helps your body to sweat out any toxins.
According to Dr Lawrence Wilson, an infrared sauna is one of the safest, most powerful, and cost-effective natural healing methods to help flush out the toxic metals, chemicals, and infections that we are exposed to on a daily basis. If you don’t have access to an infrared sauna, you could spend some time in a steam room, or indulge in a long hot bath. Alternatively, you could make one, or buy your own mobile unit, that also folds down very neatly! Read more on the benefits of infrared saunas here.
6. Warm up with Exercise
It’s all too tempting to snuggle up by the fire – and not to move! However, one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental wellbeing is to get some daily exercise. And in winter, it’s even more important to include some cardio exercise and to get that heart pumping. Cardio helps to pump blood around the body, keeping your organs and immune system working to the max. It also helps us to maintain a healthy weight, especially if we are eating more ‘comfort’ foods and spending less time out and about. Some of my favourite workouts are Beachbody and Les Mills. Guaranteed to get you off the sofa – and up on your feet!
7. Add Some Cosiness to your Home
As soon as the seasons change, I always have a spring clean or a winter makeover. So for this reason, come the colder weather, I like to add some cosy touches to make my home feel more inviting. Cotton sheets are replaced with warm flannel bedding; a thick, fluffy rug and some luxurious purple velvet throws bring warmth to my living room; and a sprinkling of fairy lights around the house makes things more magical! Winter is the best season for adding snuggly textures, rich colours and mood lighting. Not only is this an easy way to create an instant impression of cosiness which will not only lift your spirits, but it will make you feel warmer too!
I hope these tips will help you learn how to embrace winter! Do you think winter is the best season? Let me know if you have any tips how on you enjoy winter.
Stay well and stay safe everyone! Read all my natural immune boosting tips here.
|Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!|