During the Autumn Equinox I wrote about how in the last decade or so I’ve spent my autumns and winters in warm climates – heading to Australia, South East Asia or living in Miami throughout the cold winter months. With this being my first full winter in a cold climate I knew I needed to adjust my lifestyle to support my mind, body and soul this winter. From my physical movement to my diet as well as routines and habits to support my mental health to combat the seasonal depression I’ve experienced in the past and habits to support my soul growth – here are the things I’m doing this winter to support my mind, body and soul.
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Things I’m Doing this Winter to Support my Mind
Cozying up with a book in a big sweater just feels like the perfect winter activity. Not only am I taking the time to read more during the day, but as I mentioned in my article “Things I’m Doing this Autumn to Support my Mind, Body and Soul” I’m also going to continue my routine of getting into bed to read myself to sleep via candlelight.
Taking More Social Media Breaks
I really feel called to go more inward and one thing that pulls me out is the phone. This season I’m going to be adding a bit more screen free time into my morning routine and scheduling days, weeks and weekends where I remain off of social media to support my mental health.
Learning is always something that helps to stretch the mind! When my plans to live in Italy went awry last year – I fell off of my Italian lessons, giving my “intermediate” level knowledge of the language a bit of a setback. One of my goals for the year is to become fluent in the language so I’m taking this winter to really get back into practicing and learning Italian.
Things I’m Doing This Winter to Support my Body
As my body has been through a lot of physical healing the last two years – I haven’t really been able to do much heavy workouts. As much as I want to get back into strength training and HIIT workouts – I have to trust and listen to my body and what it’s asking of me. In an effort to give myself the satisfaction of “working out” I’m going to be signing up for more flow-type of classes, instead of the yin yoga I’ve come to really know and love deeply.
Eating with the Season
Last season I mentioned how I was tuning into nature to eat with the season and I’m planning on keeping that up for this winter season, as well. My body has really been craving some of the fruits and veggies that are in season this winter and I love that intuitive inner knowing. I’ve really been enjoying juicing beets, pomegranates, oranges, apples, ginger and cranberries.
Adding Raw Butter to my Warm Raw Milk
This was something I did on a whim, following another intuitive nudge. I’m so glad that I did because it turned out to be delicious. Switching from inflammatory vegetable oils to raw, unpasteurized, butter has done wonders for my body, taking away many of the PMS symptoms I once had as well as alleviating me of painful periods and chronic inflammation I had been suffering from the last few years. Finding ways to work a bit more raw butter into my diet has been a challenge but putting a tablespoon of butter into my nightly warm raw milk has made it a lot easier.
Covering my Meridians
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the meridians are different points in our body that are also known as “energetic passageways”. As humans, we’re warm blooded so our meridians work best when they’re warm. Covering up these meridians and not allowing the cold winter air to get to them and stagnate them is something I never did before. And in the past, I had a ton of health issues.
This winter, I’m taking extra care not to walk outside with my ankles, belly, or neck exposed as I have in the past. Getting extra thick socks, wearing a tank top tucked into my pants underneath my shirt and ensuring that I have a scarf to cover my neck and a hat to cover my head are the four meridians I’m intuitively hearing I need to protect the most but you can read more about the meridians here.
Getting Sun on My Face
While winter isn’t the best time to be outside working on a suntan – I am trying to get outside (bundled up, of course) as often as I can. The sun is strongest in my area between 12p-2pm so on days that the sun is shining bright I will be planning to either take my dog for a walk, facing the sun, or at the very least sit on my porch for 20-30 minutes and let some of the rays soak on my face.
The sun is a massive source of vitamin D and there has been a known correlation between vitamin D deficiency and depression so my goal in soaking up some vitamin D is to try to combat the seasonal depression I’ve had to work through in the past.
Heated Blanket on My Feet
This year I learned how important it is to keep our feet warm. Our feet being warm help to improve the circulation in our entire body! The NIH even did a study that implied “sleep quality could be improved by manipulation of the foot temperature throughout sleeping”. I really enjoy sleeping in a cold room (between 58- and 64-degrees F) and snuggling under a lot of blankets, however, it’s not great for keeping my feet warm. To combat this? I got a small, heated blanket that I have been wrapping my feet in when I go to bed and sleeping with that heated blanket on my feet – keeping my feet warm and toasty all through the night.
Resting More (+ Not Guilting Myself About it)
One thing that has been difficult for me has been easing into resting. I know that my body is calling for it. I know that winter is the season where our bodies are called to rest. But, for some reason, I still find myself feeling guilty when I sleep for 10 hours or if I wake up later than I had planned to. This winter, I’m working on surrendering into resting more and letting go of the guilt that finds me when I feel I’ve “rested too much”.
Things I’m Doing this Winter to Support my Soul
Painting is something that I’ve picked up and put down a few times over the last decade or so and it’s something that really feeds my soul. This winter, I’m going inward to work with myself, my intuition, and my soul to paint more. I’ve even been hearing intuitive nudges in different meditation and journey sessions about certain things that I have to paint.
For example, I’m in “Descent” a five-week journey to the heart led by Amy of Higher Heart Path and in the last session we participated in I had some super dope visuals that I had a hard time describing verbally. My inner guidance told me that I must paint what I saw and that the only way to describe it would be to show people.
Winter is a time when nature itself is producing less. Animals go into hibernation and plants go dormant so I’m not sure why I anticipated being super productive this winter. Before the winter started, I had a ton of grand plans for projects I wanted to create and businesses I wanted to work on but as the shorter nights and colder air started to settle in – all I really wanted to do was rest.
Instead of guilting myself for not being in go-mode all the time, I’m giving myself grace and accepting that I’m aligned with the seasons. I decided that the best way to support my soul this winter is to allow the ideas and outlines to flow to me and jot them down as they come for when it feels right to produce more.
Checking in with My Gratitude
Gratitude is something I think that everyone needs to practice and taking the time to journal my gratitude has massively shifted my mindset. I touch on the importance of my daily gratitude in my morning routine article but to support my soul this winter I’m working on focusing more on gratitude – outside of my morning practice of jotting down the things I’m grateful for.
For me, this looks like meditating and feeling into the people, places and things I have to be grateful for so that it’s more than an acknowledgement but a deeply rooted feeling.
Accepting the Winter Blues
I mentioned earlier how imperative vitamin D is for combatting depression and why I’m planning to sit in the sun as often as I can. However, its rare the sun shows its face these days. Out of the last two weeks we have only had three sunny days that weren’t overcast or rainy.
While I’m not placing my entire mindset into the hands of “getting some sun” and I work, daily, to maintain an uplifting mindset – sometimes, especially in the winter, it’s hard to fight. The terms “winter blues” and “seasonal depression” exist for a reason and in the past I’ve escaped the winter to escape the emotional darkness that sometimes comes with it.
This year? I’m vowing to accept the winter blues if they show themselves and committing to staying and working through the darkness instead of escaping for tropical climates, as I have done in the past.
Meditating Every Day
Meditation is something that I’ve practiced on and off for a handful of years now but recently I added it into my morning routine as part of a daily practice. Actively participating in positive mental health activities is a choice and I choose to try to maintain a positive mindset this winter. I know that for my soul to grow I have to actively choose what I put in my mind and meditation makes it easier, for me, to control what’s going on up there.
As this article goes to publish, I have had 66 consecutive days of meditating on the Insight Timer app! Meditation looks different for everyone, and I believe that the Insight Timer app is a great place to start because there are hundreds and thousands of different types of meditations from breathwork to sound bowls to guided meditations and more – there’s really something for everyone on Insight Timer, and it’s free!
Listening to My Intuition, Even When it Doesn’t Make Sense
The intuitive nudges that I’ve been getting for the last year or so don’t always make sense. As a Capricorn Sun and Mercury – it’s difficult for me not to have a logical reason to do things. But, for my soul’s sake, this winter I’m working on letting my intuition guide me – even if my mind can’t make sense of the “who, what, when, where” or “why”. This winter I’m working on trusting that my higher guidance knows what’s best for me and letting go of the need to control everything.
This is something that, like resting more, is easier said than done for me. I know my mind and body can benefit from slowing down but it’s something that I feel my soul really needs right now. Slowing down this winter, for me, looks like everything that I’ve mentioned above. Adding more screen free time into my morning, taking more social media breaks, spending more time reading, practicing more yoga instead of heavy HIIT workouts, painting more and “producing” less, meditating every day, and especially listening to my intuition. My intuition is loudest when I’m in a state of ease and when I’ve slowed down.
All in all, the list of things I’m working on this winter to support my mind, body and soul really feel like they align with the season, and it doesn’t strike me as “coincidental” at all that the things listed above are what my mind, body and soul are looking for me to do to support them this winter. What are some of the things you’re doing this winter to support your mind, body, and soul?