As I head deeper into winter, it’s time to switch up my self-care. My winter self-care practices are a little different than my self-care in the spring, summer or fall.
Did you know that every season has an energetic signature? Well if you didn’t, now you do. And winter is the season of hunkering down, getting quieter, and embracing cozy as a verb. At the same time, the holidays tend to ramp things up and encourage the opposite energy which can leave you depleted and exhausted by the time mid-January Rolls around.
Here’s what interesting about that.
You have all these big plans for the New Year. Resolutions, goals, intentions – whatever you like to call them – you tend to set them around January 1st.
If you’re worn out from the holidays and didn’t do things to take care of yourself, how likely do you think it is that those New Year’s resolutions/goals/intentions will actually stick?
I want to help you avoid the winter season depletion, so here are my top 3 winter self-care practices to help you stay happy and healthy this season.
1. Take Your Rest:
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Take your rest as often as you can. Resting can include everything from a brief savasana during the day to curling up with a book to going to bed earlier.
In the winter, your body will crave this so much more. Much of winter is vata season, meaning it’s drier, colder, lighter, more brittle, and inconsistent. Add to this the end-of-the-year holidays and you get spread extra thin, maybe a little more anxious, depleted, and ungrounded.
Just like animals in nature want to turn inwards and hibernate, so does the animal in you.
Give your body the rest she needs so you can restore and rebuild your bodily tissues and your energy.
2. Sync with the Season:
To sync with the season simply means to go with it instead of against it. For example, if it’s colder in the winter it’s not the time to eat lots of salads and popsicles, contrary to what my 5-year old daughter thinks. Your body needs more warmth and grounding to counter the cold, dry, quick moving air. That calls for soups, roasted veggies, and even cooked apples or pears.
Another way to think of syncing with the season is pulling a bit from “winter self-care practice” number 1, which is to take more rest by going to bed earlier. The sun sets earlier, which is a clear signal to your body to do the same.
Here’s some evidence: Before daylight savings time ended, my daughter was coming home from school full of energy. Some nights after dinner we’d go to the playground and play for an hour. After that she’d be slightly more ready for bed. As soon as daylight savings time ended – like the exact day – she started getting tired at 4:30pm. She’d come home from school cranky and exhausted. And now, most nights, she’s asleep almost an hour earlier than she was before.
Kids are much more sensitive to light and dark. As adults, we train ourselves not to be so we can stay up late and ignore the signs our bodies (and nature) are telling us.
So sync with the season and head to bed a little earlier.
3. Do Less:
Especially at the beginning of winter, there is a natural pull to do #allthethings. Go to all of the holiday parties. Do all of the special winter events. See all of the family, even if it means driving for hours in opposite directions. You can probably come up with more things that you feel pulled to do, right?
All of this doing spreads you really thin, though. It’s also going to overload your vata. And too much vata is going to make you feel ungrounded, unsupported, anxious, worn out, stressed out, overwhelmed, and disconnected.
Which makes sense, right? If you’re trying to do all the things, you won’t do any of them well or fully. You’ll just be running from one thing to another, trying to squeeze things in as best you can.
Get clear with your boundaries, particularly at the start of the winter season. Get clear on what are the most important things for you to do. Do those and scrap the rest.
If you do less, what you actually choose to do will be more meaningful.
The less you do, the more you will honor the season by giving yourself the space and time to rest.
Does this resonate with you?
If you’d like to learn more about Ayurveda, which is the holistic approach to wellness that inspired this blog, I’d love for you to join my Self-Care for all Seasons program.
In this year long program, you’ll look at the energetic signature of each month and use it to create a single self-care practice each month that you will build into your life over the course of the month.
We begin on January 1st. This yearlong program will help you connect more with the seasons and with yourself, giving you the tools to take better care of yourself day to day, month to month, and year to year.
You can also learn a little more about Ayurveda and how it helps us understand the seasons with more clarity in this FREE WORKSHOP I share here: