Embrace Darkness: Our 5 Essential Tips for Winter Wellness

The wild power of winter

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Tuning into seasonal cues is an art that has been disregarded by our busy culture. 

The winter season signals a time of darkness, quiet reflection and turning inward. In nature, all living things are undergoing a process of drawing in and conserving resources. Leaves drop from trees and nutrients run back down into the earth. Animals hibernate and plants recede into the ground. 

 

True darkness (along with true silence) is a rare thing for humans living in modern times, particularly those who live in cities. 

Even though we may innately be feeling the pull to go inward, we tend to do the opposite. ’Tis the season of parties, shopping and saying yes to way more than we want to.  

If you’re feeling the desire to retreat, slow down and connect with yourself, here’s a few simple ways to stay grounded and honor your needs. 

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
— Pietro Aretino

5 Essential Tips for Winter Wellness

 

1. Create a ritual around darkness

As the days shorten, dinner is often served after sunset. Embrace the darkness by dimming the lights and eating by candle light. Young children tend to find candles mesmerizing, and it can help adults to quiet the endless mind chatter. 

Candles could also be lit at the end of the day or week to signal a time for reverence and reflection. Check out this post for a non-denominational Advent tradition. 

 

2. Eat warm, soothing foods

Create a winter ritual around food. At our house, winter Sundays are a day for soup making: The morning is spent chopping vegetables and simmering broth so that there is warm, nourishing soup to eat all week long. 

As you seek out a weekly meal routine for your family, it’s an ideal time to connect with your culture by creating meals that were prepared by your ancestors. In India, curries stoke the digestive fire. The Irish cook warming beef stew during the cold months.

 

3. Reflection and preparation

Winter is a great time to reflect on the year past and also to prepare for the new year to come. It’s a powerful time to set big intentions. When we create the space to dream big for ourselves, it’s more likely that those dreams will come to fruition.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves
— Mary Oliver
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Meditate, grab a journal or maybe even try creating a vision board. What worked for you this past your and what didn’t? How can you make next year even more joyful and fulfilling?

 

4. Be of service

The Dalai Lama once said: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

It’s been shown that giving brings happiness not only to the person who receives, but also to the giver! Studies show that when we help others who are in need, the portion of our own brain responsible for feelings of reward and happiness are activated. 

The holiday season is an ideal time to embrace the reason for the season: Regardless of your religion or beliefs, the holidays are a time for giving. When you see an opportunity to help another human, do it! 

Being of service can be as simple as holding the door for someone or buying a cup of coffee for a stranger. There is something magical about random acts of kindness and paying it forward.

 

5. Nourish your body! 

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The way we treat our bodies is a direct reflection of our self worth. Are you being mindful of how you’re treating your body or are you stuffing it full of cookies and wine while skimping on sleep and exercise? In the midst of the stressful holiday season, it becomes even more important to LOVE YOURSELF and to nourish your body.

What is it your deepest desire? What is your definition of self love? A potluck with a small group of people who fill you up? A pile of fuzzy blankets, a pot of hot tea, and a good book? A lavender scented bubble bath? Ask yourself what makes your HEART happy and take the steps to make it happen!

If you do one thing:

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Carve out time for self care: pencil it into your schedule (in permanent marker!) and make it a priority. Schedule a massage or gift your best friend with one! Better yet, gift yourself with consistent, monthly self love by signing up for a Luna membership: the gift that keeps giving all year long.