December 21, 2017

How to Have a Happier & Healthier Winter

Merry Solstice, Beauties! 

Be gentle on yourself today (and always). Today marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and as you settle into this ever-shifting balance of darkness and light, remember how much hope and wisdom emerges when you sit with your sense of quiet, your stillness, your darkness and your Winter.

When living in your Winter, sometimes it means putting your usual Summer and Autumn self-care routines on the shelf.

It means taking a pause and asking yourself what you need to feel good today. 

So, first things first! I want to let you in on a little secret to success around self-care ...

Sometime your lack of self-care is exactly what your self-care routine needs!

If you find yourself self-care "shoulding" all over yourself, it's totally time for a change of routine, or, a seasonal evaluation. 

When you accept you for you - you make room to "do you" REALLY well. 

It is SO much easier to move forward with acceptance than it is to move forward with resistance, right?! 

So, if you're slowing down, exercising a bit less, eating things out of the norm at your fam's holiday extravaganzas ... don't sweat it.

Let go a little. Be with the celebration. Celebration shares a type of nutrition no carrot, blue-green alkaline drink, nor, tofurkey could ever grant you. It's nutrition for the soul, girl. You deserve it. Get it. 

Sooo .... that all said, balance is key here too, yeah? 

Enjoy your celebrations with pleasure. Leave your guilt at the sauna. Eat the things you want to eat (that also don't make you crazy, sick, or, both), and do so without guilt. 

Once your celebrations have come to a calm, you will very likely crave a slow-down, self-care, gently cleansing kind of recharge.

And you'll make that happen too.

One other thing ...

You know that 
feeling of emptiness and exhaustion that can creep up after a whirlwind of celebrations? 

The energy shift can be striking and dramatic, right?

It reminds me of the high contrast we see in the lighting of winter -- the way barren trees cast shadows on the snow, or, how their big black branches pierce through a highlighted sky. 

So taking note of how much winter can really influence our stae of mind and body, I made you a list of 5 ways to keep your winter merry and bright, naturally, of course. 

5 Ways to Keep Your Winter Bright, Naturally. 

1.) Go with the flow. Embrace the pause, explore the depths and darkness winter may bring. While much of society may prompt us to be all about sunshine, lollipops and selfies, it's actually what's inside that counts, right? I mean, come on. We all have days where we feel like crap. the days we protest to not do "X" thing.

We all experience up's and down's around our emotions and energy. What if instead of trying to fight what you are feeling you invite it to curl right up next to you?

What if you treat this experience as if it were as valuable as your vacation at the beach that you did post on Instagram? Because ... it is :)
What if, instead of seeing your waves of energy, your lull in healthy habits or your shift in moods as flaw marks on your state of health ... you feel what you feel, own what you feel, do what feels needed for you and honor your own personal body wisdom.  

2.) Make Warmth an Active Pursuit of Pleasure. Bundle up and light a fire in the backyard with a friend and spiced chai or ginger tea to share. Nourish yourself with a favorite warming meal, such as a bowl of Pho, or, homemade bone broth with ginger. If you are in Lexington, KY, I can't say enough about the Saag Paneer from Mubai Masala. I can't wait to take a walk there in the snow this winter. If you love a great bowl of Pho, Pho BC is crazy good - their coconut turmeric pancake dish is also SO yum. 

3.) Brighten up the day of someone you adore with a real-life bonified stamped and delivered letter. I mean, really. Who *doesn't* love a hand written letter? I have a few pen pals in life. I have to say my favorite letters are the ones where they don't just ask how I am, but, they share funny stories about the mundane (which in fact are never mundane at all)!  

4.) Gratitude ... Give thanks for all that you have. Give thanks for all that you are able to give. Over the past ten years, The Greater Good Science Center of UCLA has been studying the effect of gratitude on our overall happiness and well being. According to their research, the simple practice of a gratitude journal can actually influence your brains chemistry and alter your physical and mental health.

There is no day better than today to start (or revisit!) your journal, eh? Before bed, take some deep breathes and jot down things in which you are especially grateful for that day. Or, if you're looking for some energy in the mornings, a morning gratitude journal can be a stellar mood boost.

5.) Practice Presence: Take time to authentically connect with those you are visiting with. Make them feel heard in a way they never have before.

Take space from the chatter if needed. Be present with all the feelings that surface. Be with them, accept them, breathe, move on when ready.

Share presence with yourself ... enough so that you feel heard (by yourself). Settle in to your skin. No matter how uncomfortable we may get, Winter can illuminate our Hearts and Souls as much as any season. you may as well embrace yourself with warmth, compassion and self-love.

So, sending you a great big hug on this very day!


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