Despite the nuttiness of our winter temperatures so far here in the mid-Northeast, it’s still winter. There’s no denying it when the sun sets early and rises late. It’s a signal from mother nature to slow it down. Many of us are better at staying busy and running on adrenaline or coffee, however a failure on our parts to move toward some semblance of hibernation in winter creates unnecessary suffering in the future. This can show up in the form of allergies and sickness in spring, chronic fatigue over time, worsening of symptoms you already have such as back or knee pain, reflux, dryness (skin and other membranes), even a sad libido… so, throw in the towel this winter and let yourself take a real break.
I myself have put up the white flag of surrender more this winter than I ever have before. Here are, and it’s not the first or only time you will ever hear Joy, Sam and I discuss this, some of the best and most important winter-surrender tips we think you should know about:
- Power down earlier. Set an alarm for yourself to get ready for bed and then again for actual sleep time. I find that getting ready for bed an hour or two before it’s time for sleep helps me stay in integrity with going to bed at an appropriate hour. Part of powering down means actually powering down, so dim your lights, take a break from screens (read a good book!) as well as to-do lists, and make sure that you clear extra electronic devices out of your bedroom. I recently read that one family uses salt lamps when the sun sets to keep things warm and glowy and not too bright. This will all help keep your brain from running the usual and unending circus of work and home to-do items over and over again. If you can’t shut down your monkey-mind, give us a call, we can help with acupuncture or a yoga class (or both at the same time!)
- Eat warming foods. Skip the iced teas and frosty Starbucks drinks and opt for room temperature liquids or hot tea and coffee. A cold belly has a lot of work to do and you will end up more tired and cold than you need to be. If you are a salad buff like I am, use cooked foods in your salad – crisp up the kale, warm up the chicken, roast some veggies and use cooked grains. Soups and stews are an awesome addition at this time of year. And you can always add warming herbs like ginger, cinnamon, oregano to your food.
- Keep your neck warm, head covered and toes warm. It’s not rocket science that leaving the house with wet hair at this time of year is simply a terrible idea. Wear a scarf or turtle neck, invest in a hat or coat with a hood or a good blow dryer. Use socks, seriously.
- Drop a day at the gym. Read a good book or take a nap instead. I promise your metabolism will still be there for you and may even be better if you allow yourself some rest. If you are someone who uses exercise as your daily (aka don’t bite the heads off of your loved ones) medicine, then trade a high powered day for something a bit softer like a light jog or yoga class. You can move, just consider a calmer pace.
- Adjust your attitude. This one might be the most important. When my adrenals are revved up I find myself thinking there is too much to do, attempting to do things at stupid late hours, or incessantly checking emails and Facebook – thinking I have to take action or that I am missing something. It’s a chemical cycle that can be tough to break. If you find yourself about to jump out of your knickers in a moment of peace and quiet then you, my friend, might be an adrenaline junkie. I get it. The best thing (I think) you can do to change this is to first shake it off of you – literally. Jump around the room or something to get the jitters out. Then sit with your feet on the ground and take no less than 10 deep, slow breathes into your whole body. After that it’s time to develop a new thinking pattern…talk yourself through it with things like: “I do enough and everything will be there for me tomorrow,” or “I’m allowed to take a break,” or even “I’m designing a life that celebrates resting, I love resting.” Write it down if you have to. You get the idea.