We humans often have a sense of oncoming doom when faced with winters approach; some of us literally do escape it by heading South (or North, if you’re here down under…) to bask in the sunny warmth of somewhere else’s summer.
Our fear is certainly understandable and most likely primal fear for our survival, as winter in the early history of humanity would be a challenging time – the supply of fresh food diminished, and other predators were hungrier, and keeping warm a challenge and a priority. The physically weaker such as the very old or young were more likely to die at this time.
Although we don’t face quite the same challenge these days, we still succumb to viruses and bacterial infections such as the flu. People expect to get sick! Television advertising makes the most of our expectations, and we spend countless dollars on jabs and pills to try and ward off the oncoming greeblies.
Well, I personally don’t believe I have to get sick just because other people are, and I don’t believe I get sick just because of cold, or microbes. So I’d like to share what I do to stay well and happy in winter.
What is there to love about winter? I can almost hear my snowboarding friends shouting “Fresh powder!!” I myself always feel a sense of clarity when the snow coats the mountains, and let’s acknowlege that it’s just beautiful! But for me it’s the crackling fires, pots of soup, the deepening of relationships with the people close to me as we are more connected to our immediate community.
‘Turning inward’ is the real gift of winter. All of nature is doing it, drawing energy down in to the roots. In chinese medicine, we enter the point of ‘maximum contraction’ in the cycle of expansion and contraction. It’s time to recharge, and to nurture and conserve your energy. Time to clean out your inner closets, and know yourself better. Winter solstice is celebrated by many as the real New Year, a great time to set intention for what you want to create in the new cycle.
Most people have heard of S.A.D (Seasonal affective disorder). As well as the physical symptoms (loss of energy, oversleeping, difficulty concentrating, heavy feeling in the arms and/or legs, craving high carb foods, weight gain etc) it can trigger feelings of loneliness and depression, anxiety, hopelessness, social withdrawal and loss of interest in things you normally enjoy.
It’s normal that our deeper fears and insecurities surface at this time. It’s the perfect time for healing at a deep level. But isolation is not the same as turning inward – if you find yourself facing feelings of depression or deep lonliness, please get some help! Isolating yourself is like ‘staying out in the cold’, when their are opportunities to come into warmth all around you.
Stay involved in your community. Join a squash club. Go for dancing lessons. Get a membership at the local heated swimming pool! Start a pot-luck dinner or movie night circle. Instigate random footbath/foot massage sessions. Just stay in touch with the people around you, and enjoy the opportunity to get closer to each other. Chop wood for an elderly person or single mother. Helping someone else can be an excellent remedy for depression.
Remember that your body is not separate from your mind. Depression, anxiety and other mental issues often relate to nutritional deficiencies. Some studies are going so far as to suggest there is always a deficiency present. One of the deficiencies associated with S.A.D is Vitamin D. It’s linked to SUNSHINE, which is why we get it in the first place, so it’s important to get outside in the Sunlight at any opportunity!
If you need help with depression, anxiety, loneliness, grief, trauma, post traumatic stress, fears or phobias a counselling with BodyTalk session can help. Read more HERE
Your body needs a wide spectrum of minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Some of these minerals are needed only in tiny amounts, but work with other nutrients for essential functions in the body. A huge range of illnesses and problems can resolve when the body gets what it needs. There’s no point buying a bunch of random supplement pills and hoping you’ve got it right, as most of that will end up down the toilet, and put stuff into your body that it will then have to get rid of. I recommend a wholefood, liquid full spectrum drink called body balance. It’s what I use everyday to make sure I’m getting the perfect balance of nutrients, designed by nature from sustainable and ethical sources. Read more HERE
It’s so easy to end up drinking hot drink after hot drink, but tea and coffee and even some herbal teas are diuretics. That means they stimulate the body to let go of water, so although they are ‘fluids’, they don’t help you hydrate. In winter we are often stuck inside with heat pumps on and that can also be quite drying. Dehydration can create lots of problems from foggy headedness, muscular pain, headaches, and makes it hard for your body to detoxify. If you can’t do 6-8 glasses a day, try drinking hot water, or hot water with a little squeeze of lemon if it’s easier. In the BodyTalk system, we also have a hydration technique that we use to make sure the water you drink actually ends up in the cells, not just down the toilet! Read more about BodyTalk HERE
It is now a well known fact that stress affects your immune system. So it’s especially important to make sure you have tools for managing stress. Part of that stress in winter is all that worrying about getting sick, living in fear of viruses and bacteria! The belief systems we carry about getting sick are a huge factor is whether or not we actually do, but that’s a whole other article!
A Reiki healing, BodyTalk session or Hot Stone Massage treatment are delicious ways to get a very deep time of relaxation that will benefit the whole nervous system. You can read more about Reiki HERE, BodyTalk HERE or more about Hot Stone Massage HERE.
Meditation is a fantastic relaxation technique if you have time. It’s well worth practicing some sort of mediation, as you train yourself to slip into a relaxed state more and more easily the more you do it. If you don’t have time, then probably some changes are needed in your life, but you also need something that can work right now. The best remedy I know for this is the Cortices technique from the BodyTalk system. It resets the brain out of ‘stress mode’ in a few minutes, calming the whole nervous system and balancing the left and right brain. It’s super easy and anyone can learn it. Watch John Veltheim, founder of the BodyTalk system as he explains some of the science behind this simple stress reliever.
6) Stop overriding the body’s messages!
Most of the time before we get sick there are some warning signs right? Feeling ‘bone tired’, that slightly sore throat, body aching and so on. I’ve personally found that if I LISTEN and RESPOND to my body’s signals, I can avoid actually coming down with things most of the time. Take action at the first signal, by using the other tips, and you may avoid getting really sick. I also use tools from both BodyTalk and Neurolink (NIS) that keep my body’s own healing systems working well, on a regular basis, not just when I get the danger signals!
I hear you saying “But I don’t have time to slow down, I have to …..”. Well do you have time to get sick for 3 weeks? It’s ‘a stitch in time saves 9 moment’ – take a little time now to save yourself a lot of time later, time when you won’t be having any fun being sick either! Also, don’t be fooled by your cravings, the desire for sweet things can be the body telling you it needs Vitamin C. When the immune system is really working hard and you’re in a full blown illness, your body uses a great deal more vitamin c than usual. We can’t make it in our bodies, so we have to ingest it. I recommend a wholefood vitamin c supplement that you can read more about HERE
If you like using herbal remedies, Golden Seal and Echinacea are said to be good for the immune system. You can read more about other immune booster products that I use and endorse HERE . (I work as a support person for anyone who wants to try the products, helping you find the right ones for you and get the most out of them. You can contact me to order any product HERE
The whole ‘maximum contraction’ thing is great for going within, but I find I can end up with a contracted body if I don’t make sure I exercise and stretch enough. It’s too easy to end up ‘curled up’ in contracted positions to conserve warmth! Get regular exercise, and if it’s too cold outside do something inside. Stretch, consciously ‘open up’ the chest and breath deeply to oxygenate the blood and tissues. You’ll be sending nice warm blood around the whole body. Yoga is great, as it de-stresses and calms you while you increase circulation. If you haven’t got time for that, try the Tibetan 5 rites, these are quick and easy exercises that have had the best results for me of anything I’ve tried. (and I’ve tried lots of things!) Watch a video HERE
Well I hope you find these tips helpful and hopefully a little different to the average winter tips list! I wish you all the best for the winter, and hope you find much to celebrate and enjoy this season. If you still feel really S.A.D about winter, please contact me for support and healing. You can leave a comment, or write to me with any questions, or book a session by contacting me HERE .
To your good health!