In the northern hemisphere, December is the month of the winter solstice and it’s essential that we talk about winter in relation to health, because when we shift our habits as the seasons change, we create more balance between our bodies and the environment. Winter is actually one of the most critical times to establish health for the entire year.
Winter is the time of year when nature is resting, quiet, and withdrawn. Deep in the earth the roots are preparing for spring, even though it looks as if everything is dead. Humans have a similar need to conserve energy, slow down, and rest this time of year. It’s the time when nutrition, warmth and rest are most valuable and most essential, and our ability to honor those rhythms will impact our health, well-being, and energy come spring.
In our culture it’s the norm to over-work, over-do, over-shop and, in general, be extra busy this time of year. Nourishing yourself in the weeks leading up to and following the winter solstice means putting less value on what you accomplish, how many steps you take, or how many things got crossed off of your to-do list, and more value on slowing down and nourishing yourself.
I encourage my clients to make certain nutritional and lifestyle shifts this time of year including:
Drink plenty of warm liquids in the form of teas and broth (this is not an ideal time of year for regular consumption of cold smoothies or icy drinks)
Encourage blood flow and support your lymphatic system with dry brushing, neti pot, jumping on a rebounder, stretching, walking, and regular gentle movement.
Plan meals around soups, stews and slow cooked foods which are warming and easier to digest this time of year.
Garlic, cinnamon, cayenne and ginger will help spice up your life, get your blood moving and are warming in the body. I love my fire cider!
Dark red and black foods are said to be supportive of the kidneys (which, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the organ associated with winter.) Try incorporating more black beans, blackberries, kidney beans, adzuki beans, pomegranates, raisins, prunes, figs, sea veggies, etc.
If you’re craving sweets, eat more cooked fruit and squash, AND chew your foods, particularly grains, more to bring out their natural sweetness.
Prioritize meditation, yoga and stretching over intense physical activity for these next few weeks.
I know that slowing down is easier said than done, but little shifts make a big difference and syncing your body’s routines with nature’s rhythms will help you feel more in the flow of life and help keep your energy balanced, and THAT gift is truly priceless.
Amara Wagner is a speaker and mentor who empowers moms to trust their intuition and guides them, with practical tools, to raise naturally healthy families. Her private and group coaching programs help women navigate motherhood mindfully and with a sense of humor, without dogma. Amara provides a unique, down-to-earth approach to moms who want to feel confident using whole foods and ancient remedies to support their family's health. She specializes in helping holistic-minded mamas parent from an intuitive place, without sacrificing their own health. To learn more about Amara and her programs please visit www.amarawellness.com