As we enter the winter season, our energy naturally begins to go deeper and more internal than any other time of the year. The days are colder and shorter, with darkness descending upon us for a solid 14 hours or more in many places. So how does the winter season impact our busy lives, in which getting the kids to school, work trips, and our typical list of errands continue with the same fervor as other times of the year, and how can we best manage it?
Capitalize on the short days
Rather than packing in errands after work or school, focus on getting home a little earlier – even if it is just 30 – 45 minutes earlier, it will make a difference. Get cozy, enjoy the warmth of home, relax and embrace the longer nights.
Allow yourself and the kids that extra half hour or more in bed on the weekends. Set aside time on your days off to nap for 20 or 30 minutes, especially on particularly cold, windy or snowy days. This allows you to tap into the hibernating, reflective energy of the season, and to then move into spring refreshed, and re-charged.
As simple as this may seem, it is common for us to rush out of the house or office without adequate protection from the cold and wind that is so inherent to our winter climates. Make sure you have a scarf, hat, and gloves with you, and an extra set in the car. A common bad winter habit is leaving the house with slightly wet hair, which can unnecessarily expose us to cold and leave us chilled for the rest of the day making us more susceptible to getting a cold or the flu. We can lose up to 20% of our body heat from our head, so covering our neck and head when outside helps keep us warm and healthy.
We can also support overall warmth by eating according to the season, which involves adjusting our diet to include warm soups, casseroles, stews, and roasted meats and vegetables. Transitioning from our lighter, cooler menus of the summer and fall will support our qi and keep us warm, healthy, and energetic throughout the winter season. Continuing to eat cooler foods like fruit, salads, and uncooked vegetables is taxing on our digestive systems, making us work extra hard to maintain warmth and vitality during the winter months.
To support our digestion and to align with the winter season, try adding these warming herbs and spices to your recipes:
- black pepper
Another way to support our digestion and stay warm from the inside out is to sip on warming herbal teas like chai, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel, ginger, or holy basil. For those of you who experience cold hands and feet, adding cinnamon to your tea will promote the circulation of body heat to your fingers and toes, keeping them warm and toasty!
Here’s a great tea recipe that is warming and supports healthy digestion:
1” slice of fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (crushed)
Honey to taste
Steep ginger and fennel in 1 cup of hot water for 10 – 15 minutes, add honey to taste
Enjoy your winter!