November is upon us, the central heating is on, the light draws in and the winter season with its bugs and viruses is well under way. It can be a difficult time for many both physically and especially mentally.
Often in winter we want to hide away from the dark and the cold and we can tend to take less care of our health, mental health and physical wellbeing when often it is most needed.
Here we explore some of the challenges we face in winter and look at how to create a winter wellbeing plan to help you through to the springtime and warmer, brighter weather. Stay healthy, uplifted and strong through winter!
Anxiety...winter brings with it anxiety for many reasons, health anxiety is a massive block for many especially after the pandemic and the prospect of mixing with others during the flu season creates fear and can lead to anxiety, depression and isolation. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is another winter issue for many and the lack of light can deeply affect many of us.
The Cold...the cold weather can stop or deter us from doing our usual exercise and often we will choose staying in over being in nature, going to the gym or even simply staying connected with friends and family.
Staying Healthy...there are more cold and flu germs around at this time of the year, it is also incredibly busy with festive celebrations and the end of the year approaching and we have extra pressure on our immune system and energy and often become physically and mentally depleted.
Creating and sticking to a winter wellbeing plan will see you through this season and what can be a challenging time can become empowering and enjoyable with a few shifts and a healthy action plan in place. Here are some tips on creating and sticking to your very own winter wellbeing plan of action:
# 1 STAY ACTIVE
We can cease up, gain weight and lack vitality in winter. The temptation to close the curtains, put away the trainers and grab the remote control is huge when its cold and dark outside so set yourself scheduled time to exercise and stick to it. Create weekly goals to keep you on track, have a contingency plan if your activity maybe blighted by bad weather and get yourself a personal trainer or an accountability buddy so that you can encourage and keep each other on track. Exercise boosts the serotonin levels in the brain, keeps the body strong and resilient and is also a good way to stay connected....STAY ACTIVE.
#2 NOURISH, NOURISH, NOURISH
Our physical health can take a hit in winter. It is cold outside, the central heating and fires are on and we have little daylight. Make sure to pack your diet with essential vitamins and minerals. For this you don’t need to add extra and make big expensive adjustments, look at how you can make your meals and snacks as nutrient dense as possible. The temptation is everywhere to grab a pumpkin spiced latte or and extra creamy hot chocolate not to mention the extra festive treats so remind yourself...is this leading me to nourishing and fuelling my body in the best way I possibly can? Again it's about being prepared so make plans...meal plans and meal prep will help you stay on track and save you time, money and temptation . Create nutrient packed warming one pot meals with all of the abundance of seasonal tasty veg and make sure you have healthy balanced snacks to hand. Make sure you are well hydrated and you may want to take some extra supplements especially vitamin D. You really are what you eat so if you want to feel vibrant and bright...eat the rainbow! NOURISH, NOURISH, NOURISH.
#3 STAY CONNECTED
Mental health can really suffer during the darker colder months. The temptation to isolate and disconnect in winter is real and often people can slump into depression and loneliness. It is natural and good to have some healthy planned downtime and relaxation but isolation is a very different energy. Make some regular plans with friends and family, volunteer, join a gym or a hiking group, reach out if you feel yourself disconnecting and ask for some help or support. Check in on your friends too and help each other through the darker months. Make plans...STAY CONNECTED
#4 SELF CARE
During the festive months we can forget about our basic needs and it can be an extra stressful time financially, in relationships, in work and the general pressures of life itself. Managing our health and wellbeing holistically is necessary at all times of the year and the extra pressures of the winter months can make us place this low on our priorities, we never get round to making that time for ourselves, again having a plan is vital. Here are my holistic go to treatments and practices for building a plan to manage your stress, physical and spiritual wellbeing:
Reflexology - reflexology is an ancient therapy using a pressure technique on the reflex points on the feet, hands or face. the reflex points have a positive and health boosting effect on all parts of the body and its systems and can be deeply soothing and relaxing as well helping with many health conditions and symptoms.
Aromatherapy - essential oils have incredible health benefits from easing health symptoms to lifting the spirit and mood. they can be used in diffuser, burner and on the body . Seek the advice of a qualified aromatherapist to help you find the right blend of oils for you.
Massage - massage keeps the body supple and the tissues of the body nourished, it helps with aches and pains as well as helping you to be back in your body and out of the monkey mind.
Reiki - reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing - you are not just a body and mind you are a highway of energy, energy can be depleted and recharged. Reiki recharges and cleanses your energy field helping you to feel stronger, more prepared for life, clearer mentally, quieter in the mind and more focused. Taking care of your energetic body can change your life.
Meditation - having a dedicated meditation practice has a huge impact on your health and mental health, increasing self awareness, bringing you to the present moment, reducing negative emotions, improving sleep, managing stress, lowering blood pressure to name a few benefits. There are classes and apps if you are unsure where to start, start small but it is a practice so a daily practice of even 5 minutes per day to start with can lead to whole new way of being.
Talking Therapy - if winter is a heavy burden or even just a little more challenging for you then maybe its a time of year that you need some extra support from a professional, a coach, a mentor, a counsellor or psychotherapist . Take back control when you a feeling less than in control by reaching out to an expert. You don’t have to do this alone.
#5 RELAX, BE PRESENT, EMBRACE THE SEASON
We put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to get everything done during the festive period, more events and social commitments, more work, having the perfect house and presents to name a few. So will all of the above planning and scheduling for your winter wellbeing remember to add rest and relaxation to your list. Winter is a period or rest for the planet and often the animal kingdom and we will do well to honour this cycle for ourselves too. Embrace the darker colder months, they don’t last forever, light the candles, journal and reflect upon your year, plan some beautiful things for the coming spring, drop into silence and allow your body to relax and have some periods of rest. Be present and embrace this natural cycle of rest and restoration. Give yourself full permission to be with the winter within you too. RELAX, BE PRESENT, EMBRACE THE SEASON
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