In Chinese Five Element Theory, winter describes a time of hibernation. It’s a period of stillness, introspection, and deep restoration. As the season is governed by the element water, the bodily systems of the kidneys and bladder need to be considered at this time of year. Together with the reproductive organs, these are considered to house what’s referred to as ‘Vital Essence’, or what you could call our ‘mojo’!
Mojo requires a balance of activity and rest. Imagine a brisk walk in the woods before coming home to a bowl of steaming broth, morning yoga before enjoying a slow breakfast, or chopping logs before curling up in front of the fire.
Last year, Gemma wrote a beautiful piece on winter living. Today, I’d like to build on this and focus on three important areas to help you enjoy your most restorative winter yet!
While the warmer months of the year are for ‘doing’, winter encourages rest and reflection. This is not the season to burn fast and bright. Instead, allow your inner fire to gently smoulder, fuelling you right through until spring. Prioritising rest will help you feel calm, nourished, and able to take on challenges more easily.
If you find yourself feeling exhausted after Christmas and New Year, you’ll need to focus on replenishing your energy. You may find you need more sleep than usual as many of us require a full nine hours during winter. Early nights complete with bed-socks and a hot water bottle become a necessity rather than a luxury.
If you have trouble getting to sleep early, don’t worry – we’ll be posting a piece on winter sleep support very soon. In the meantime, taking a daytime nap snuggled under a blanket will support your energy better than snacking on junk food.
Winter is the perfect time to honour your body’s natural inclination to conserve energy when it’s cold and dark, but it’s also important to keep your sunlight levels topped up. Head outdoors in the middle of the day as often as you’re able and allow your eyes and face to be bathed in sunlight. Make use of a slow cooker and take flasks of hearty soups and stews for lunch. Add plenty of root vegetables, warming spices and winter herbs.
Try to find at least one afternoon or evening a week to gently potter in the kitchen or curl up with a good book and a warm mug of salted hot chocolate.
Salted Hot Chocolate
300ml almond milk
3 squares of Green & Black’s 70% dark chocolate (or 10g dark chocolate of your choice)
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch of rock or sea salt
Add everything to a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Remove from heat and whisk until the chocolate has melted
For more inspiration about rest, Mel Wiggins wrote an interetsing blog post about Operating From a Place of Rest.
During the winter, seeds that have fallen in autumn lie dormant until light levels and warmer soil signal germination for those that have survived the chill. Nature reminds us that we require deep nourishment at this time of year in order to utilise the strong spring energy and bring ideas and plans into fruition.
Use this time to delve deep and remind yourself who you are and what you want. How can you align yourself with your dreams and goals for the future? It’s important to reconnect not just with yourself, but with your home, your food, your sleep, your breath – all essential, non-negotiable acts of self-care.
Reconnecting can take many forms. You might want to stroll through the woods to clear your mind, so you can start afresh and decide what’s important to you. It could mean sitting down with a pot of tea and a mood board, a stack of pictures and a couple of quiet hours to yourself.
You might prefer to go all out, diffuse the SOL Winter Essential Oil Blend, light some candles, and meditate before journaling. Maybe producing a reflective blog post is more your style. For some creative writing ideas, have a look at ‘Do Story: How to Tell Your Story So the World Listens’ by Bobette Buster.
Don’t put pressure on yourself in the new year to set big goals and resolutions. The time to do this is in the spring when the energy supports new growth.
Instead, this is the time to gently set intentions that are aligned with your new ideas and vision. Focus on what you’d like to achieve and adjust your routine to support both your plans and your wellbeing. Nothing is fixed, this is just the beginning, a period of slowly feeling out what works and what doesn’t work for you.
Setting smaller seasonal intentions rather than big, potentially overwhelming goals for the whole year feels much more achievable.
How do you want to feel this winter?
What do you need to support your wellbeing this season?
How would you like to feel when spring arrives?
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more guidance and advice to help you rest, reconnect and refocus this winter.
Love Lizzie and the SOL team xx