Our bodies become more stagnant in winter and want to rest more, and to hibernate. Our digestion at this time of year is working slower and can cause depression. The body also tends to put on fat to stay warmer. The tendency is to eat heavier foods like meats and carbs. These can be very taxing on our system by lagging the digestion and making us more lethargic. Raw food is not the most beneficial either for this season, as it is cold (and drying to internal organs – according to both Indian and Chinese medicine), and again more work for the digestive system.
I have discovered other ways to stay warm, get the circulation going in the body, and stay inspired through the winter months. This will naturally boost your mood and motivation.
Here are 5 options that can keep you active and having fun in these months that take little or no effort!
1) Get your Soup On: My recommendation is warm nourishing soups, broths and cooked veggies with seeds (chia, pumpkin, sesame, flax…etc) ground up and sprinkled on warm grains of your choice: quinoa, rice, amaranth…
2) Putter around the house: This “exercising” is disguised in organizing, cleaning and moving things around the house. Play some of your favorite tunes and in between puttering, take a moment and jog on the spot and raise your arms (and dance if you feel it), get your heart rate up and invite sweating. Do about a minute straight; go for 3-4 times throughout the house-cleaning/puttering. The intention here is to detox and keep the skin cells open and clear. And, it’s seriously a hoot to play in your house like this!
3) Touch Yourself: Oiling the body is a great way to nourish your muscles and joints. An Ayurveda practice is to warm up sesame oil and apply (generously) to your whole body, lovingly, especially in the joint areas. This is most beneficial if applied 15-20 min (even 5 min) before a warm shower. Once in the shower you don’t have to soap the oil off, you can let it soak in and welcome in the nourishment. Enjoy massaging yourself!
4) Cuddle, Hug, Take Baths and Make love: These are my favorite things to do in the winters (any months, really). You don’t need to be in a partnership/relationship to be hugged or to take a hot bath. I love the feeling of the water hugging me, and this is the season to hug everyone in your communities (with consent, of course). The warmth of friendship, hugs, and time together is a great way to burn calories. And if you are in a sweet partnership or lover-ship, make more play-dates for lovemaking, and connecting with each other under the sheets. This is a great way to exercise, sweat and alleviate depression!
5) Game Night: Invite your friends over to play games and laugh! Rummikub is one of my favorite games but can be a little slow for winter. But Ligretto is a fast-paced, fun game that will get your brain working. Hanging with friends and family is a wonderful way to feel warmer in your heart and can be seriously off the hook fun with conversations and laughter when you allow yourself the time to play!
Just being aware of our natural tendencies may be motivation enough to do any of these options, and maybe even go to the gym, dance class, or a walk once a week (or more).
Right now, I am going to get the heat started by going for a fast-paced walk around the block.
Enjoy your next steps in staying warm, keeping the stagnation clear, and staying healthy!