I don’t know about you, but this Winter has kicked me in the butt. Grey skies, cold temperatures, harsh winds, and not to mention it feels like the sunshine has been hiding forever. So how do we keep our energy levels up? How can we thrive during this season?
The trick to not only surviving~ but thriving in Winter is balance. Ayurveda is built on this concept of balancing out the doshas to achieve optimal health using food, herbs, and different lifestyle practices. Every single person is biologically and energetically different, including our dosha makeup, and Ayurveda takes this individuality into account. Instead of grouping people into one single category, it is known that we are unique and every persons health and wellness should be approached differently.
One thing I definitely recommend to keep yourself balanced throughout this winter season, is a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner. They can give you a specific regimen of what you can do for your specific dosha and unique make-up during the winter time (as also just in general to reach optimal health).
With that being said, there are some principles that can be used universally. In using these principles we can balance out the different qualities and energies of this season with what we eat, how we spend our time, and the intentions we create.
Start your morning with a warm breakfast. Are you usually a smoothie person? Me too, yet in Wintertime I recognize that my body won’t thrive with the cold, raw, contents of a green smoothie (no matter how delicious they are). Starting the day with some cooked oats or multi-grain cereal to combat the cold, and start the igniting of your internal fire.
Oil up. Seriously! One of Ayurveda’s specific lifestyle practices for every dosha is self-massage with oil. Especially during the wintertime, the skin becomes dry and all of the natural oils tends to decrease in the cold, heavy climate. Keep yourself moisturized this Winter by skipping the harmful lotions and creams, and using some organic, fatty oil to lather yourself up.
Stick to warming foods. Like I said, Ayurveda is all about balancing out the doshas, so when we add cold to cold… What do we get? EXTREME cold! We want to try and balance out the cold with some warmth, so adding as many hearty, warm foods as possible in this climate is the best thing for us. Lots of curries, stews, soups, and grounding meals to stay fulfilled this winter season.
Use warming spices. Use as MUCH ginger as possible! Kidding (kinda). Ginger, clove, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, and mustard seed are just a few examples of warming spices. They counteract the sluggish, heavy energy that winter brings, so adding them to meals and teas can help us to stay warm during the season.
Speaking of tea… LOTS of it! Hot tea is everything. Maybe think about cutting down on the coffee this winter, which is filled with caffeine and not necessarily great for the adrenal glands. Try switching over to some hot tea that is filled with some warming, loving herbs. (Ginger, sage, lemon, cumin, fennel…)
Stay active. The last thing we want to do in the wintertime is be incredibly active. This season is known for its sluggish, slow, and heavy energy, which is all the more reason to get moving. Every person is different, with what you like versus what is beneficial for your dosha make-up, but its always important to move your body and get the energy flowing. Head to that yoga class, or take a stroll outside in the sun when the temperature isn’t too low, it will all serve you more than laying on the couch… I promise!
BONUS… Feeling some excess or built up mucous this season?
I have a very mild case of asthma, so I know for me~ during this time of year I always have excess mucous when I wake up in the morning. (Probably too much information… but hey, gotta be honest!)
What helps me the most with this is oil pulling.
So.. What in the world is oil pulling? Drum roll. . . . . . . Swishing oil around your mouth for up to twenty minutes to cleanse and detoxify the mouth/oral cavity. I use coconut oil (because it tastes the best) but I have heard of people using sesame oil as well. It essentially grabs all bacteria and excess mucous that may be building up in your oral cavity, and sucks it into the oil like a vacuum. Its a natural teeth whitener, deodorizer, and helps prevent cavities and tooth decay.
So, how do you oil pull?
Simple really…But I’ve listed few guidelines below
- Oil pull when you first wake up in the morning. Before you have eaten or drank any fluids.
- Gently swish around 1-2 teaspoons of oil around your mouth for ten-twenty minutes.
- When you are finished, spit it out into the GARBAGE… Not the sink. You do not want to clog your drains!
- DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL… All of the excess bacteria is being pulled into the oil, so the last thing you want to do is ingest it.
- Rinse the mouth out with some peppermint oil infused water (or regular water) and brush teeth afterwards.
Wintertime has such a bad reputation. Its known at the flu season and is usually the time of year that everybody dreads. Its not that winter makes us sick, it is just more difficult to keep the body warm and nourished during these months, so staying actively invested in our health and wellness is key. Using these various practices and guidelines is a great start to keep ourselves in optimal health.
Also, make sure to surround yourself with loving, warm people. That is always a cure for the shivers. 🙂
Peace, love, and endless amounts of warmth!