No matter where you live, no matter how many winters you've braved, snow, rain or hail storms you've lived through or icy roads you've survived...somehow no one's ever REALLY prepared for what winter is going to bring to their doorstep. And no matter how much you think you love the cold and frost, evenings by the fire and sweater weather, there comes a time when you're gonna need to dig deep for a little internal sunshine just to keep your sanity....am I right?
And if now is that time, I've got some suggestions for you from the ancient living science of Ayurveda.
How Ayurveda Can Help
According to Ayurveda, the seasons have a huge impact on our state of mind and body. And each of the seasons has a set of qualities that reflects one (or more) of the three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). Winter is cold and dry, the air is light and moves fast, and can be pretty rough on things. In other words, winter has vata written all over it. And it's the qualities of vata that have the potential to rock your world during this season (no matter where you live).
Cold hands and feet, dry skin, constipation, anxiety, mood swings, aches, pains, stiffness and after a long enough time in frigid temperatures...a general sense of yuckiness. Sound familiar? These are some of the telltale signs that vata is taking hold.
But you know what...? It doesn't have to be this way (I'm totally serious!). Because Ayurveda has some ridiculously simple and oh so effective ways to counter the impacts of winter on your mind, body and soul. A little something I like to call Vata-Busters!
The Ayurvedic solution for observing the winter season (and maintaining your sanity) is simple. If vata (winter) is cold, dry, and totally unpredictable, you counter and reduce its effects with warmth, moisture, and routine. It's the Ayurvedic principle of opposites counter balancing each other. It's simple, powerful and it can work in all areas of your life.
And if you're wondering how to apply this in real life, for a more blissful winter, here are my suggestions:
- Enjoy foods that are warming and grounding like root veggies, soups and stews, sauteed greens, baked and stewed fruits.
- Stay hydrated with warm drinks (like herbal teas) and warm or room temperature water.
- Use warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, turmeric and cumin in your foods and drinks (coffee and tea).
- Eat, sleep and exercise at regular times and in a peaceful environment. Your digestion will thank you for this too!
- And my personal favorite, use oils instead of lotions. Massage your body, from head to toe daily with oil. I suggest you keep oil in the shower and apply it just before you jump out. Just make sure to wash most of it off first.
- Make sure your bowels are moving regularly (for most this means at least once a day).
- Find a way to laugh and smile more.
- Touch and be touched by people you love.
- Have a massage... or twenty.
- If you're into aromatherapy, choose scents that are warm, sweet and heavy like lavender, cloves, vanilla or pine.
So if you're ready to claim your life back from the cold grip of winter, first accept that there's nothing you can do about the snow, the dark, the cold or the fact that it can sometimes seem never-ending. And then understand that that does't make you powerless.
Because no matter what Mother Nature (or anyone else for that matter) throws at you, remember you always have the option to catch it rather than letting it smack you upside the head. And if your catch happens to be a particularly brutal winter, nourish yourself and those around you with some vata-busting warmth and stability and make a conscious choice to add more consistency and routine to your life...at least until the snow melts!