Most people experience winter as a challenging time to stay healthy and feel positive. I used to be one of them. Due to bad weather, a lack of sunshine and darkness, wintertime was and sometimes still is challenging for me. If you don’t know it yet, our home base of Vital Woman is in Sweden. I think our team can call us experts on how to deal with cold and darkness. Whether you love winter or absolutely hate it, I would like to share tips and explore some opportunities that has helped me. So, let’s cuddle up and pull back just like everything else does in nature.
As we know, winter is a time where nature pulls back in order to survive. Plants and trees lets go of their leaves and they survive cold if their roots are strong enough. Animals hibernate and prepare the whole summer and autumn for winter. For us humans, this used to be the case as well. However, in our modern society our alarm goes off at the same time as the rest of the year, and no matter what kind of weather it is we still have to work and fulfill the responsibilities we have. We keep on going and trying to get through the day.
The most common health complaints in wintertime are temperature fluctuations coming from the outside going inside. Dry skin that can crack or itch, painful joints and back pain, tiredness, digestive issues, lack of energy and depressive feelings. In my opinion, fighting winter and how it makes you feel is a waste of energy. So, here are my favorite and personal tips on how to take the winter blues into your own hands and make the most out of your hibernation time!
- Enjoy doing absolutely nothing
Sleep longer whenever possible and enjoy days of slowness, doing nothing special or productive without feeling guilty. Its winter! It’s our nature to slow down. I feel so at peace when I have a cup of my favorite tea in my hands, laying on the couch with a warm blanket looking out of the window seeing how bad the weather is. And to be honest, I do this as often as possible. I am not as social and productive in winter as the rest of the year, simply because I need more sleep and time to be warm in my own home. I used to feel guilty about being less social and productive but most of my friends feel the same! After a period of rest you also often increase in productivity. Just decide that you are doing something to regain energy for spring. In other words, doing nothing is a good way to become very productive ladies!
- Warm your being
Warming your body with proper winter clothes and yes, those woolen socks. There’s nothing better to have in winter than warm feet. Go on walks despite of the weather. It will release some nice warm feelings when you get home for sure. Light candles and get yourself a nice “couch” blanket. Warm your soul with a good book or a feel good movie. Slow down. Breathe. Hug. And if you feel blue, call a loved one. There is warmth in so many aspects of life.
- Cold showers
You say what?!?? Yes, I actually recommend cold showers in wintertime! Or ending your warm shower with a few seconds or a minute of cold. Why, you might think? Well, there is some magic in cold water and the so called hydrotherapy. What happens is that your blood vessels on the surface of the skin constricts. As blood travels away from the skin, blood vessels in deeper body tissues dilate. This improves circulation in the deeper tissues. That results in more health benefits as; reduced pain, lower cortisol levels (it reduces stress!), decrease of inflammation and reduced muscle soreness and fatigue. I’ve always loved cooling down after a sauna, but for some time now I’ve been taking cold showers daily and I end my shower cold. Although I do dislike the feeling of the cold, the after effects are amazing. Start with some seconds each day and go colder and longer if you can. Let us know how it’s going, we would love to hear your thoughts!
- Warm and happy food
There are herbs and spices with cooling abilities and there are herbs and spices doing the opposite. They warm us and our intestines. Examples are; chili pepper, cayenne pepper, clove, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. Juices containing one of these great spices are good, especially when you are tired. Ginger tea is great for your stomach and immune system. With a bit of honey and a slice of lemon you can’t go wrong. Cinnamon tea or apple sauce with cinnamon together with some oatmeal is a great start of the day. Warm salads with full grain rice and a nice dressing with chili and turmeric are perfect for lunch. For dinner, smashed potato with clove and grilled veggies, talking healthy comfort food!
I love to end my evening with some hot chocolate. Or start my day with it, or drink it in between..! This is the ultimate winter drink!
Here’s the recipe:
- One full spoon of raw cacao
- One cup oat milk
- A sniff of cinnamon
- A tiny bit of salt
- A teaspoon of maple syrup
Mix and heat up. Drink slowly – while doing absolutely nothing.
- Vitamin Sunshine!!
Supplement yourself during the cold and wet months with vitamin D. This will do you so much good. Normally you get vitamin D from the sun and since there is not too much sunshine during winter, supplementing D is the way to go, to get rid of the fatigue and blues.
I hope these tips will give you some enjoyment and remember that spring always comes next!
Coming weekend, I will travel to Swedish Lapland where it is minus 15°C during daytime. My plan is to take another ice bath up there and learn how the indigenous Sami people of Sweden have survived extreme cold winters for thousands of years. I will tell you my experiences in my next blog and hopefully share some northern light pictures!