When I first started to slow my body down with the hopes of getting pregnant I adopted a new way of being, of slowing down and breathing deeper. A back to basics way of living. Enjoying the smaller, tinier pleasures in life. It allowed me to start waking up each day, finding excitement in knowing I was taking a few small steps in the direction of healing my body.
I think right now there is so much going on ( yes personally, but more so in the world ) where it can feel so hard to sift through what it is we really need to do in order to help heal our bodies (and our minds and our hearts). I could be naive in saying this, but I don’t think it’s too complicated. Instead of trying to take a breather from your everyday life, try to invite a little slow living into it. Try to change your mentality so that slow living becomes your way of living in whatever form that ends up taking.
Eat simple foods. Connect with the people you love. Breathe deeply. Sleep. Drink water. Stretch your body. Challenge yourself. Say thank you. Believe in something bigger.
As the weather drops below zero, grey skies set in and the snow falls, I can’t help but to feel more grounded. I somehow take deeper breaths and give myself longer to do whatever it is that I’m doing. I find a reason to stay put rather than to get up and go. I am lingering longer, listening to slower music and definitely craving warmer foods. As the seasons change it’s so important to nourish ourselves properly. I love the idea of warming ourselves from the inside out. Hot tea, big soups and warm oatmeal. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they believe that eating with the seasons is a way to prevent illness. By aligning ourselves with the foods that are grown each season we are harmonizing our bodies with the flow of nature. It makes sense if you think about it – we are ingesting what is ready to be picked, what is grown right now. It’s a natural indicator of what our body needs – squash, root vegetables, dark leafy greens. In Summer there is this expansion, this free energy that’s roaming around us. The heat makes us want to get outside and explore. It encourages us to use our energy whereas when Winter really sets in, there is this idea of contracting – of turning inward and bringing ourselves closer to our homes. During this season it’s important to try to keep yourself warm – physically and mentally.
I am a lover of lists. I find them the best way to visualize (mostly for myself) how I’m truly feeling. They help me to categorize, to emphasize, to conceptualize all of the things that are going on in my head and in my heart. During each seasonal shift I like to create a new list that gives me simple guidelines, simple thoughts and ideas that will help me to slow down. They are things that really resonate with me at that time – because let’s be honest, how we fe el changes, and that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s awesome. Change is positive movement – it isn’t always easy but it’s something that stirs up energy within us and around us and we all need that to help move what’s stagnant.
This winter I’ve chosen 5 rituals to help me embrace the cold, the dry and the warmth that is Winter. Things that will help me to slow down but also to love myself just a little bit more.
1. SUNDOWN CANDLE LIGHT | all electricity off once the sun goes down – candles only! I’m a big fan of Beeswax candles – they come in all shapes and sizes so you really can place them all over your house to create a cozy nest.
2. DELICIOUS EARLY MORNING GOODNESS | make tea, make slow cooked oatmeal, or poach an egg – whatever it is, make it consciously, eat it slowly and embrace the idea that your food actually is your energy source.
3. CREATE A SELF LOVE RITUAL [ one thing once a day that you love, just for you]. For me it’s a nightly warm oil rub. The winter has me feeling so incredibly dry so a few nights a week before bed, I warm some sesame oil on the stove and rub it all over my feet, legs, arms and hands. In Ayurvedic medicine, anointing ourselves with oil has a seriously amazing calming effect – and it also sends a message to our joints, our skin and our hearts that we’ve got enough time to slow down and really take care of ourselves.
4. FRESH SHEETS | one of my favourites – find some fresh sheets ( serious bonus if they are warm from the dryer!) and put them on your bed, there is nothing better than crawling into a bed with fresh plumped up pillows and sheets.
5. SAY NO MORE [ to things that don’t serve you, to things that don’t fill you up or make you feel positive ] So much of our life is spent scrolling through social media, or rushing around from place to place. The busyness has a way of taking over and sometimes we don’t even know what happened to that last hour of our life. It’s so easy to say yes, to get lost in a sea of discomfort just because we feel like we have to. Guess what? You actually don’t – it’s just that most of the time it’s easier to say yes than to say no. If you start feeling inadequate, lonely, “less than” or overwhelmed maybe let your apps go for a little bit. Go outside into the earth. Find a human. Connect – even if it’s scary. Cook a beautiful meal for yourself. Create something with your hands. Read an actual book. Slow yourself right down.