Every year, when winter comes, I find myself in a seemingly constant state of discomfort.
It’s cold. But just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we have to BE cold. There are endless rituals we can incorporate into our day to warm ourselves up, and thus enjoy the season to the fullest. Here are just a few!
Eat warming spices. In Chinese medicine, foods that warm the body are known as yang foods. Spices like cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, turmeric and cumin fall under this category – raising our core temperatures to keep us warm from the inside out. On a chilly night, mix ginger and cinnamon into some warm almond milk, and sip with delight.
Add healthy fats. Foods high in healthy fats (like omega-3s) help to regulate blood temperature, keeping us much warmer in the winter. Try to incorporate raw nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds into your diet. These also do wonders for the skin and hair. ;)
Move your body. One of the most natural ways to warm up the body is to move it. When winter comes, the chilly air often makes us want to curl up in a ball and do nothing at all, when really we’d find ourselves much more comfortable moving. Start your morning with some gentle, warming yoga poses like Child’s Pose, Wide-Legged Forward Bend and Chair Pose. Later on, do something a little more intense to really warm yourself up. Even if you’re running low on time or energy, aim to do something physical every day. As I’ve touched on in the past, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every little bit counts.
Use a warming oil. The ancient practice of Ayurveda focuses on the seasons, and how to tweak the exposure of our minds and bodies to a particular season. Integrating a daily herbal oil massage – known as Abhyanga – using a warming oil will help get your blood flowing, and warm every bit of your body. Plus, the oil will add a ton of moisture to your skin, helping to reverse the drying effects of the winter air. Sesame and almond are two excellent oils for warming the body.
Focus on your head, hands, and feet. A tip my mom shared when I was young was to always keep my head, hands and feet warm in the winter. These are three places from which heat energy can escape in large amounts, so warming them up can make a huge difference in how you feel. Wool is well-loved for being the best natural fabric to keep you cozy. It has a great natural ability to trap and hold warmth, and even remains effective when wet. Invest in an awesome pair of wool socks, wool gloves and a beautiful wool hat this winter. You’ll undoubtedly thank yourself all season long.
Take a warm bath. Submerging the body in hot water helps to improve blood circulation and temporarily raise body temperature. In the evening, fill your tub with warm water. Add a few drops of essential oil, light some candles and allow yourself to enter a world of blissful warmth. Although your body temperature will return to normal soon after, you’ll feel incredibly relaxed, and are likely to fall asleep much more quickly than normal. Jump into your coziest pajamas, snuggle up in bed and drift to sleep.
Use visualization. When no other resources seem to be available, you can always use your mind. Close your eyes, relax your muscles and envision yourself standing directly under a powerful ray of sunlight. Imagine a wave of warm, peaceful energy flowing through every piece your body. Maybe you find yourself mentally traveling to your happy place – a beach, a fireplace, an incredibly cozy bed. Go there, fully. If you focus hard enough, you may just realize you’re not so cold after all.
+How do you stay warm in the winter?