Well, we’re back here again. Winter, the season of ultimate yin – cold, dark, hidden, internal – and for many a time of dread.  But this season is so important.  So how can we make winter work for us, and beat the winter blues?

I used to hate winter and couldn’t wait for the longer, warmer days.  I would be sluggish, dull, craving sunlight, and battling it every step of the way.

My relationship with the seasons transformed when I studied Chinese medicine.  Tuning into the natural cycle of the Earth helped me to live in synch with the ebb and flow of the year.  It’s enabled me to flourish in, and respect, every season.

And to recognise that a life based solely on growth, expansion, and pushing forward isn’t unsustainable.  We live in world underpinned by a need for constant growth and which values busy-ness, productivity, and the external above all else.

But what is the impact of this on our well-being?  And how does it make the winter experience?

Winter tree
Tapping into the gifts of winter

I’m all for shifting the stuff that makes life harder than it needs be.   Often we don’t even know it’s there but wow, it’s feel great when it’s gone.

This isn’t always an easy process, but it’s possible – and starts with awareness and looking deep inside with honesty and without fear.

It means getting to know the real you – letting go of some of the baggage, and accepting the imperfections and limitations.

And winter’s the perfect time to do this!

It’s all about pausing, retreating, turning inward and tuning into what makes us, us.  Winter’s when we can notice, reflect, accept, and challenge, all with gentle compassion.

And don’t forget, it’s in the depths that the real jewels lie.  These are the precious gifts that are so easy to miss if we never look below the surface.

And it’s using winter’s time and energy to resolve, repair, and regroup that gives us the power to spring forward with purpose and direction.

So how can you beat the winter blues?

  • Put the health foundations in place
    Supplement Vitamin D and get plenty of fresh air, movement and nourishing cooked foods.

  • Let in the light!
    Experiment with supplementing your light levels. I swear by my Lumie wake up light and SAD light for keeping my circadian rhythm functioning well.
    And get out into every bit of sunshine you can.

  • Put down the distractions and reflect
    Where are you? What isn’t working? What lifts your spirits? How are you hard on yourself? What can you release? Which fabulous flaws can you make peace with? The list goes on…
    Journalling can be a great tool for this process.
  • Take a deep breath, pause and notice what comes up for you.
    If it’s discomfort, fear, unease or anxiety, soothe yourself with some deep breathing, tuning into your senses, or give yourself a hug (yes it works!).

  • Practice self-acceptance
    Know yourself, understand yourself, accept yourself, all without judgement. Compassion is key: practice makes perfect (at accepting imperfect)!

  • Find pleasures that inspire and stimulate
    This is a great time for putting foundations in place, with self development and learning, but also for getting lost in a world of simple, quiet pleasures.

  • Take the time to care and repair (a phrase from Katherine May’s Wintering, a book I’d highly recommend).
    Use this time to heal and recover, on every level. It’s where the strength and focus comes for the next surge forward.

  • Feed the fire with strong, meaningful connections
    Balance is key and we still need the light, warmth and love of connection. Remember to emerge, every now and then, into the external.

The perfect antidote

And so, winter is the time to face our fears, quieten the noise and dig deep to find the essence of what’s important.

And, if you’re feeling thwarted by this pandemic and cold, dark days, embracing this purpose is the perfect antidote.

It shifts the focus on what you are doing, rather than what you’re not.  And it feels completely harmonious with the world outside.  Winter works for you, rather than against you.  And you’ll beat the winter blues.

But yep, some of this isn’t easy so reach out if you need some help with it.  I’m passionate about supporting people to tune into themselves, shift what’s holding them back and create healthy foundations so they can make things happen in 2021, whatever the circumstances.

And check out my other seasonal blogs.  There’s so much value in every season, physically, mentally and emotionally.  We just need to be aware of their gifts and tap into them.