Baby, It's Cold Outside: Winter Season Tips
The "Polar Vortex" has once again swept the nation, dropping temperatures in many parts of the country. Thus, I felt compelled to write about ways to combat the bone-chilling days of winter. Remember, it's not only COLD outside. It's typically very dry.
Even if there is moisture in the air, most likely the heat at work or in your home is cranked just to stop the teeth from chattering, sucking every bit of moisture out of the air. To battle the brutal effects of Old Man Winter, here are 10 tips to not only stay warm, but moisturized, grounded and healthy all season long:
- Hang your clothes to dry. If your heat is on, they will dry lickity-split.
- Get a good humidifier. Worth every penny.
- For the love of God, this is NOT the time of year to do a juice cleanse. Or go raw. Or embark on a diet of smoothies. Get over the need to eat nothing. Your body needs nourishment right now — feed it. Well. Root vegetables, stew, warm oatmeal, ghee, creamy soups (even if not cream based) — all are better options in the winter.
- Drink hot water with lemon every morning — this will also help detoxify the liver and reduce bloat.
- Drink hot teas with herbs throughout the day. One of my most favorite gifts ever is this tea infuser from Libre tea. You can add loose-leaf tea or herbs to some hot or room temperature water and sip throughout the day. Refill often. Try lemon and ginger, or a stimulating chai during the day.
- Speaking of water, skip the ice. Drink room temperature or hot water with lemon.
- Before you climb into bed, grab some good quality sesame oil (my favorite is this Triphala oil from the Himalayan Institute) and give yourself a foot massage. Or better yet, find someone else to do it for you! Cover your feet with socks to prevent oil from getting on sheets.
- One of the greatest treasures of the Ayurvedic system of healing and balance is Abhyanga or self-massage. Use the same quality massage oil as above and begin at your feet, rubbing and massaging oil into you legs, belly and upward. Don't forget your head and scalp! Rest and allow oil to soak into your body for about a half hour. This is a great time to do a meditation, practice yoga nidra or rest with your feet up the wall (Viparita Karani). Shower with warm water, leaving some oil residue on your skin. Besides nourishing and moisturizing the skin, there is a multitude of other benefits to Abhyanga including, better sleep, improved digestion and elimination, relief from fatigue, and mental rejuvenation, just to name a few.
- I mentioned yoga nidra above. Yoga nidra is a guided systematic process of relaxation that requires nothing of you except complete relaxation and a slight trace of awareness. This process deeply restores and renews your nervous system and has been said to equal four to five hours of actual sleep. It's a power nap times two!
- Take an Ayurvedic bath. This is a time-honored tradition in the East and one we can use to help balance and rejuvenate us during the dreary days of winter. Depending on your individual constitution, or dosha, different herbs can be used. In the winter, a nourishing milk and rice starch bath can sooth dry and cracked skin. Add soothing oils such as lavender or rose to calm and heal. You can always use Epsom salts to draw out impurities and sooth tired muscles. For maximum benefit, perform Abhyanga prior to slipping into your bath.
Holiday festivities, the weather, social commitments, erratic eating — all of these can take their toll not only on our physical bodies, but our immune and nervous systems as well. It is worth it to find the time to establish healthy routines and cultivate positive nourishing practices during the wintertime. They say it's going to be a long and brutal one. Now you have the tools to make it through with radiant health!