Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Winter Wellness Rhythm

Use the darkness all around you to reclaim your inner world. There you will find that flame inside you that can never be extinguished. You can only make the descent when you commit to stillness, solitude and deep soul searching. You must become quiet, less social, more introverted, and despite the negative connotations in most cultures - lazy. Just as fields need to remain fallow at times for their soil to stay fertile, we need to leave our innermost beings barren of new projects, adventures and activities.

If we don't take time each year for deep rest, then authentic healing, rejuvenation, wisdom and softening are not possible. It takes so much energy to burst something new. This winter, treat yourself like a pregnant mama. Rest, nurture yourself, rebuild your vital life force, and prepare for the coming of new life. And if you don't live in an area with a pronounced winter season, you need to be more disciplined about getting quiet. This is also an opportunity to listen to the subtler rhythms of nature.”


The Way of the Happy Woman

Several years ago I took an online course, Hibernate, produced by the lovely Heather Bruggeman of North Ridge Farm. If you are not familiar with Heather and her lovely blog, I encourage you to spend some time perusing her offerings, but do make sure you have a slot of uninterrupted time, because if you're anything like me, you'll be there awhile.

It was in Heather's course that I was first introduced to the idea of a Winter Wellness Recipe, which is a personal list, which unlike resolutions that focus on improving our personal shortcomings, turns our glance instead to the things that as Heather says, "make us feel amazing!".

It may be cold and dark just outside our window, but inside, we seek warmth in the comfort of wool socks, hot tea, and cozy fires. We hunker down. It’s wintertime, and we are embracing it. 

Winter allows us to begin again. We turn the calendar page and enter a new year with a chance to start fresh. We are given the opportunity to write a new chapter in our story. And usually, around the new year, we feel inspired to polish off a few corners in our life, and make them feel vibrant again.”


I'm going to be honest here, when I took the course, which has been a couple of years ago now, I loved the idea, but it was one of the exercises that I never completed. I don't fault myself for that, because I've comfortable with the fact that no matter how good an idea may be, I (we), can't do it all. But recently I joined Heather's online community Hearth and Home and was reminded again of this lovely idea.

It was also about the same time that I was introduced to a new-to-me book, The Way of the Happy Woman: Living The Best Year of Your Life by Sara Avant Stover.  I read the first five chapters of the book which breaks down the basics of the practices that are suggested, journaling, yoga, and healthy eating, and then the remainder of the book is broken down by seasons. As we were a few weeks into winter, I skipped over to the last section of the book and began reading.

In this section Sara presents the idea for a one day Winter Rejuvination Retreat. which is a day that you set aside to embody all of the practices that are outlined for the season. When I read through the list of suggestions, many of them sounded much like the things that Heather had shared in her Winter Wellness Recipe (Great minds think alike!). Some of the things that are listed are;

- Scrape your tongue, brush your teeth, uses you neti pot.

- Drink one or two glasses of warm water with lemon, followed by a cup of ginger tea.

- Sit for ten or more minutes in mindfulness meditation.

- Do the winter yin yoga sequence.

And there are several others. In the book these are part of a one day retreat, but Heather's Winter Wellness Recipe are practices that she tries to do daily.

Typically in my life if something crosses my path once, I might consider it a good idea and perhaps even tuck it away in the back of my mind for another year or season. But when I come across the same suggestion twice in a short span of time, most of the time I feel that is the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention and I take note. It also seems appropriate at this point in my life, as I am dealing with a couple of health issues that I feel are directly related to my diet and to stress, and so I decided to sit down and write out my own Winter Wellness Rhythm, as I prefer to call it.


Each day . . .

Time in the word and prayer.

1 hour of reading.

(Non-Fiction - spiritual / personal growth


Non-Fiction - my choice

Fiction - throughout the day.)

Lemon Tea

(Lemon, organic local honey, and cayenne)

Floss, brush teeth.

Hydrate - Drink plenty of water, herbal tea in the afternoon.

Winter Yin and Winter Flow Yoga

Spend time outside and in the sun.

Make rest a priority. 15-30 minute afternoon nap.

Eat whole, simple foods, in season.

Spend quality, intentional time with those I love.

Seek to help others.

As I put this into practice, I'll be sharing more about how the rhythm is flowing, what changes or tweaks I may make and also references to specific books I'm reading, recipes for winter herbal remedies I've collected over the past several years, and recipes for some meals I have planned to make during these colder months.  The plan to read two non-fiction books (30 mins each) and read fiction throughout the day is another wonderful idea that I learned from Heather. She came across the idea at The Lazy Genius Podcast, Episode #176 - Why Fall Reading Might Not Be Working For You. so if that's something that peaked your interest you can learn more by clicking the link. The Winter Yin and Winter Flow Yoga are from The Way of the Happy Woman Yoga is something I've half heartedly attempted in the past but want to try again this year. It's going to be a little challenging in the van as there's not a lot of space unless I do it outside, which would be my preference, weather permitting, so we'll see how it goes. One of the things Heather emphasized is that while she tries to do these things daily, she doesn't sweat it if a day goes by and a few things were overlooked or perhaps she wasn't able to do any of them, she just picks it back up the next day. She also encourages you to revisit your plan annually as time, age and overall health can sometimes factor in what you want to include on your list. For me personally I plan to evaluate this seasonally perhaps, and have a rhythm for each season, though I think most of this would carry over without much need for revision.

As always, I hope you've found something here today to uplift and inspire you! I'll be back soon with my list of books I hope to read in 2021! Stay tuned!

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Angela said...

Oh my I needed this! I started the year with my goals list- a very long list of things to paint, yard work, etc. But my soul is in need of repair- after the year it has been in the world and in my personal relationships. And then yesterday- 5 days into 2021 and there was another disappointment- another thing to "make the best of." I feel emotionally bankrupt at the moment. I can't keep giving out and not taking in. Thank you!

Keri said...

Hi! These are very interesting ideas, and I'm inspired to spend some time thinking and praying about how I might implement them in my own life. Thank you for sharing!

Kimberly Lottman said...

Oh, Angela! I've had those years, as well! Most years January always feels like it's time to "get back to it", so to speak, after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. But much like nature is dormant and animals hibernate in the winter, this year I'm feeling more of a pull to rest than to launch head first into too many projects. Of course there are things that won't wait and will always need my attention, but I've decided this year to take some time to tend to my spirit and my body. The warmer months of spring and summer will soon be here and I can be more productive (as for as projects, etc.) then. For now it's time to rest!

Keri, I am so glad you were inspired. Heather has been such an inspiration in my life and I'm happy to have these tools to help guide my days. If you do decide to develop a winter wellness recipe or rhythm, I hope you'll come back and re-visit this post and share!

Many blessings!