Self-care this winter

I know it’s hard, it’s cold, wet, very windy and dark, it’s that time of year when our new year’s resolutions have already fallen aside because it’s actually the worst time of year to try to change anything. Forgive yourself and wait until Spring whilst focusing on self-care. Our motivation tends to be at it’s lowest with our lack of sunlight playing a part in this, the days are beginning to get longer though so hold onto that thought. Winter is the time for us to hunker down, and surrender to the elements, keep warm, eat root vegetables, stews, casseroles, and soups, adding spices that keep our circulation flowing and warm such as ginger, paprika, chilli, and cayenne. It’s not the time for juices they are too cold and won’t help us warm up, instead use warming herbal teas such as lemon, ginger, cinnamon teas as part of your routine.

Keep your kidneys warm, I laugh telling my clients to do as their mum would have told them to tuck their vests in at this time of year, keep your ears covered against the cold winds, and keep the chest covered. Scarves, hats, ear mufflers, and vests don’t leave home without them! Thermals were my saviour when I came over to Northern Ireland particularly when out walking the dog, am I of the age when I can suggest you get a pair, as function in my age has moved to a priority place for clothing. LOL

The darker days are starting to become shorter but keep to eating earlier to aid the digestion, ginger at this time of year will help the digestion, add to stews grated to bring a little zing. The doctrine of signatures would say that kidney beans would help the kidneys, so include them in foods at the moment, they give a heaviness to the food that makes it feel more filling. Cook them well even slow cook them, if the slow cooker isn’t out yet, why not, it’s the perfect time for using it and having dinner waiting for you when you either get up or get in. Let the gadgets do the work, slow-cooked food tends to be easier to digest but also allows the flavours of the food to really come through.

It’s easy at this time of year to become imbalanced from dehydration, which then affects our skin as it becomes more chapped and dry. it’s not all about moisturiser, remember work from the inside out with your self-care. Ensure you are hydrating yourself, this time of year in Chinese medicine is the water element, it’s too easy in our society to replace water with normal teas, green tea, coffee, and energy or fizzy drinks. But these create an imbalance in this element, move to warm water, herbal teas, fluid rich foods if you find yourself feeling dehydrated, soups, stews, porridge, brown rice, quinoa to help rehydrate across the day. Create flow rather than stagnancy, if you are finding yourself becoming more fearful or anxious review your hydration across the day.

I’m seeing a lot of lower back pain in people at the moment, get the root ginger out, grate it into a pan and cook with water to create ginger water. Then soak a clean undyed cloth into it and create a ginger pack for the lower back from this water. It’s lovely and warming for the back at this time of year.

Whilst doing your ginger pack, add in the diffuser and put on the doTerra OnGuard essential oil a lovely wintery cinnamon smell that feels warming but which will help to keep airbourne pathogens at bay. Their wild orange essential oil can be added when you are feeling a bit low, citrus oils are found to be helpful for improving the mood. Instead of looking at the weather just smell this lovely essential oil, allow it to wash over you, as you put your feet up and contemplate what’s for dinner.

After the Christmas break our routines are often difficult to re-establish. Listen to your body and what it needs, this is the time to spend sitting and contemplating what the body and mind are telling you. My whippet knows it’s not the time of year to spend hours outside, he’s in and out as fast as only a whippet can be, skidding on the mats which end up in a heap at the end of the kitchen and hallway. I go out and straighten them all up and he does what most of us should be doing, asks for his blanket to be put over him. He curls up and snores in my home office, what a way to spend winter, he takes his self care seriously.

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