Winter calls me to turn inwards & as I slow down, I am able to tune into what my body really needs.
Here’s how I feel drawn to take care of myself during the winter months;
The season calls for more vigorous movement – my morning walks on the beach (perfect in summer) have become powerwalks up a steep hill to my local look-out and a run up the stairs a few times when I get there. This helps slough off any sluggishness and leaves me feeling great!
Cold Showers! I aspire to fill my bathtub with ice Wim Hof style, but am not there yet. Instead, I continue to start my day under cold water, alternating between hot and cold a few times, then ending with cold. This contrast therapy helps me kickstart the day feeling energised and clear- no caffeine needed!
All meals are now Winter warmers; breakfast consists of nourishing porridges of buckwheat, millet, black or brown rice, or quinoa, topped with a sprinkling of nuts & seeds, shredded coconut & tahini. My huge lunch salads have been downsized to a side accompaniment to delicious vegetable soups such as pumpkin, a veggie-packed miso, or minestrone. Dinners are still nutritious, plant-based meals such as Tulsi Turmeric Ginger infused kitcheree. My portion sizes are slightly smaller during the winter months – my metabolism has definitely slowed down with the season.
I continue with intermittent fasting– a year-round stayer with the exception of the occasional evening of celebration. Now I find myself wanting a longer fast time- approximately 14hrs between dinner and breakfast, with water or non-caffeinated Tulsi tea in between. As my digestive system rests, I feel my vitality strengthening, and I honestly think I wake feeling much clearer.
Warm fluids– warm water, warm lemon water, apple cider vinegar in warm water & Tulsi tea make it so much easier to stay hydrated when I’m feeling cold. Ayurveda’s Queen of Herbs features several times daily; often Tulsi Turmeric Ginger on rising, Tulsi Wellness in a keep cup on the school run, and Tulsi TUMMY or SLEEP after dinner. If my elimination feels sluggish, which can happen as the weather turns cold, I reach for the delicious, and very gentle, Tulsi LAX.
Warm Oil Massage. Winter can be hard on my skin, so I treat myself to an Ayurvedic warm oil massage as often as I can. I dry brush my skin using a loofah while warming some organic black sesame oil, then massage the oil thoroughly into my limbs & body, before jumping under my evening shower. The black sesame oil feels so nourishing- no moisturiser needed! Another Ayurvedic treat I enjoy is to rub warm sesame oil into my feet just before going to bed. Cover with old socks – the oil can stain sheets.
Sleep is my mantra. I can feel my body wanting more rest- turning in early seems a no-brainer. The reward is priceless – waking happy and well…YAY! For those struggling to sleep deeply and wake feeling refreshed, there is a lot that can be done naturally to encourage a healthy Sleep pattern.
Layer up with natural fibres. Body temperature is so important for wellness and home heating systems can really disturb our equilibrium, often having a drying & dehydrating effect on the body. I prefer fresh air, a couple of open windows and layers of wool, cotton, linen, hemp or bamboo which naturally keep me warm. When travelling to cooler climates, I scan charity shops for woollens that I store properly and enjoy through winter months. Layering up enables us to easily adapt from early morning to the midday sun, and is SO much better for our planet.
Pacing myself. When the nights are cosy and the days are warm, I just don’t feel like rushing around. I give myself permission to go slower, expect a little less of myself, and cherish spacious moments under the sun, stars, or by the fire. These quiet moments allow time for reflection, gratitude, and really nourish the inner well of my being.
As winter settles in, you also may notice your body and mind feeling a little different, with new or different preferences emerging. Try to listen to your body as it calls you to tweak your wellness regime to suit your individual needs this cosy season.
Sarada (Sally Martin) is a naturopath, herbalist, yoga teacher, mum, nature-lover and free spirit who lives by the forest and the beach, near Byron Bay.
Sarada works as Team Leader for ORGANIC INDIA AUS & NZ and is passionate about healthy, conscious living.