December is here. It is cold. It is dark + winter conditions prevail. While we might be inclined to slow down + chillout we tend to do the very opposite. The hustle + bustle has only just begun!
Year-end pressure is maxed for project completions, social gatherings, parties, family responsibility etc. Here in the Alps the ski stations have opened + local businesses prepare to welcome a high volume of visitors. This festive month is bursting at the seams with equal amounts of fun + stress + overwhelm. We all know that the energy we expend in this month as we embark on the winter season can be very depleting so let’s be mindful of replenishing our energy reserves where-ever possible.
Daily DECEMBER WellBeing
Here are 6 tips to avoid feeling frazzled under the mistletoe this month:-
Start the day with a morning spritzer of warm water + grapefruit or lemon juice to boost vitamin C, antioxidants + combat the excesses of the festive season.
Keep up the fluid intake throughout the day ~ if it’s difficult to drink cold water, drink warm tisanes or ginger infusions. I like to simmer a pot of water with fresh ginger infusions the night before + have it on hand during the following day. Avoid excess caffeine (max 4 small cups of coffee or tea a day) to avoid disrupting adrenals in this already stress-inducing time.
If you feel achy, practice yin yoga or Qigong to nourish + hydrate fascia + joints while also helping to keep lymph moving toxins out of connective tissues. Read more about that HERE
Wrap up warm particularly around the neck + kidneys where we can lose vital body heat. Regular daily movement also helps keep the lymphatic system pumping + detoxing your system of waste. CLICK HERE to follow me through my morning lymph draining routine.
3. REDUCE INFLAMMATION:
The skin suffers indoors with central heating + out in the elements. Festive indulgences play havoc with our digestion + elimination. Help to reduce inflammation by choosing nourishing wholefoods ~ antioxidant rich green /herbal teas ~ collagen rich bone broth. In particular think of Tumeric as gold in winter time. Tumeric is a root herb and a spice with well documented bio-active, anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties.
Check out Marie of GOODY BLENDYs practical ways to add tumeric to your diet. Swap coffee and hot chocolate for warm golden milk! Pure gold.
Try to socialise outside more – we spend so much time staying indoors ~ it’s so uplifting to get together outside in the fresh air. Wrap up + go for walks n talks or if you’re lucky to be in the mountains, you’ll already know skiing + snowboarding are always best done with friends.
Breathe through the nose rather than the mouth to maximise the benefits + efficiencies of each breath + protect yourself from pathogens in the air (bugs, viruses etc). Keeping our lungs healthy + functioning optimally increases oxygen absorption + energy production as well as protection of our immune function.
When indoors, diffuse essential oils for calming, warming aromas in your home or workspace to lift and re-energize your mood (such as Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Orange and Cinnamon oils). Apply a few drops of lavender oil at night on your pillow for a good nights sleep. Use Geranium oil to soothe chilblains. Invest in a bug busting, mind soothing blend like ALTITUDE OIL (my fave). Read more about the benefits of essential oils HERE.
Balance stress or over-exertion with this Qigong tool to support your kidney Qi ~ KIDNEY TAPPING has been used for centuries to support our energy + vitality during winter ~ gently tap your kidneys with your fists 39 times any time you feel depleted. CLICK HERE for a demo. You can do it anytime anywhere to manage fatigue + lack of energy.
Other soothing recharging practices would be yoga, or taking walks in nature, or having a bath, or add a 10 minute savasana anytime of day.
Prioritise sleep. Go to bed earlier + choose more evening activities that aid sleep + relaxation instead of challenge it in particular avoid eating + drinking late at night.
Tis the season of good will ~ of hope, generosity, kindness + compassion. Start by being kind + compassionate to yourself.
Instead of negative self-talk, talk yourself UP- like you’d speak to a good friend. In turn you’ll be in a better head space to be kind to others. Perhaps try to respond to unkind people with extra compassion as they are likely in need of it the most….
To stay balanced + energised through the last month of the year it’s simple – Take time to match the energy in season. Try to mirror the qualities of the Natural world whenever you can at this time of year.
What is nature doing at this time of year? It’s very limited isn’t it?
Plant life has let go above ground + has retreated to sustain itself at roots level. With winter comes the cold. Lakes and streams and waterfalls freeze, rains turns to snow. The the sun stays low in the sky + the buzz of the growing season gives way to stillness. Snow covers the high ground like a winter blanket + the natural world is at rest.
Nature cues us to match her vibe with STILLNESS. Rest ~ Retreat ~ Take Cover ~ Choose the paths of least resistance ~ Ditch the controls + Go with the flow more ~ Be at ease + be more Introspective.
Since it that rhythm is likely to contradict your December work + social calendar, it is vital to pause DAILY + tune inwards.
During Winter it’s vital that we LISTEN to our bodies, rest up, nurture ourselves + recharge our energy stores.
Through a TCM lens, WATER is the element that best represents the energy of Winter. It is the most YIN element of the 5 elements. Mirror the qualities of water to stay balanced this winter. Opt for more ease + stillness ~ less structure + control. Be open to flow with the natural currents + trust that you’ll always finding a level no matter what obstacles get in the way.
And Meditation is a great practice for Winter Balance – Read my guide to mediation HERE
(Photo by Philip Volkers www.philipvolkers.com)