Seasons once used to determine how our ancestors lived their lives. People were active and spent a lot of time outside in spring, summer and early autumn. As the weather got cooler in winter, activity slowed down. Families gathered around the fire, telling stories, spending time together and relaxing, so that everyone was well rested and rejuvenated when the demands of the new season came.
These days we have artificial light to help us stretch the day and technology that makes many tasks possible regardless of the season. It seems that there is no need to slow down anymore, so we push ourselves to keep going at the same speed at all times. Yet, our bodies haven’t adjusted to the rapid technological changes. When winter comes, we still feel the need to rest, reflect and connect with our loved ones and ourselves on a deeper level.
Let’s honour this immensely meaningful longing and enjoy the gifts of winter.”
Here are our 5 tips to slow down during winter
Listen to your body
It is normal to feel sleepier than usual in winter. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and our body takes this as a sign to sleep more. You could push through fatigue by drinking enormous amounts of coffee or you could choose to listen to your body and give it what it needs, whether it’s a nap, an earlier bedtime, a warm bath or some time away from your devices.
Move in gentle ways
Keep your body warm and mobile with gentle exercise. Go for a walk or a jog, join a yoga class, stretch or dance. Whenever you can, head outside to catch some winter sun. Your body will be grateful that you resisted the temptation to stay under the blanket all day and will thank you with renewed energy, resistance to colds and enjoyment of life.
Eat for warmth
Choose slow foods like stews, soups and slow-cooked meals. Take the time to prepare your food lovingly and enjoy it with your family. Add some ginger, turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon for warmth and to keep the winter bugs away.
Winter is the perfect season to stop rushing through life and check with your internal compass. Are you still moving in the direction you want to go? Have life events taken you off track? Either way, you have moved, learned and changed. Celebrate how far you’ve come and map out the next steps ahead of you.
Spend time going inward and reconnecting with yourself. Even if you can only block two or three hours for yourself, you can easily run your own mini-retreat at home. To create retreat atmosphere, make some changes to your space so that it looks more relaxing and welcoming, light up candles and play gentle music. During your retreat, choose practices that you feel most drawn to: mediate, journal, do yoga, make art.
Even better than a retreat at home is a midweek or weekend retreat in peaceful mountain settings, where you’ll be supported by experienced facilitators and a group of like-minded soul-seekers. Come and join us for one of our upcoming Winter Retreats!
Tatiana is a freelance writer and a mum of three living in Sydney. After a 10-years’ break, she has just returned to full-time work. She is still finding time for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which is making a huge difference to her sanity and her enjoyment of life.