(According to Ayurveda late winter lasts from approx. mid January to mid March).
Late Winter can be for many one of the harshest seasons. The bitter cold winds & long dark nights can play havoc with our bodies & minds (if we are unprepared.) During this time we want to ensure we balance our internal environment with whatever the external environment throws at us! For late Winter, it is recommended that you allow extra TLC for body, mind & spirit.
Here are top 10 tips to reduce the impact of late Winter on our bodies and minds.
1. Lap up those hearty stews & curries:
Our bodies crave warmth & nourishment in late Winter and there’s nothing that warms the body more than some nice stew or spicy rich curry. Make sure you include lots of warming digestive herbs & spices (ginger, turmeric, black pepper, mustard seeds, sage, rosemary, garlic, chilli, etc).
2. Eat with the season:
Raw foods are cooling & drying to the body and late Winter is certainly not the time you want to increase these (salads etc). Best to wait until spring when salad greens are seasonally available (Spring is also a much easier time to lose weight and commence a detox program). Instead stock up on warming vegetables soups, stews and
3. Avoid cold foods & drinks:
Strangely enough cold foods & drinks have a cooling effect on the body and therefore when we want to combat the external coldness (in late Winter) warm foods & drinks are much better. Example: if you’re thirsty have a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon or ginger (or a nice cup of Chai) instead of a cold glass of water.
4. Indulge in a nice long soak:
A bath is such a simple but effective way to combat the cold sneaking into your bones. Baths help to soften sore muscles & reduce tension in your joints. To enhance your bath: do a self massage with a natural oil beforehand; add some herbs (ginger, chamomile or epsom salts).
It is highly recommended that massage and self massage in late Winter is fantastic for circulation as well as enhancing lymphatic drainage which aids the removal of
toxins from the body and helps soothe away muscular tensions and pains. Warm your oil slightly before application.
6. Stretch and yoga:
In late Winter our bodies can stiffen and flexibility may decrease. Yoga is an excellent way to improve flexibility and suppleness.
7. Sweat it out:
Sweating is an important way for our bodies to eliminate wastes. It also regulates body temperature and helps to balance body fluids. During Winter some people
find it very difficult to sweat. If you fall into this category then you will need to make an extra effort to sweat (try a sauna, hot bath, more vigorous exercise, etc).
8. Look for the sun:
Sunshine is vital to our physical & mental health and although not abundant during Winter, it is still there. Try and get outside for a while every day or at least a
few times per week.
9. Don’t forget to meditate, Breathe and practice mental fitness:
With long nights and dark mornings this is the perfect time of year to start a meditation practice or continue with the one you’ve got. Meditation is excellent for calming the mind and reducing anxiety & depression. If you’re just beginning a practice start with 10 minutes and build on this.
10. Wrap up:
This may seem like an obvious one but it’s amazing how many people do not dress for the weather. It can get bitter cold outside therefore our bodies need to be protected. Layer up in warm clothes and remember to keep your head, kidneys and feet extra warm.