The final seasonal transition of the year is approaching, bringing the downward energy of winter with it. You’ve turned your heat on, planned your holiday travel, and double-checked your stock of sidewalk salt, and know it’s time to take care of you. Below you will find Freed LMT and Herbalist Karen Culpepper’s top five tips for preparing and caring for yourself and we reach year’s end and hole up to wait out the cold.
1) Embrace stillness. In early chemistry lessons, we’re taught that molecules slow down as temperatures drop, changing the state of matter. Ice is literally water molecules that have slowed to a near stop, freezing in place! Trees stop growing and branching out and instead drop their leaves and pull their energy downward, into their root systems, using lingering stores from summer to survive until spring. Humans too slow down in the winter, and it’s okay to embrace this stillness. Spend more time retreating into your home and turning your attention and energies inward through daily meditation. As a bonus, meditation will help augment your mood through the months that are notorious for exacerbating depression.
2) Plan for action. Even as you’re retreating for the winter, plan for spring. If you’re a gardener, you know the importance of planning your plot in winter since many seedlings need to be started as early as March. New Year’s is always a great time to look forward to the year ahead, set goals, and decide what steps you need to take to implement them. This will do more than just set you up for a successful, productive year--it will also give you something to look forward to when you need a mood boost.
3) Quit salads. Nutrition is vital in the winter, but now’s not the time for cold foods or crisp textures. Get your veggie fix through hearty soups and stews or warm grain bowls with roasted root veggies. Don’t be afraid to make things a little spicier than usual! The capsaicin in spicy foods acts as an irritant that will raise your internal body temperature, warming you up, and boost your metabolism, which gets sluggish at this time of year.
4) Amp up your herb and oil usage. Just like you did in the fall as temperatures started to drop, keep caring for dry skin with regular exfoliation and warm oil massage. Mix uplifting essential oils (think citrus fruit) into a hot bath to boost your mood, and sip warming teas with ingredients like ginger and cinnamon to bolster your circulatory system. Eucalyptus oil does amazing things for the sinuses, and oregano oil boosts immunity and helps fight existing infections!
5) Hydrate. The urge to drink water isn’t as strong in winter as it is in the summer when you sweat just opening the door to check the mail, but it’s just as important as ever. Opt for warm lemon water and tea whenever possible, and minimize alcohol consumption (especially if you tend to binge at holiday parties!) to give your kidneys and liver a much needed break. You can even make your own tea blends using herbs and flavors personalized to your needs.
Karen will be sharing her own homemade blend of chai tea at Freed’s upcoming Majik Emporium Pop-Up Shop on December 10th, along with many other winter necessities and thoughtful stocking stuffers. Stop by anytime between 12:30 and 5 p.m. and stock up!