Staying Well Naturally

Well here we are less than two weeks away from WINTER!

The change in season feels sudden and almost harsh as our days here in the Southern Hemisphere, specifically Melbourne become darker, colder and wetter.

I’ve noticed a sense of melancholy and anguish amongst us and, the other day one of my clients told me they “hated autumn”. And, when I asked why they said, “Because there’s nothing to look forward to in the coming months vs. in spring we look forward to warmer weather and extra light”.

It was a ‘wow’ moment for me as I love autumn and winter (actually all the seasons). For me it represents a time to slow down, schedule less, read, write, eat yummy soups and curries, go to bed early and snuggle. I see it as a time to hibernate, reflect and reset. It’s a time to prepare for the more outgoing energies of spring and summer.
But, I understand for many of us it’s a time of annoyance, inconvenience and restriction.

SEASONALLY AFFECTIVE DISORDERS (SADs)
Winter if not managed well can really throw our whole biochemistry out and we can end up experiencing, SADs. Characterised by feelings of depression – lack motivation, joy, energy and poor immune function.

When we feel this way we’re less likely to move our body’s and more likely to sit on the couch and overeat, craving things like sweet, salty, fatty and starchy foods. Overindulging will make us feel sluggish, foggy and add to low moods. Along with weight gain, skin break outs and hormonal imbalances (SADs). It becomes a vicious cycle that’s tricky to get off.

STAYING WELL NATURALLY
But, if we can manage to stay in tune with ourselves and nature we naturally flow with the changes happening internally and externally. We adjust and make the necessary changes to keep us balanced, calm, energised and healthy.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Here is a breathing exercise that can be done sitting, standing, lying down or with legs up the wall.

  1. Turn your attention to your natural breath. And begin to feel the air flowing in and out of your nostrils.
  2. As you practice this notice your thoughts. Then come back to feeling the air flowing in and out of your nostrils.
  3. Now notice how you are feeling emotionally. Once more come back to feeling the air flowing in and out of your nostrils.
  4. Finally, start to scan your body. Starting with your toes and feet; legs; buttocks and pelvis; spine and back muscles; belly and chest; shoulders; neck, head, face, throat and jaw. Notice if and where you are holding tension. Notice if there is any pain. Notice if there is a sense of blockage anywhere in your body. Just notice. Then come back to feeling the air flowing in and out of your nostrils.

Practicing this daily you will start to become very familiar with what’s happening inside of yourself and what your body needs to stay balanced and healthy.

***When you are very busy know that this whole exercise can be done in 30 seconds to 2 minutes. For further training in this technique you can join one of my yoga | mindfulness classes.

LISTEN TO NATURE
Here in the Southern Hemisphere it’s our time to withdraw and allow ourselves extra rest, whereas, in the Northern Hemisphere it’s their time to enjoy additional light and heat from the sun. It’s all about balance and flowing with the seasons.

If we didn’t know darkness we wouldn’t appreciate the  light so, rather, than spending the whole winter longing for the sun embrace the cold, dark and rain. And adjust your life accordingly.

MY TOP FOOD AND LIFESTYLE TIPS
FOODS to include daily – think SLOW (Seasonal, Locally sourced, Organic, Wholefood) foods:

  • Warming and preferably slow cooked soups and curries.
  • Fruit: citrus, apples and pears.
  • Veggies: cruciferous (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts), root veggies, green leafy.
  • Bone broth: chicken and beef and/or vegetable and Miso broth.
  • Loads of onions, garlic, ginger, chilli, thyme, rosemary, spices (esp. turmeric & cinnamon)

FOODS to avoid – these foods tend to promote inflammation and excessive mucous:

  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar, salt and carbohydrates
  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods
  • Excessive caffeine and alcohol

Keep hydrated. Non-caffeinated herbal tea (see my Gaia Natural Medicine Organic Blends here: Immune Rescue, Inner Harmony or Kidney Nurture are best!) along with purified water.

Practice Ayurvedic Medicine with daily use of (1) Neti Pot – to cleanse nasal passages of potential pathogens and excess mucous (2) Vata Oil – massaged into body post body brushing and pre bath or shower. This supports circulation, is warming and nourishes nervous system. Plus it smells divine!

Get more rest. Go to bed earlier. Schedule less. Create more down time for yourself and your family.

Wear a hat or ear muffs along with a scarf to keep your ears and neck warm. Also, wear those fabulous boots and jackets!

Use eucalyptus oil in an infuser throughout the house.

And, finally remember that if you or your family happen to catch a cold or other respiratory infection including sinus or bronchitis or…. I have my miracle herbal tonics which are brilliant at managing and preventing further sickness.

Wishing you all a wonderful winter filled with love, warmth and the joy of allowing yourself to just BE!

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