The cold, dark days of winter can be a lonely time. The colder temperatures and shorter days bring with them a range of physical and mental challenges. Many people find themselves feeling more sluggish, sensitive to light, sleepier and generally blue during this time of year. Knowing how to care for ourselves during winter can help us enjoy this season more. Ayurveda is an ancient healing system that helps us balance and harmonise with nature.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian healing system that focuses on living a balanced and healthy lifestyle, as well as using natural herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words “Ayur” (life) and “Veda” (knowledge), meaning “the knowledge of life”. Traditionally, Ayurvedic practitioners would treat each patient as an individual, taking account of their diet, lifestyle, and mental and emotional state, as well as their constitution, or “prakriti”. There are three types of prakriti, each corresponding to certain bodily and mental traits, which can be used to guide the diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s condition.
How does Ayurveda help us combat the winter blues?
Winter is a time of reduction, where we naturally look within for warmth and comfort. Winter is a great time for introspection and self-reflection, as well as a time for slowing down and creating space for rest, healing and rejuvenation. Eating a diet appropriate for the season, getting enough rest, and daily self-massage can help to boost energy levels and maintain a healthy mental and physical state. Ayurveda is a natural way to boost energy and combat the winter blues by supporting the body and mind in feeling more relaxed, calm, and re-energised.
Ayurvedic Food Tips for Winter
Eat warming foods, using spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and turmeric. Not only will they give you a warm-fuzzy feeling, but they are also rich in antioxidants and can help to ease common winter health issues such as colds and flus. Ginger as tea or a spice is a wonderful way to warm up and get a boost of energy.
Eat cooked foods. Avoid salads and raw vegetables in general, and eat more root vegetables and grains. Winter veggies are also rich in antioxidants and contain Vitamin C as well as Vitamin A, which helps to boost the immune system. Grains are rich in Vitamin B, which is great for your nervous system.
Swapping winter fruits for summer fruits is a great way to boost your health during the colder months. Examples include apples, pears, and oranges, which are great for their high levels of Vitamin C.
Drink only warm liquids – nothing colder than room temperature, and warmer than room temperature is great. Start your day with a glass of warm water, a healthy way to get your day started any time of the year. This helps your body wake up and detoxify.
Morning Ritual for Fighting Winter Blues
Warming up the body and mind with a daily self-massage is a great way to start your day. Self-massage is an Ayurvedic practice used to balance the body and mind, and has been associated with improved health, happiness, and wellbeing. You can purchase specially-formulated ayurvedic massage oils or use warm organic cold-pressed sesame oil. There are many online resources for self-massage to help you get started. Before bed, you can massage your feet and legs to unwind and relax before sleep.
In the winter it is tempting to hide and slow down completely. But we still need to move. Exercise helps us balance our mood and helps our immune systems. Try to get out for walks or do other kinds of exercise. It will help you navigate winter with more ease. Yoga is a wonderful way to balance and harmonise body, mind and soul.
Winter can be a great time for slowing down, allowing us to focus on ourselves, heal, and grow. With the right attitude, winter can be a wonderful time for connecting with nature and taking the opportunity to practice self-care and self-love.