Thriving in a Dark Season: Nurturing Your Body, Mind & Spirit in Winter

Nurturing Your Body, Mind & Spirit in Winter icy ball shimmering on a branch
Photo credit: Aaron Burden via Unsplash

You always have control over your perception, and often it’s best to think differently from the crowd.

What if, instead of viewing the season of cold and darkness as a time for slowing down, giving in to lethargy, and stiffening, you were to embrace it as a time for cultivating full-spectrum wellness?

Change the way you frame things, and you really can change your life for the better.

Here are a few of the many things you can do to nurture your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual vibrancy this winter.

1. Nurturing Physical Wellness

Move! Be active every day…

And refuse to make excuses.

Recently, a persistent shoulder injury caused me to remind myself of that very point. While nursing the pain for several months, it was easy to put off various fitness practices; yet, I knew I needed to be taking action. It was a relief to receive support from a physiotherapist and trainer, and to honour my body again by moving in the right ways.

Dr. Madan Bali’s method of yoga practice has been a saving grace for me, particularly while healing the shoulder. In the Bali Method, many of the asanas are done lying on the floor. His approach is not about continuous vinyasas, gymnastic feats, and impressive poses; it’s about working with gravity to cultivate core strength, using visualization to pour love on the cells, and triggering the body’s healing response.

Thriving in a Dark Season: Nurturing Physical Wellness holding a lit candle
Photo credit: Rebecca Peterson Hall via Unsplash

Dr. Bali’s one and only yoga dvd is a mainstay at our house; and I often give copies to my coaching clients. If you are interested in learning more about the Bali Method, contact Bhakti Yoga in Montreal.

With my husband Hugh McBride and Dr. Bali in 2017
With my husband Hugh McBride and Dr. Bali in 2017

If exercise is an area you’ve been resisting lately, now is the perfect time to work a transformation. Struggling with excuses? Put supports in place, such as working with a trainer, coach, or specialized teacher. Wayne Dyer’s book, Excuses Be Gone, may also be a great catalyst for you.

What physical practice would you love to learn this winter?

What activity would you love to return to?

Take a moment and jot your ideas down, and then commit to starting, or restarting, a physical practice.

Thriving in a Dark Season Move. be active every day skiers on a mountain pass
Photo credit: Nicola Poluzzi via Unsplash

A couple more things…

Check your desk setup

Sitting all day indoors can be hazardous to your health. If, like me, you work at a desk for extended periods of time, be sure to get up and move routinely; and have a GREAT DESK SETUP. If you have any doubts at all about your posture while working at your desk, get some help from an occupational therapist. That shoulder injury I mentioned? Ironically, I was valuing antique furniture over ergonomics (mea culpa). After recognizing that, I made some changes.

Consult a nutritionist regarding winter supplements

… in fact, consult a nutritionist, anyway. This is such an important aspect of your health! Your winter body needs extra nourishment, and with a specialist’s help, you can learn how to add the right amounts of vitamin D3, omega 3, B complex vitamins, and other nutrients (including vital minerals) that your body may be lacking at this time of year. Deficiencies can lead to downswings in mood, which is preventable in many of us. With that said, if you are, or think you might be, navigating depression, see a qualified health professional.

This naturally brings me to the next area…

2. Nurturing Emotional Wellness

Where is your joy?

Let the dark season be a time to dance – metaphorically, yes, and literally, too!

Make a list of anything and everything you can think of that brings you fun and schedule to do something joyful daily.

Nurturing emotional wellness: Where is your joy - lit sparklers
Photo credit: Zoritsa Valova via Unsplash

A few sparklers for you:

Work with music and create a new playlist you love in order to dial up your emotional state. Play it often! Can you work with earbuds at your office? If so, experiment. This can be a great way to create an inspired and private bubble in a shared space.

Watch comedy. Laughter is the best medicine.

List all the places you know that restore you to a state of calm and joy. Some ideas:

  • Specific shops you love
  • Sacred spaces that light you up and bring peace
  • Nature paths, ski hills, rinks, and snowshoe trails
  • Theatres
  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • The zoo
  • Libraries
  • Sports complexes and arenas
  • Antique fairs
  • You name it…

Make that list. Once you know your own places of restoration, you can schedule to take yourself to one each week and recharge. Julia Cameron famously teaches on the benefits of having a weekly Artist’s Date. You don’t have to be an artist to carve out time for regular dates with your Inner Child.

Are you on track when it comes to personal fulfillment?

This is such an essential question. When it comes to being aligned with the wishes of your soul, your emotions speak volumes.

Do you have a clear sense of purpose?

Do you have a clear and specific vision of the life you would love living?

That is, do you have a full-spectrum vision of thriving in your health, relationships, vocation, and time and money freedom?

Those questions are at the heart of the coaching work I do, helping individuals listen deeply to their inner knowing and align their goals and actions with their authentic sense of calling.

If this subject really resonates with you right now, search for the category “creative vision” on my blog in order to find more reading material. You may also wish to read my book, Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity, which is all about manifesting your vision.

If you would like to chat with me regarding clarifying your vision, and/or learning how to manifest it, reach out and I will do my best to schedule a call.

Thriving in a Dark Season personal fulfillment like the hawk soaring over the snow
Photo credit: Zdenek Machase via Unsplash

Knowing your vision and routinely serving it is one of the best things you can do for your emotional well-being. It requires the ability to notice your thoughts and focus your mind, which brings me to the next category…

3. Nurturing Mental Wellness

Poet Alexander Pope famously wrote, “Order is heaven’s first law.” One of the best ways to set yourself up for thriving mentally in this (or any) season, is by cultivating a sense of order in your life.

Your mind responds favourably to organized, orderly conditions.

Declutter with intention

Where would you love to clean up and be more organized?

Consider desks, office spaces, closets, basement storage areas, lockers, cluttered surfaces, drawers, and corners. Consider your finances, too, and your filing systems – both physical and electronic.

Very importantly, RESIST the temptation to be overwhelmed when turning your attention to this topic! I don’t know anyone who is completely organized in all of the areas I just listed, myself included. 😉 This is NOT about perfection…

It’s about simply identifying an area that is speaking to you right now, and taking action for a greater sense of peace and order.

When tackling larger decluttering tasks, such as sorting out your belongings before or after a move, consider hiring a home organizer to help you save time and show you systems for releasing things efficiently.

Remember this: You are moving ENERGY when you clean and clear your space.

Declutter with Intention Clean and clear space
Photo credit: Anshu via Unsplash

Since nature abhors a vacuum, be sure to set your intention clearly for what you are calling into your life as you release things. Setting your clear intention is a vital element! Otherwise, you may clean up only to find that very soon the old piles and patterns have returned because the underlying energy never changed.

Remember that space cleaning, clearing and reorganizing are about releasing what no longer serves you, and calling in what does – not more of the same old pattern.

And finally…

4. Nurturing Spiritual Wellness

This area is so important, since caring for your soul puts you in touch with what is timeless; it reminds you that you are one with the Source of your being and all life.

A helpful mantra for instant calm? “I am safe.” Say it anywhere, any time, to remind you of who you are, and Whose you are. You are a child of this Universe and always have access to your Higher Power.

Be in nature

Just do it! The key to enduring cold temperatures? Buy the right winter clothes and keep warm. If you don’t like skiing or skating, invest in a pair of snow shoes.

Walk.

Here are ten benefits of walking in winter.

Thriving in a Dark Season Forest bathing in winter walking in the snow
Photo credit: Fineas Anton via Unsplash

 

Moreover, take yourself into the woods for a walk and recalibrate your energy. Forest bathing is real, and this includes winter forest bathing. If you live in a city, schedule a special outing or find a park filled with trees where you can nurture your soul.

Cultivate a daily silence practice

This one is foundational in all spiritual traditions, and it’s vital for inner peace.

We live in a time when there are a great many resources on the subject of daily meditation. Find a tradition and practice that works for you and get started. If you have begun before and stopped, begin again. It’s that simple.

Keep a dream journal

I have much more to share with you on this subject, and will focus on dream practices in upcoming blogs. For now, I encourage you to jot down your dreams and dream fragments. Learning to record and read your dreams is a powerful way of communing with your inner guidance system.

What better season to sleep and journey a little longer in the dreamworld than winter?

To many indigenous cultures on the earth, the dreamworld has always been considered the real world.

Dreams are portals to the soul.

While cozying up by the fire, you may wish to check out the work of my dream teaching mentor, Robert Moss, including a book that changed my life significantly, Dreaming the Soul Back Home.

To thriving in the radiance of your own vitality!

Blessings,

Robin Blackburn McBride first name signature

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