Make the most of this winter season. Winter is the perfect time for introspection and restoration. It is a time to slow down and to seek inner peace. Many people naturally feel the urge to slow down during the winter, but thanks to the busy holidays, finding the time to look inward and reflect may seem like a daunting task. You can find peace in your life this winter by seeking moments of calm, listening to your body, being mindful of your emotions, and taking stock of what you are grateful for. Here are three simple questions you can reflect on to help you find peace and feel rejuvenated moving toward the New Year.
What does your body need to feel healthy?
Whenever possible this winter, give yourself permission to slow down. Allow yourself time to relax and recover. Learn when to say no and how to do it with grace. You don’t have to attend every function, stop by every holiday party, or make it to every get together. Rather than rushing around, choose the most important events to attend and use the rest of your free time to relax.
Make sure that you get enough sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on health. An extra hour of sleep at night can be incredibly restorative. If you are naturally a night owl, give yourself a bedtime and start winding down an hour before bedtime, preferably screen-free.
When you are feeling worn down, stressed out, or out of balance, breathe deeply. Close your eyes and take a few deep, slow breaths. This will help you find stillness and be present in your body, while releasing any physical tension you may be holding onto.
Don’t forget to move your body - it is so easy to fall into the trap of hibernation in the winter and become a couch potato. Listen to your body and slow down your pace if necessary, but don’t stop moving completely. If you are feeling lethargic, a little gentle yoga or a short walk can give you a much-needed boost of energy.
How can you find calm in the midst of chaos?
Winter is the perfect time to begin a meditation practice. Even a few minutes a day are enough to find peace through meditation. Meditation can be as simple as focusing on the breath and clearing the mind, or repeating a mantra or positive affirmation.
Journaling is another practice that can calm the mind. Keeping a journal can help you to work through your feelings, and is a judgement-free place to collect your thoughts. Journaling daily and setting some simple goals can help you find clarity and get organized.
What helps you to feel balanced emotionally?
Personal growth doesn’t have to be serious business. Part of being a well-balanced, healthy person is having fun. A night out with friends, or a well-deserved date night can be incredibly restorative.
Good communication with friends and family can help to keep us grounded and balanced. When we stop communicating well, we tend to feel isolated, and disconnect not only from others, but ourselves as well. Make sure to not only be a good listener, but be a sharer as well. Time spent in introspection is wonderful, but communicate your findings to your partner and/or family. If you discover in your reflection that you have a need, which is not being met, communicate it. If you realize that you want to make a change that will not only affect you, but your partner and/or family, be sure to discuss it with them.
This winter, when you need a break from the fast pace of the holidays, set aside a few mindful minutes to breathe and reflect on the positive. Dedicate some time to doing something that you enjoy, working on a hobby you love, or curling up with a good book. Continue to reflect on the things in your life you are grateful for, the things that make you happy, and what you can do to bring positive change and forward momentum into your life as we move into the new year.
For some additional tips on how to bring health into this coming year, check out my free online course called Creating Healthy Change, That Lasts.
To your current and future health,
- Dr. Michelle & the VWS Team