Winter Solstice’s Gift

Earth’s annual cycles hold a myriad of hidden meanings just waiting for us to crack open and unfold, making life on this planet even more meaningful and interesting! Viewing through a farmer’s lens, we see the unmistakable effect the seasons have on our very existence. Thank you, farmers, for really knowing the seasons and keeping us alive!

FullSizeRenderphoto credit: Marley McCann

But, for most of us, keeping up with the seasons is about adapting our wardrobe and outdoor activities, and if we’re in tune with the local farmers, eating food that’s in season. All seasons bring us abundant gifts, we have only to open them.

As the Earth tilts us furthest from the sun, Winter Solstice brings us the darkest day all year. It’s an end, an axis point flinging us into another year. Bring it on! We can adopt all phases of life within one year, even winter’s ominous endings, because we know spring is just around the corner to bring forth new beginnings… Again.

FullSizeRender.jpgphoto credit: Marley McCann

Tapping into that darkness. Observing the stillness, the quiet. Embracing the inner hermit. Early to bed.

We will get through this… All of this! Because life would be too easy and imbalanced without challenges. Winter allows us time to reflect without action, plan what’s next, and rest before spring’s awakening.

My Top 10 Tips for Warming Up

Are you one of those people who gets cold easily, and has a hard time warming back up? I am! Here are my top 10 ways to warm up. Much of my advice is common sense, but my hope is that you’ll get at least one new warming idea that will enhance your autumn and winter experiences.

 

1. Get Moving: It’s simply the most effective way to warm up. Even 5 or 10 minutes does the trick.

2. Eat Something Warming: Each food ingredient has a warming, cooling or neutral quality. Chinese and Eastern Indian medicine uses this principle to help create balance in a person’s system. Spicy foods like cayenne, onion, ginger and garlic are warming–you can tell when your mouth catches fire and you break out in a sweat.

 

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But there’s also a slew of less likely foods that have warming qualities. I thought all mints were cooling until I viewed the charts. It turns out spearmint is warming and peppermint is cooling. Check out these links for more warming and cooling foods: Warming and cooling characteristics of common foods (Ping Ming Health)

Food as your Medicine (Le Shiatsu)

 

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3. Have A Cuppa: Bring a thermos of spicy tea with you to sip, as needed, throughout the day. Coffee is on the warming list (YAY!). So is black tea, but green tea is cooling. I love chai tea, the spicier the better. In the winter I enjoy chai lattes with a shot of espresso added. Herbal teas are a delicious and healthy way to bring warmth into your body. View the food charts to find warming herbs to add to your tea collection. You can also add a tiny bit of ginger or cayenne to your favorite tea or coffee (but be careful–HOT)! If you drink chilled water, stop it! Drink room-temp water instead.

 

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4. Get In Hot Water: If you have the time, take a hot bath or hot tub. Simply washing hands in hot water is good for an instant blast of warmth. When I’m cold, I’m the first (and only) to volunteer to do the dishes. I use a sink full of hot soapy water for the washing, and rinse in fresh hot water.

5. Layer Up: Wear breathable clothes that won’t collect sweat and make you cold. Wool naturally wicks moisture and will keep you warm and dry. Wear a scarf out in the wind, and indoors, as needed.  Fingerless gloves are great because you can wear gloves, but still use your fingers for typing or work.

 

6. Be Prepared For Your Environment: Keep a throw or an extra sweater and a space heater at work, especially if you sit stationary while working.

 

7. Use Warm, Breathable Bedding: Get the synthetics out of your bed. They’re typically found in mattress pads and comforters, and don’t wick out sweat, in turn making you damp and cold. Use 100% cotton sheets and mattress pads. Add a wool mattress topper and wool comforter and Zzzzz, you’re a cozy sandwich.

 

8. Tell Yourself You’re Warm: Adding warmer colors and images to your house and work environment, via paint, decorations, etc., will offer a warmer feeling. Picture yourself on a hot sandy beach in the tropics, baking in the sun… Yeah.

 

9. Invite The Sun In: Open the curtains and position a comfy chair and a throw in a sunny spot in your house. In the winter the sun is lower in the sky and will stream further into your house.

 

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10. Choose Cinnamon Over Peppermint: Toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, breath mints, etc. have warming, cooling, or neutral qualities, just like foods. You can also avoid using personal care items with mint: lotions and shampoos, for example.

 

What’s your favorite way to warm away the winter chills?