Winter is the season of depth, silence, and introspection. The cold and dark months of winter invite us to look inward, to delve deep into our souls. This is the time to curl up with a hot cup of herbal tea and engage in activities that soothe your soul like journaling, meditation, or yoga.
A winter yoga practice brings in more forward folds, as these are the poses that hold in warmth and support our foundation. When we are folded inward, we are forced to look inside and figure out where in our life we can cultivate more stability. With an introspective gaze, we can pause and ask ourselves, where in my life do I need to focus more attention?
This is the perfect time of year to ask these deep questions and cultivate new habits. Let go of the habits that no longer bring you joy, and learn new techniques to integrate into your routine. Self care means consistently checking in with yourself and asking the question, “How am I doing right now, in this moment?”
We live in a culture of doing, achieving and grasping. This winter, take a moment to slow down and experience being. Simply be where you are right now, and when you confront aspects of yourself that need attention, spend some time caring for that part of yourself. Self care could be treating yourself to a luxurious massage, or cooking a healthy meal with the ones you love. True self care is not one day a week or one day a year, it is a constant practice that is always evolving.
A practice I like to integrate into my daily life is closing my eyes and checking in with my four selves: the emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental. When I notice I’ve been neglecting a part of myself, I bring in little practices of self care.
Here are some of my favorite self care activities:
Taking a warm bath with my favorite essential oils and sea salts.
Going for a walk in nature and listening to the sounds of birds, wind, and the earth under my feet.
Cooking a healthy meal that nourishes my body.
Practicing yoga with my community and feeling supported by others.
Drawing or writing in my garden.
When you uplift for yourself, you feel compelled to uplift others. This is an enlightening experience. One of my favorite contemporary mystics, Richard Rohr, says it best, “The only way to hold onto joy is to consciously and intentionally give it away. Once you stop being a conduit, you lose if yourself.”
I hope you will spend some time this winter caring for yourself, and I promise you will want to pass it on.