10 Ayurvedic Self Care Tips for Winter
Winter is a time of increased vata and immune challenges.
After the upheaval of the past few months, it is more important than ever to take a few simple measures in your life to balance, settle and nourish so you can remain healthy and strong throughout Winter. Balance seasonally increased vata and our current world of uncertainty with the following simple adjustments:
1. Reduce Stimulation and Revisit Routine
We are constantly bombarded by excessive stimulus – light, wifi, TV, News, social media, radio, cars, noise, wind, travel and more. Often when we are stressed or busy, we push our routines out of whack. We might work through lunch, or into the night. We might skip exercise or forget our own needs in the push to meet deadlines. Sometimes we even take on too much at the expense of our downtime, family and health. So, take a few moments to sit with your diary and re-establish healthy routines, being sure to mark in exercise, meals and down time.
2. Favour nourishing, warm foods
Cook your meals with some digestive spices like cumin, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, ginger and garlic to support your digestion and build immunity. Be sure to chew well and slow down. If you are feeling particularly wrung out, anxious or depleted, add a little extra ghee and vata digestive spice blend to your plate.
3. Use some Ghee
Ghee is an appetiser, it is warm, it supports digestion and carries nutrients deep into the body. Oils do not nourish and support digestion in the same way but can also improve lubrication in the body. If you don’t want to use ghee, use organic olive oil, in smaller doses. Be aware that excess will increase weight.
4. Earlier, Lighter Dinner
Winter dinners should be earlier. In Western Australia, this is around 5:30-6pm to fit with sunset. Ideally, make dinner a lighter meal, or soup. This enables optimal digestion before your body goes into rest, recovery and repair mode during sleep. Learn more about Ayurvedic eating principles here.
5. Sleep More
By following the seasonal shifts in daylight, we support our circadian rhythm, ensuring melatonin is produced at the right time and cortisol levels aren’t being increased. The long nights of winter allow fabulous rejuvenation. Ignoring nature’s rhythms stresses the body and decreases immunity. Bedtime should be earlier to follow the earlier sunset. (Make sure your phone is not in the room – digi detox)
6. Daily digi-detox
In our media, sensationalised bad news is rife. Right now, we have the same fear-mongering coming at us from every digital and print source possible. To balance this, we need to build strict and clear boundaries. Consider setting yourself 1 hour to partake in the news or Facebook feed and then log off. You know what you must do to stay well right now, so do that and otherwise have a life. Unplug from the ‘negative feed’ and leave the phone off, or out of your bedroom for a rest from the melatonin destroying blue light and beeps.
Walk on the damp lawn in the morning or evening, do some gardening, lay on the floor of your favourite room and just stare at the ceiling or listen to some great music, especially old favourites. My choice today would be Pink Floyd, Dark side of the moon. Just because of those amazing vocals. https://open.spotify.com/album/4LH4d3cOWNNsVw41Gqt2kv)
Often, as the temperature drops, so does our water intake. This leads to dehydration issues – which further increase vata. We see dry skin, cracking heels, constipation and toxins being held in the body. So, renew your herbal tea or warm water habits to hydrate. Tulsi tea is wonderful for relieving stress and ginger tea will help any digestive issues.
Just 3 deep breaths can restore peace throughout the body by telling the adrenals and amygdala you’re safe so your body can get on with regular restorative processes, especially forming good blood to carry your nutrition and give you energy. Reducing stress also reduces acidity and therefore inflammation in the body – everything works better if we breathe better.
- Ujjayi breathing : breathe both in and out with an ocean sound at the back of the throat – like sighing deeply.
- Cortisol balance breathing : make the out-breath slower than the in-breath. Do this for 3 minutes on waking, at noon and mid-afternoon.
- Cooling breath: (All deep breathing cools and settles): hold the tongue or mouth in a circular shape for cooling inbreath. Practise for 3 minutes whenever needed.
A daily dose of movement is the best medicine for maintaining healthy hormones like endorphins and preventing stagnation. It also gets us breathing for improved stress resilience and sweating for improved toxin elimination. You’ll feel better and keep looking better, your mind will give you a rest from negative chatter.
Begin with a routine revisit or boundary bolster and schedule your health first. Remember that an empty cup cannot pour, so you must put yourself first. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda can help you gently rebalance using the resources you have at hand.
Zanti Ayurveda remains open for video and in-person health consultation. Nourishing massage and Ayurvedic therapies resume on June 2nd, 2020. Make your booking here.