For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, last night’s winter solstice marks the longest night of the year and the shortest day of the year. Though the days will steadily get longer and we’ll enjoy more sunlight from here, the winter solstice marks the astronomical beginning of winter, and the start of the three coldest months in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you’re in a part of the country where winter chills you to the bone or temperatures are milder, winter can take its toll.
With the winter solstice upon us, here are three ways to maintain a healthy outlook and state of mind through the darkest, coldest days of the year.
1. Catch the sunlight when you can. Yeah, it’s cold outside, but make a point to step outside and catch some sun for a few minutes when it shines during the winter. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be a challenge. We don’t get tons of direct sunlight during the winter where I live now, and I noticed a huge difference when I moved here from Denver, one of the sunniest places in the U.S. When you’re exposed to sunlight, your body is able to produce the vitamin D you need, which is critical for physical and mental health.
2. Exercise your body. The urge to stay bundled under blankets is strong, but do yourself a favor and get that blood flowing at least a few times a week. Start with some daily sun salutations if gentle yoga is your thing, or try taking a Barre or Pilates class. Adopting a dog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because our dog walks get me out of the house and moving every day. Whatever you love to do, just make sure you’re keeping your body engaged and moving this winter. It will keep your spirits lifted.
3. Drink supportive herbal teas. Full flavored and relaxing, herbal teas keep you feeling cozy and warm through these cold days, and they can also support your health in amazing ways. From boosting your immune system to calming your nerves and keeping you balanced and even-keeled through anything, herbal teas with adaptogenic properties like tulsi will help ward off the winter blues. Drink herbal tea everyday to reap the benefits, especially if the tea is medicinal in nature.
While these are a few great ways to keep centered and healthy during the long winter, be sure to embrace what winter truly offers us—a time to turn inward and do some quiet self-reflecting. Use this time indoors to think about what you want for the coming year, catch up on your reading list and enjoy some peaceful quietude. The frenzy and excitement of spring will be here before you know it.