Health: How to battle winter woes

 

By Rachelle Lachland
@RLachland

Does the change in seasons always bring a change in mood for you? Starting to resent the end of year stress that comes with the Holidays looming and all the financial outlay that entails? Feeling crushed by the end of year deadlines in your courses?

I’m going to share with you a couple tricks and treats you can do for yourself that will enable you to think and act with a clearer mind, heart and happiness.

Why does the weather affect our body?

Understanding why the weather affects your mood goes a long way in setting up a plan to bring your heart back to happy. With the sun hidden for our winter months behind rain clouds, we lose the exposure to Vitamin D, which in turn affects our hormones, and thus our moods.

Studies have shown warmer temperatures and sunlight cultivate positive thinking. Without this, what can we do?

Some alternatives:

Start a gratitude diary:

Aim to list at least 3 things at the end of the day that you are grateful for from that day. It can be anything. I once put “I am grateful for the Cherry Danish we shared at the Farmers Market.” (For once I let my BF have a bite…”) Other days I’ve had “I am grateful for the love of my mother.” On those days I am reminding myself of how much I am loved and cherished and find I rest and sleep much easier. Being grateful starts an emotional sunshine inside.

Affirmations:

Yes, they do work. Search for one online that resonates with you if you can’t think of something original right now. Or try one of these:

    • “There is a divine plan of goodness for me.”
    • “As I listen to the Creator within, I am led.”
    • “I am happy, I am healthy, I am terrific.”
    • “I am beautiful, I am enough as I am and I love myself for it.”

Why do affirmations work? Because studies have shown that our thoughts dictate our experiences and attitudes. Take the stress of everyday life off yourself and remember you are a beautiful, divine being who is valued and loved. It does help!

Creative dates:

This could be with someone you love, a partner, a parent, or a child. But I am recommending to take yourself on a creative date. The time with you is invaluable, and this time is going to give you a break from your phone, laptop, computer, tv – technology and your responsibilities. Be firm with yourself and those around you. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be a bath with some essential oils. You must however give yourself the gift of seeing it through, and those who love you who may be in the house while you’re taking your date must understand this is vital. It’s YOU and only YOU time. Better yet, find somewhere out in nature to stroll. Being away from the everyday is invaluable. In the past I’ve climbed trees, joined a meditation class, had tea and scones, baked and colored in a coloring book.

Meditation

So often in our lives today we are rushing from point A to B without breath. We are often driven by fear of failure and the false belief that we have to be everything all at once. It is simply not true, and no I haven’t mastered it either, but the mere reminder everyday to slow down is essential to taking action for happy health and spirit.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is basically ‘quiet time’ for your mind and body. It can be 5 mins, 20 mins or 2 hours. You can meditate on the train, on a yoga mat or at your desk at work. The point is to quiet your mind from distractions and seek a connection to the real you, the inner you, where there is no judgment, no planning, no stress, worry or fear. It is a connection to yourself that will endeavor to open your mind to more creative options in life, bring vitality to your organs and body and fill you with love and inner peace. Sounds great right? So how do we find the time for ourselves in this way?

Try these:

Breathe:

“But I breathe every day?” you say. Well, you’re probably not breathing deeply and accessing that grounding force in your body. In today’s world we often breathe quite shallow, from the chest, which plays into creating stress. Deep breaths lower your heart rate, center and ground you, lower your blood pressure and relax your muscles. A good exercise:

    • Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can be alone. (And warm.)
    • Breathe in slowly for a count of 4, Hold for a count of 4.
    • Breathe out slowly for a count of 4, Hold for a count of 4.
    • Breathe in slowly for a count of 4, Hold for a count of 8.
    • Breathe out slowly for a count of 4, Hold for a count of 8.
    • Repeat this another 7 times.
  • Mirror Meditating. Try to spare 5 – 10 mins for this. I used to do this in my car in between jobs. I would drive form a fulltime day job and have an hour to get to the evening part time job. I often ate my prepared meal in my car in the car park and have 10-15 mins of stillness before going in and starting work again. This is how I started to use my time:
    • Find an Essential Oil that speaks to you. I would often use Lavender or a Grounding Blend I get from the DoTerra brand. (Bergamot is great as well!)
    • Open the can on the bottle and hold near heart/clavicle/chest height, so the tiniest whiff can be smelt.
    • Hold the gaze of your eyes in the mirror. (Yes, this can be the hard part.) Eliminate all thoughts, judgments or ideas that pop into your head.
    • Breathe deep, even doing the above Breathe Meditation, and stare deep into your eyes in the mirror.
    • Continue until your allotted time is up.

Mirror Meditating takes you deep inside where it is safe. You may find some emotions rise to the surface. If you are in a safe space it is healthy to let that out. If you just need to center yourself, try to smile with your eyes. The effect is often gratitude and warmth radiating back and you.

Visualize

Lastly, visualization and day-dreaming can have a positive impact when we find ourselves in less than stellar situations, jobs or environments. As long as you’re not operating heavy machinery, or can negatively impacting someone else’s or your own safety, visualization may be something you can do in a pinch to lower those stress levels and remember it will all be alright.

Need somewhere to start?

White or Gold light.:

Close your eyes and picture beautiful White or Gold light streaming down from the stars/heaven/sky/above. It is soft, warm and comforting. Welcome it into every pore of your body. You can start with your head and feel it cascading over your crown and down your spine, all the way down to fill your toes. Ask that this light be “Pure Divine Light”. Give thanks once you are filled with it and go on about your day.

Breathe in color:

A quick Google search will also help you find a color that will work for you. I am often low in energy, so Orange is fantastic to re-vitalize and uplift. You can do this with eyes open or close. Either way you are focusing on visualizing a cloud in front of your face, it will be the color you need at that point in time. Breathe in and feel a part of that colorful cloud coming into your body and helping you. Upon exhaling see a cloud leaving, carrying all the junk you no longer need. (It will often be grey, brown or even a deflated yellow in color.) Repeat as many times as you need. If you’re eyes are open you may have found color around you that you can visually use. Natural landscapes are great to use when your eyes are open!

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do any of this. All of these applications are there to help you. If it’s not helping, move onto the next exercise till you find something that does. Making it through the winter emotionally and mentally intact is more important for your long-term health and happiness than trying to ‘get it right.’

All that matters is that we find what works for us and stick with it.

 

Rachelle Lachland

 

Rachelle actor, writer and fantasy book lover. She will balance your chakra’s while reciting a myriad of interesting facts from life. Just don’t ask her to teach you the finer points of Australian culture.