Winter's Wisdom

Surrender to Winter’s Quiet Mystery

Each day has winter built into it in the form of night, the time when we sleep. A restorative sleep is crucial for our health and wellbeing. Sleep is a time to recharge our batteries and to restore ourselves for the new day. Winter holds this same quality, it’s the season to rest and restore ourselves for spring.

Do you take time to slow down and rest in winter?

In the Chinese Five element system, both sleep and winter relate to each other through the water element. Water is the element of life and associated with the ‘life-force’. Winter holds that mysterious deep nourishment of life and restoration. A seed in wintertime is sitting in the soil, in the the dark and cold, drinking deeply of the well of life, in gestation, so it can burst forth in spring. It looks like nothing is happening but a mysterious magic is taking place in winter.

It’s the same thing with sleep, when it’s dark we sleep and drink deeply from this well. In the stillness, it looks like nothing is happening but it refuels us for the new day (spring). Winter is a time to recharge our life-force so we can be ready to burst forth in spring. If we don’t slow down and conserve our energy in winter it will be harder to be more active in spring when nature is ready to wake up and grow.

There are many things that can interfere with having a healthy, restful sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping or want to deepen your rest, here are a few things you can try.

Create a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation.

Here’s a list of things you can try that will help your nervous system calm down and go into sleep mode. Try one or two until you find the right combination that works for you:

  • Turn your devices off an hour before you go to sleep to help your nervous system calm down from taking in new information.
  • Take a shower or a bath, which will relax your body, mind and spirit. Or take a foot bath or give yourself a foot massage.
  • Add a drop or two of lavender essential oil (organic) to your bath or massage oil. Lavender is a strong nervine and a mild antidepressant. It’s known for alleviating, stress, insomnia, tension and promotes relaxation. It also has many other wonderful uses. Lavender is a generous plant and if you don’t have lavender in your medicine chest I highly recommend you two become friends!
  • A meditation or prayer practice before bed (or when you wake up) is wonderful way to relax and calm down at the end of the day.
  • If your mind has a tendency to race with thoughts and ideas and to do’s that keep you up, consider clearing your mind by journaling before bed.
  • Drink a cup of herbal tea. Chamomile tea is a gentle classic herbal remedy to soothe and calm and promote a restful sleep. I also love the tea blend ‘Tulsi Sweet Rose’ by Organic India, which includes chamomile.

If you still have trouble sleeping after trying some of these things, some people find listening to recorded ‘nature sounds’ very helpful. There are also many other gentle herbal remedies for sleep, stress and relaxation.

Create a calm and peaceful space to tuck yourself in at night.

While you’re busy sleeping, your bedroom is also having a big impact on your sleep and your body, mind and spirit. The bedroom is the most important room in the house according to Feng Shui. You can learn more about the Feng Shui of your bedroom and how it impacts your rest here.

May you rest well and enjoy this quiet dark season.
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