Invite Light into the Darkness: 10 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues
Many people are physically and emotionally impacted by the shortened days of winter. Symptoms can range from sadness and irritability to feeling depressed, hopeless, and energetically depleted. You might even notice changes in your sleep and eating patterns.
This happens because the lack of light and warmth in winter months can interfere with important chemicals that regulate the mood, such as serotonin, melatonin, and vitamin D.
From a transpersonal perspective, winter also highlights the shadow aspects of the personality and buried feelings in the body and psyche. Sometimes winter can be the best time to explore this realm of the dark unknown.
Counseling, light therapy, and if necessary, supplements can be helpful if you have seasonal depression. You may also consider these simple practices and lifestyle changes to improve your experience of winter:
Smudge and air filtration. You can reduce indoor air pollution by investing in an air filtration system, and also by burning sage. Sage creates a warming effect and can also reduce up to 94% of pathogens in the air.
Explore the darkness. Allow your shadow to be known through intentional writing, art, music, or any creative expression. Free associate and don’t get caught up on self-judgment. You can use one of these questions as your prompt: What part of my self lives in the shadows? What wishes to be known right now? What part of myself am I afraid of?
Amplify light. Change the lightbulbs in your work and living space, and stock up on battery-operated candles. This way, you'll have an abundance of light available to you anytime.
Get into nature. Stay in contact with nature and plant life to reset your cortisol levels. If it’s challenging to be outside, bring elements of nature into your home or office. Rocks, shells, plants, fountains, and flowers can have a balancing effect on your mood.
Citrus cleanse. Use lemon, orange, or grapefruit rinds to clean the surfaces of your home. This can act as a natural disinfectant and lifts stagnant energy build up.
Food as medicine. Eat bright, warming, whole foods that nourish you, such as cooked leafy greens and root vegetables.
Give to others. Being of service to someone in need can give you perspective on your life. It can take you out of your own suffering and centers your mindset on generosity and gratitude.
Refresh your altar. Update or rearrange items on your altar or in your home.
Body Care. Exercise, get massages, acupuncture or take baths to keep your circulation flowing.
Meditate. Amplify your meditation practice. Imagine that you’re turning up your internal light each time you sit down for your practice.
Winter can feel like it lasts for a long time. Remember that it’s temporary and the sun will come again.
Try one or a combination of these practices for the next twelve days. Then, drop me a line in the comments below or send a message and let me know how it worked for you.