Here in Scotland the rain, wind and cold have been relentless this winter. We sometimes feel pummelled and under physical assault from the elements and it can be gruelling at times. In the past smoking all day and drinking wine in the evening were my preferred methods of comforting myself.
Then I got fed up with abusing myself, the disturbed wine sleep, the awful smell of tobacco and waking up feeling guilty and unhealthy. So I have started leaning heavily on other ways to be kind and nurturing towards myself.
Winter is a great time for being extra kind to ourselves and for feeling extra compassion for ourselves (and everyone else too of course!). It is a great excuse for comforting activities that nurture and soothe in ways that are gentle and loving. Here are some of the ways I am being extra kind to myself this winter. Some of them are just really small things but it all helps!
- Go easy on yourself. We have been led to believe that being tough on ourselves somehow helps us ‘be strong, knuckle down, be tough!’. I tried that and its not true for me. I am learning to encourage myself with kind thoughts and I allow myself to be in whatever state that I am in. If I am anxious, or depressed or despairing, then that is fine. These days it is all allowed and my approach is one of gentle curiosity, not judgement or a desire to change it into something else.
- Buying flowers/potted indoor bulbs – Colourful flowers indoors really brightens up a room and gives a wonderful welcoming feeling. I have attached a photo of the one I have on my table at the moment.
- Extra Lights – I have loads of lights on, (low energy of course) and I have fairy lights draped over the mantelpiece which add a touch of magic. Often I have a scented candle or even several lit to create a warm ambience.
- Light daily exercise – For me this is a swim every morning, a sit in the jacuzzi and an afternoon walk in nature. This helps me feel relaxed and the joints flexible.
- Eating Healthily – I love looking after my body nowadays. Generally small healthy meals and snacks rather than heavy stodgy food is my preference.
- Make a fire outdoors and toast marshmallows!
- Early signs of spring – Even in January and February the signs of life are all around. The bulbs in the woods here are popping up, and catkins are appearing on the hazel trees
- Time to Rest and Reflect- I use the winter to rest very deeply, and to put on hold all activities that are not absolutely necessary. I often go to bed really early with a good book or film to watch. Sometimes I have an afternoon nap on the sofa. I use my free time to take stock of my life and appraise what is supporting me and what and who I need to let go of. Quiet and gentle with a lot of stillness between activities, no rushing allowed and very little stress is the result.