Winter seems long in Melbourne this year… or maybe I always get to early August & feel completely over it!
Truth be told, it really isn’t my favourite time of year and Im constantly learning ways to embrace it…
Here are a few things that have helped in my winter hibernation this year:
- Slow down: actually do less and don’t feel bad about it. Acknowledging that my energy levels are not the same as they are in the warmer months and not feeling bad about it, takes a bit of getting used to – but learning to be okay with simply doing less & slowing down can be quite liberating
- Sleep well: take advantage of the long nights to rest the body & the mind
- Meditate: this time of year can be powerful for reflection, enhancing our psychic tendencies & intuition
- Exercise: keep the blood circulation moving to keep your body warm & the fire in your belly alive. Its easy to slow right down & stop exercising during the colder months, but this stagnation can add to winter’s darkness & dull our digestive system too. So why not move energy through your body by doing something you actually enjoy? Don’t go out for a jog in the freezing cold, if that’s not your thing (in fact, that just sounds awful to me) … I personally like dancing, so I’ve been going to gigs & having a good old dance … or dancing at home can be just as much fun sometimes
- Yoga: I’ve been hanging out with my dear friend Lori Curran – who’s a brilliant massage therapist & yoga teacher – she has been a great support while delving deep into my yin yoga practice this winter. Yin yoga works with connective tissues & aims to increase the circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. It is a more meditative approach that cultivates awareness & inner silence
- Joints, muscle & back balms: during my Winter Apothecary workshop back in May, I made a whole bunch of homemade remedies & ointments for joint & muscle aches as I have a tendency to feel the cold right in my bones during this season. The ointments have relaxing & warming essential oils like lavender, cinnamon, rosemary & Chinese wintergreen. If you have a tendency to developing ganglion cysts or have arthritis, keeping warm with ointments like these can really make a difference if you feel more pain during the colder months
- Saunas, spas & hot baths: there is nothing better than the heat gained from having a full body treatment like this. I make sure going to the Japanese Bathhouse in Collingwood is a frequent ritual to get me through the season
- Eat & drink warm things in cold weather: It sounds intuitive, but Im often surprised how many people complain how cold they are as they’re having a (very healthy) but very cold salad for lunch… if you’re already cold in your body & you’re eating cold food, chances are you will keep feeling pretty cold. So instead enjoy hot soups, steam your veggies, drink warm water and have cups of tea to balance your temperature
- Speaking of tea, here’s a favourite winter warmer my mum taught me how to make, we call it Aynar in Arabic – it’s one of those things that truly keep me warm for hours…
Aynar Tea recipe
4 large slices of ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. aniseed
1 tsp. crushed walnut (to serve, optional)
Pour 3 cups of water into a pot, then add the ginger, cinnamon & aniseed. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat (with the lid slightly open from one side). Simmer until the water is reduced down to half of the initial amount, about 1 & 1/2 cups. This could take up to 30-40 minutes.
Strain contents & pour tea into your favourite teacup & serve warm with crushed walnuts … or not, I actually don’t like the walnuts in there, sorry mama!
I usually get 2-3 more brews from these ingredients especially if I’m making it during the day. For the repeat brews, instead of adding 3 cps of water to bring to a boil, I add 2 cups of water and reduce the content to 1 cup. When working with different parts of the plant, such as roots and barks, its important to know that they can take on heat (more so than leaves & flowers for example) so you can certainly brew them more than once to get most of their benefits & not waste any goodness . I always leave ingredients in a bit of water & cover the pot in between my brews.
I absolutely love the smell of my house as it fills with spicy ginger and sweet cinnamon notes when I make this. The whole house feels warm.
Hang in there, spring will be on its way soon.