It’s 10:26PM, so bear with me through potential typos and run-on sentences as I bring you my winter transition tips. I’d like to call this list: tips for transitioning into winter well. I just love the subtle alliteration, and of course, we’re talking about how to be well when the weather starts to cool down.
I have to give credit to my friend Kat of The Kataloguer, who asked me for my seasonal transition tips this afternoon. I threw out some off-the-top-of-my-head ideas, and she said, “this would make a great blogpost”. So here we are! Let’s talk about how to transition into the fall/winter season in a healthy and holistic way because just like the temperatures and leaves, our bodies change too.
F O O D
Perhaps a very obvious tip is to slow down on the smoothies. Limit the amount of cold foods you’re consuming, including cold liquids and opt for room temp, warm or hot instead. Fun fact: both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine maintain that warmer foods are preferable for health and digestion in general. Opt for oatmeal, tea and soups, my friends.
Spices play an important role in the winter time. They boost immunity, heat the body and improve digestion among other things. If you think about holiday flavours like gingerbread and pumpkin spice, the spices that comprise those flavour profiles are warming spices. Some examples include ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. These are spices that offer benefits that are perfect for colder weather and, surprise surprise, are used heavily in winter recipes. Try this golden cacao latte for a chocolate-y, immune boosting winter sip. Oh, and we can’t forget about herbs while we talk about spices! Think about adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and astragalus, two immune boosting herbs.
Eating seasonally is another great way to transition into the cooler months. One of my favourite things to do is browse the farmer’s market when the seasons start to change. New produce pops up, long-awaited root veggies, apples and pumpkins, to name a few, make an appearance. Best of all, they are most delicious during their peak season. I mentioned slowing down on smoothies, and I’d also recommend slowing down on cold/raw foods. How about swapping your salads for roasted veggies? Consuming grounding root vegetables are a hearty and delicious way to enjoy fall and winter produce.
Another Ayurvedic food philosophy you can work to apply is the idea of eating with the sun. Sounds kind of romantic right? The idea is to eat with your natural circadian rhythm, meaning eating more when the sun is high in the sky, and less when the sun is down. Most of us tend to do this, as our hunger levels naturally follow this pattern for the most part, but the most important takeaway is giving your body time to digest. The body slowing down in the cooler seasons means digestion may be a little slower too. Think about eating dinners a little earlier than you normally would, and then sleeping earlier too. The benefits are twofold: you’ll get better sleep and digest better too.
It’s natural to feel drawn to slowing down during the fall and winter seasons. There’s less sunshine and daylight, which inherently contribute to that feeling, and the cold weather is enough to keep many indoors more so than usual. We don’t exactly go into hibernation, as many animals do, but our energy does slow down significantly. I find it’s important to embrace your body’s natural energy pattern. If you’re feeling less energetic, perhaps invest more in your sleep and rest, or simply do less. Honor what your body tells you.
Personally, I’m more drawn to hot yoga during the colder months for obvious reasons. It feels great, and it’s also a great way to encourage blood flow and circulation during colder months. If you’re not into hot yoga, consider working out in warmer rooms versus blasting the AC, or simply spending more time warming up. This is important to prevent injury, as well!
Infrared sauna is another sweaty option and low impact as it doesn’t require any movement. Infrared sauna is immune boosting, boosts circulation, and also encourages a deep sweat. It can be incredibly anti-inflammatory and paired with red light (which many saunas are), can do wonders for your body. If you’re in a serious winter energy slump, consider trying an infrared sauna session.
In general, moving is important although we may feel less inclined to do that when it’s cold out. Keep the body moving. That can be walking, yoga, stretching at home, walking on a treadmill even, or taking a hike to see some of that gorgeous fall foliage. You can take a winter transition tip from my grandparents and head to a mall for a long walk session (they say it’s perfectly climate controlled!).
In the fall and winter season, most of us tend to crave everything cozy. Baths are a great cozy way to keep warm and can also be very healing. Like infrared saunas or hot yoga, it literally warms the body up. On top of that, you can add epsom salts and soothing ingredients like lavender. Epsom salts can aid in soothing and relaxing joint and muscles and herbs and oils can support de-stressing. If you’ve ever needed an excuse to take a bath, this is your sign!
Essential oils, as mentioned, can be very healing and relaxing. In the chillier months, I recommend warming essential oils, immune boosting oils and oils that support breathing easy. Some examples of immune boosting oils are eucalyptus, rosemary, clove bud and oregano while ginger and cinnamon are warming. Remember, lots of these plants are commonly used in holiday cooking. *If using oils, it’s important to research whether they’re safe to use undiluted/directly on skin. They are powerful concentrations, so use carefully or consider diffusing.*
For immunity, I highly recommend the Fortify blend from Saje Natural Wellness and Inhale for seasonal changes and stuffy-ness in the nose. Psst. Their holiday collection items make for really great gifts that will actually be put to use. My family members are all getting blends specific to their needs.
Skin changes with the seasons (unfortunately so), and it makes sense to switch up our skincare too. I like to exfoliate deeply in the fall and winter, and use more oils and hydrating products. Some swaps you can consider are using an oil cleanser or creamy cleanser versus an intense foaming cleanser, and facial oils instead of gels. It’s all about keeping the skin healthy, glowing and retaining its moisture. I love to lean on Vitamin C products, which encourages recovery, collagen production and skin regeneration. You can find my staple skincare products in this clean beauty guide, and I’ll include some of my go-to winter specific products below. *Note: Do not stop wearing SPF just because the sun doesn’t seem to be out as much! When it snows, sun reflects off of the snow like those old school tanning reflectors and clouds can be deceiving.*
For the body, I generally recommend dry brushing, scrubs and oils! Dry brushing is great for circulation and I like to do it first thing in the morning. Make circular motions and dry brush from your feet and work your way up. I find it wakes me up, and gives my skin a natural glow. It’s also an amazing exfoliant. If you prefer in-shower scrubbing, opt for a salt or sugar scrub with oils infused, so that while you’re exfoliating, you’re also simultaneously moisturizing. Always follow up with a body oil whether you’re exfoliating or not. I like to do this in the shower, while my body is still slightly wet for best results.
Finally, vitamins. Take them, stay on top of them, and consider immune boosting supplements for the winter seasons. Some natural cold symptom remedies I like include ginger teas, zinc and oil of oregano, echinacea and elderberry, and turmeric. You can also find my day-to-day vitamin routine here.
S T A Y W E L L M Y F R I E N D S !
If you try any of these winter transition tips out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins for a chance to be featured! As always, I love when you share your thoughts in the comments below, and if you have any favourite remedies or tips I didn’t include, let me know below too!
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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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