Hello everyone, Gareth here again, your friendly neighbourhood nature-loving naturopath!
The “C” word
Christmas! There you go, I said it. There’s another “c” word dominating the news that I will not be giving any light to as we venture into the deepening darkness of the winter… However, something of a metaphor for life right now is the hope, trust and knowing that, following the very darkest of days, the sun once again begins to return to power. Light and warmth will increasingly return to the Earth; the age-old cycle of re-birth will once again continue. It is the same hope, trust and knowing that we must steadfastly hold on to during these challenging times, for this too shall pass.
However, regardless of how tenaciously we hold onto this optimism or how well we think we understand what is going on in the world, many of us are still experiencing challenges.
At the core of my person and professional approach to health is a holistic health view, meaning that consideration is given to the various aspects of life that contribute to a person’s overall wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing were developed by the New Economics Foundation following a review of more than 400 scientific papers to identify key areas contributing to our wellbeing.
So, based on this holistic approach to wellbeing, here are my 5 Ways to Winter Wellbeing. I am not proposing you should do ALL of these, perhaps pick the one that resonates most, or one that you already practice and further develop this practice in some way. Above all, choose something to make you happy, we could all do with creating and sharing more of that right now.
If you are reading this, then you are online and for many, video chats have become a lifeline and new source of creative opportunities for connections. I’m sure many of us have experienced the Zoom takeover! Conversely, more traditional forms of communication such as letter writing rather than texting present an enjoyable activity. Personally, I found the process of letter writing activated a connection with the intended receiver as I picked specific stories and crafted the words in a bespoke manner and once sent, eagerly awaited any responses. I ripped open and read these replies as excitedly as the start of that next episode during the frantic fever of a Netflix binge.
Connecting with ourselves is also important - to assess how we are feeling, coping and to gain a sense of our own state of wellbeing. Focusing on us creates an opportunity for increased self-awareness and could be achieved through creative expression such as writing or art. Many find a meditative or mindfulness practice greatly beneficial and there are lots of online options from apps like Calm and Headspace, to countless Youtube guided meditations (my favourites are by Jason Stephenson).
So, remember to check in with YOURSELF now and again over Yuletide.
2. Staying Active
Exercise is not only a boost for our physical health, but also our mental health and wellbeing. Plus, should we feel a little hungover, exercise can be a great tonic (without the Gin!)
Whilst cold winter mornings may not be so tempting to get us out of bed and active, there are plenty of options within the warmth of our homes! A favourite of mine is to put on some of my favourite tunes and just dance around the house; my flailing limbs and I find this to be a most joyful workout! Again, Youtube has a stocking full of tutorials on almost any activity you may want to begin such as yoga, HIIT workouts, dance etc or you might start with a warming winter walk round the block and gradually increase your distance with the support of a downloadable app such as Couch to 5k.
Our Indigo Vegan Protein powders can help to support your body in developing increased fitness and providing natural reserves of energy as well as ensuring we have a good level of protein to aid an overall healthy diet. See the full range here, including Super Protein Powder which was shortlisted for a Vegan food award!
3. Keep Learning
Try something new. Re-engage with an interest from the past. Feel that sense of achievement as your persistent practice pays off and you progress…
The Indigo team have some amazing recipes, those involving raw chocolates are my absolute favourites, click here for the recipe (vanilla powder not essential) and create your own Christmassy chocs! Or you could set yourself a culinary challenge to try a different recipe every week from the incredible Indigo recipe collection here!
Whatever might resonate with you regarding this way to wellbeing, think of the activities as light or heavy and ask, does this make me feel lighter (and happier) or heavier? Imagine a scale and compare the things you already do in your life or the experience of new activities, to see where you might want to focus your time and energy.
Indigo have your Christmas all wrapped up with a great range of gifts here and for something traditional, you can’t really beat the wonderful warming aromas of Frankincense and Myrrh, both available as Indigo incense resins here. All you need is a burner and some charcoal discs, click here for full instructions, just remember to crack open a window as they can get smoky!
But beyond the seasonal spending spree, giving to others and showing we care is about more than gifts, more than words. What truly shows we care is our actions and acts of kindness need not cost anything but time. Helping a friend or stranger, a heartfelt thank you or a smile, the gesture need not be grand but might just be the gift that makes someone’s day. Often these gifts give back, leaving both parties with a warm, glowing heart in the season of good will to all.
When I think of noticing and of paying attention, of developing awareness or mindfulness and living in the moment, I see this as an opportunity to manifest more magic into our lives. When I say magic, I do not mean the illusion of trickery, more so I think it begins with the magic of the world around us that nurtures and reconnects us with our inner child. The state of wide-eyed wonder, the vivid imagination, the love of life, humour and playfulness that is innate to us all. Take time to experience the true magic and splendour of the sun rising, a frost etched spiders web and connect with other senses too beyond sight. Feel life, hear it, breathe it in and then effortlessly, magic will flow as your perspective shifts, you strengthen the connection with the world around, with your authentic self and with choices that create and manifest magic into your life.
We do not know exactly what this festive period will bring, but as we each take responsibility for our choices at this time, try not to judge others… and be kind. Merry Christmas, peace and love to all.
If you have any topic requests for future blogs from me, please leave get in contact!