We are in it deep now. The holidays are over and we are back to work and routines… and staying at home more due to this latest covid surge. We can’t change the seasons or a lot to do with this virus but there are some things we can do to help us not just survive, but maybe even thrive, another winter season.
I have to confess, I love winter. I love the beauty of nature with a fresh coat of snow, the refreshing feeling that comes from being outside in the cold and then coming in to get cozy. I also appreciate the lower expectations we have for the weather this time of year! Spring, where I live in Newfoundland, is never what we wish it to be weather wise, as is often summer. We long for heat and sun but often have to settle for cool and cloud. Fall is usually really lovely and nice but can be super busy with back to school and then preparing for the holidays.
In feng shui winter is associated with the water element… cold and dark. Despite what our modern culture tells us, it’s also a time to slow down and reflect, to get cozy and embrace that hygge vibe that has grown in popularity. It’s a time to start to dream and plan for the year ahead. Setting goals and jumping into new year’s resolutions is really not in line with what’s happening in nature this time of year. That’s more of a spring thing.
Sometimes, despite my love of winter, I still need a boost to keep my personal and home qi (chi) high. Here are some of the ways I make the most out of winter.
1. Get outside in nature, build up your personal qi.
While it’s not always easy to get outside when it’s colder, it’s always a good idea! If you can, get outside during daylight hours and get yourself into nature. If these things aren’t possible just do the best you can, an evening walk through the neighbourhood is great.
We are inside with the windows closed more this time of year so enjoying some fresh air in our lungs and on faces can help with those winter blues. Getting outside also means you are moving your body which feels good when you then get home and cuddle up with a book or show.
2. Enhance your home with the method of minor adjustments.
Minor/mundane adjustments, as we call them in feng shui, can help bring your home in line with what’s happening outside and enhance the elements of the season. Some of the adjustments I like to make this time of year:
- Bring the outside in – cut some boughs and branches and put them in vases around your home. Skip the grocery store flowers and stick with seasonal greenery.
- Keep the Christmas lighting – when the Christmas tree comes down it can feel very sparse and cold in our homes. I like to keep some of that seasonal lighting around during the winter with twinkle lights and candles. Anything to bring in more soft light. Avoid the bright lights… taking a cue from Mother Nature who likes to keep the lighting low this time of year. Even when the sun is out in full force it’s still low in the sky and softer than the high summer sun.
- Think texture – keep some cozy blankets and cushions close by and use them. Another texture that I like to have around more in the winter is metal/metallic. Shiny blingy things like candle holders, vases, etc. help to bring in the light as well.
3. Clean your stove and cleanse your home.
Your stove probably worked really hard for you over the holidays. Start the new year with showing it some TLC. In feng shui, the stove is a symbol of abundance and wealth. It nourishes us and using it to cook meals at home keeps us healthy – which we know is the greatest source of wealth. One thing I like to do this time of year is to have a pot of oranges and seasonal spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) on simmer. Oranges are a great way to cleanse your space (which is also nice to do after the holidays and at the start of the new year) and when you add in the warm spices just mentioned, it’s like smelling a great big hug. Tip: to add a little feng shui umph – use 9 slices or pieces of orange.
4. Hydrate your home and your body.
Despite winter’s predominate element being water, it’s a dry time of year as we turn up the heat to stay cozy and warm. So, to balance the dryness… add more water. The simmering pot of oranges and spices mentioned above will help, as will essential oil diffusers and humidifiers. We have a gadget in our home that measures the humidity and in the winter break out our humidifier to increase it. Before we had a humidifier, I use to put big jars of water around my home. It’s amazing to see how quickly they evaporate. Your pets may also play a role in emptying the jars but that’s okay, they need hydration too!
Hydrating your body is important also. I probably don’t have to tell you that dry skin can be a real issue in the winter. Key is to keep your liquids at least at room temp or warmer, skip the ice water….unless you’re going to bathe in it which is another topic all together! Warming teas, soups and stews are all great ways to increase your intake of liquids in addition to drinking straight up room temp water. Keeping hydrated helps to boost your immune system and heaven knows, we all need a boost about now!
5. Clean around your front entry to welcome the new year.
While winter is a time for reflecting and not necessarily doing, there is a sense of newness in the air because of the new year, both solar and lunar. Take a look at your front entry way, are there holiday decorations that you can take down? Do you still have flowerpots that should be emptied and moved away from the front entrance? When it snows, do you make sure to clear your walkway and entrance for easy access?
I create displays of winter greenery in December and have a green wreath that I keep up all winter long. I take off any ‘Christmasy’ decorations and enjoy it all season. What can you do to keep your front entry warm and inviting during this cold time of year?
In the northern part of the northern hemisphere, we are super lucky (maybe you don’t think so but I do) to experience all the seasons. Just like the seasons are very different from each other, so should be the ways we move through them. Fine tuning your routines and relationship with what’s happening outside can make the difference between just surviving the season to maybe even thriving.
I’d love to know your thoughts on how you make out during winter any anything special you do to make it a time to enjoy.