I met a friend outside the bank yesterday who after exchanging the “it is sooo cold” comments, told me that she had been told by someone that apparently yesterday morning was the last really cold morning we were going to have here in Melbourne this year. Given that the meteorologists from the Bureau don’t often seem to be able to get the forecasts right, I don’t feel terribly inclined to believe such a wild and sweeping prediction. Although who knows, perhaps this person has extraordinary physic powers that focus on the weather.
Perhaps it was significant that we had that conversation yesterday as the second of August is Imbolc here in the Southern latitudes is a festival that celebrates the change that heralds the approaching Spring and the return of the light. It coincides with the first stirrings of Spring. Here in Melbourne early spring bulbs are busily flowering and the wattles have been dressed in a blaze of gold for weeks now, but it is easy to imagine how significant the sight of a tuft of green glimpsed on this day would be to someone who had been snowbound for months. In fact even in Melbourne we often feel a bit low by the time that Imbolc arrives, lacking energy and eating and sleeping more.
In spite of burst of spring beauties in the garden, and in spite of being able to see the that seasons have begun to change I am still feeling the effects of winter. I am still cold! The garden is still too cold and wet to get started on spring planting, and the air is too wet to start on spring refurbishments around the house. Spring has really not yet managed to get a toehold on the side of winter.
So, in the interests of getting us over the mark into “real spring” here are some uplifting and reviving ideas to carry us the extra yard (or is that metre in our post-imperial-measures society).
Foot baths used to be seen as something for old ladies with sore feet, but a couple of years ago I discovered just how nice it is to sit with my feet in hot water, while I read and sipped tea, and never, ever regret it when I manage to indulge in this way. Also, soaking in a bath, even a foot bath, is a great way to gain the health benefits of essential oils or Himalayan salts.
Our home lacks the luxury of any bath that allows more stretch than “knees around the ears” so foot baths are the alternative. I managed to pick an electric one up on e-Bay for $1. But you can use any nice big bowl instead, in fact I rarely plug mine in, as the oils or salts do their job perfectly well in the still water.
Soaking in a Himalayan salt foot bath is soothing for your feet, so it’s great after a long day, and also very revitalizing.Essential Oils have wonderful healing effects and can be added to your foot bath to deal with all sorts of winter problems. Just be careful to check the actual oil you choose before using them as some are contra-indicated for various diseases and others can be irritating if they come into contact with the skin.According to reflexology philosophy our whole body is mirrored in our feet, so anything we do to nurture them is also going to nurture our whole body.
Warming Winter Herbal teas are a great way to get a winter lift. This excellent page links to 52 different herbal tea recipes. There is a huge range of choice to suit every taste, and many are made from ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen cupboard and are again, like the essential oils, specific to winter ailments. Also, you could easily mix a few up for a yummy brew. Herbal teas are the easiest way to get the benefits of herbal healing wisdom that has been around for thousands of years, and although there are many ready made versions of the teas, it is great to tailor make them to fit your needs from fresh ingredients.
Sometimes we just need a “mood boost” during winter so here are a few quickies…
- ∞ Put on some uplifting music, especially good if you can dance to it. Music accesses your emotions directly and can be a really quick mood booster.
- ∞ Call your best friend and perhaps even meet up for a cuppa. It is really tempting to hibernate in winter but socialising gives a great sense of belonging and makes you feel appreciated. Make sure to keep the conversation light!
- ∞ Get moving especially if you are sitting at a desk all day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Exercise releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine and with all those dancing around inside you are sure to feel livelier.
- ∞ Don’t forget to laugh. Laughter clubs are everywhere. A good laugh send you straight into a relaxed state. It lowers your blood pressure and also stimulates endorphins. Remember how good you feel after you hear a good joke? Of course you don’t need to join a club, a funny movie, a joke on facebook are all good.
Winter is a great time to count your blessings. Cultivating gratitude has been shown to be a wonderful way to increase happiness. Try making a list of some of the things in your life for which you are truly grateful. It is a wonderful and quick way to get you out of a slump
Cook up a big pot of yummy warming winter soup this weekend. I found this interesting variation on traditional Potato and Leek soup and I went out yesterday to pick up the ingredients (organic of course!). This chef catered a party for me once and he made a great array of delicious and unusual foods that catered for special diets. If you have a slow cooker put on a nourishing casserole for dinner. You can load it up with root vegetables full of nutrients for a great health boost.
Find yourself a great book in which you can get immersed. By the time you finish it and raise your head you will find that spring has sprung. Too often we save up the great books for holidays and forget to enjoy the relaxation and pleasure they bring throughout the rest of the year. Turn off the TV, close the computer, and instead grab a cosy rug, a warm tea and curl up for a couple of hours of blissful reading…for pleasure, not for work.
I am not about to pack away my winter woolies, not for a long time yet, in spite of the positive forecast of that friend-of-a-friend. But I am going to look for the parts of winter for which I am grateful, the crispness of the air, the beauty of the fog hanging low over the river in the morning, the awesome heater I have in my house, the chance to wear my great collection of beautiful boots, and the reassurance that the wheel of life continues rolling along. But right now I am off outside to pick some of the gorgeously scented and very aptly named “Erlicheer” jonquils to bring into the house to lift my winter spirits and remind me that Spring really is in fact, just around the corner.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.
© Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.