Welcome to week four of How To Beat The Winter Blues!
How did you get on with last week’s techniques, for roping in the power of your Monkey Mind? I’d love to hear from you, over at our Facebook Group.
Today we’re talking about “getting moving”.
For many of us, winter can feel like a time to hibernate, wrapped up in our duvets like a hedgehog in a leaf pile. We find ourselves pulling on ever more layers, until we can barely move. And, before we know it, we are literally hardly moving, which has a major impact on our body. Yet simple stretches and other simple techniques have the power to unlock your energy and set you free from winter lethargy.
Is it really time to hibernate?
Yes, we’re designed, like hibernating animals, to tone things down a bit in the winter. It is a natural time to slow the pace, to rest more, to reflect on the year and make plans for the year to come. But if we end up slowing down to the extent of a couch potato-style sloth, then it’s no wonder we end up feeling tired and sluggish. Add in your typical central heating system, which can cause mild dehydration and dry skin in winter, and your symptoms increase.
The human body is designed to need movement – whatever the weather.
Have you ever come across those “self-charging watches” – the ones that don’t have a battery, but charge themselves up as you move around? Then you sit at your computer half the day and wonder why your watch is running slow? Well, the human body is a bit like that, too. If you don’t move around enough, it doesn’t work properly.
The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system. It carries lymph around the body, to help fight infections and also to help remove toxins from the cells and organs. However, unlike the blood circulatory system, our lymphatic system has no central pump.
According to Peter Briant, our resident Shiastu & Bowen Therapist and Dru Yoga Teacher:
“Lymph is moved round the body by muscle movement. If you don’t move, it doesn’t move, the toxins don’t get flushed out and the winter bugs don’t get sorted out.“
Winter movement is pretty important!
Plus there’s another problem with slobbing out over winter: mind and body are linked.
Try this one out for yourself, for a moment (unless your work colleagues are watching!):
Sitting down at your computer screen, and repeat the phrase (out loud if possible): “Tired and weak.” Say it at least 7 times.
Now try to stand up.
Hard work, eh?
Sitting down again, repeat out loud the phrase: “Powerful and strong, ” at least 7 times.
Stand up and notice the difference.
Did you leap out of your chair?
If our mind tells us we’re feeling tired, then that’s what we will feel. Similarly, since the link works both ways, if we sit and phsyically behave in a slow, tired way, it will impact our mind.
If we’re not moving around and keeping active, then it follows that our mind will slow down, which can impact our clarity of thinking and our mental and emotional state!
Not moving causes the energy in your body to get stuck – and almost feel solid. Those blocks impact how you think, feel and even act!
Interested in three simple things you can do to turn things around this winter?
- Body Brushing
If you don’t fancy moving about too much, an easy way to get the lymph flowing and also to slough off toxins being shed through the skin (yeurch!) is body brushing.
Basically, before a shower or bath, you use a specially-designed brush to brush your skin – from the extremeties towards the heart.
If you try this one, you’ll really feel the energising impact. Do it regularly and you’ll notice the health benefits.
Our friend Keith Squires has written a very funny article about how exactly to do body brushing, complete with a very willing model, who posed for the “stage by stage” pictures – well worth a read. Over to you Keith! Skin Brushing From Keith Squires.
- Foot Massage
Have you ever given yourself a foot massage? I’m not talking a tickly, giggly affair here – I’m talking about deep tissue massage and rubbing?
If you have you’ll have noticed how great you (and your feet) feel afterwards!
Basically, your feet contain acupressure points that are connected to all the different areas in the body (the basic principle behind reflexology).
So if you give yourself a foot massage, it can make you feel as good as a full body massage.
It’s easiest with some good quality (i.e. chemical-free) moisturiser – even just kitchen sunflower oil – and then start by rubbing the whole of your foot, before moving to each toe and each area in turn. It is an amazing treat that has massive benefits and, especially in winter, is a great habit to get in to.
- Boogie On Down!
Personally, I love this one – though my neighbours probably don’t.
If I’m feeling stressed or tired, I love to put on my favourite music and dance and sing to my heart’s content!
It only takes 5 minutes and it will shake up your body, get you breathing deeply and release endorphins into your blood stream, which are your body’s way of helping you feel good.
If getting active is one of the ways you like to de-stress, then this will be a great one for you.
And even if it’s not the kind of thing you’d usually do, how about giving it a go?
If you’d like some inspiration, here’s a great video with 6 minutes of yoga activations, from the Dru Yoga team (the kind of yoga I teach) – it’s a full-body warm up, plus it’s safe, easy and fun – but it works!
There you go – 3 ways to keep yourself moving this winter, helping your body stay healthy and helping you feel more vibrant, relaxed and happy.
I’d love to hear how you get on with these techniques. As ever, please pop by the Facebook group and let me know how you’re getting on.
I’ll be back next week when I’ll be talking about top strategies for letting go of the tension that cold weather (and thinking about the cold!) causes us to store in our bodies. So get ready to release those aches, pains and more, which can last long beyond the winter months. We will be sharing some simple exercises you can do, to release that tension, to help you feel more awake and energised, throughout the year.