Updated: 4 hours ago
We have officially entered a new season brought to us by mother nature. Winter! No matter where in the world you reside, winter is a time to slow down, rest more, to heal on all levels, and practice deep self care and nurturing daily rituals.
Human beings are connected with the earth and the seasons. Each one brings us a new energy. Learning to flow and embody each of them is of highest service to ourselves. It allows us to become more connected with ourselves.
To help myself and all of you beautiful souls out there to achieve this, I’ve created a winter self care essentials guide full of my favorite health and wellness products, nurturing rituals, and nourishing recipes for this season. I’ve linked all of the products I chat about for you, check them out by clicking the underlined heading. Enjoy loves 💕
Essential oils have been used for centuries for their healing and wellness properties. Add that with the benefits of a facial steamer and you have yourself a new daily ritual that relaxes your mind, improves respiratory and sinus health, and helps you achieve a glowy complexion.
Facial steamers help to hydrate skin, allow better absorption of skin care, loosen clogged pores, promote circulation, increase natural collagen and elastin, clears sinuses, provides a sense of relaxation, and improves the respiratory health.
Adding essential oils to the facial steam enhances the experience and benefits. If you’re looking to achieve more relaxation and restful sleep use lavender oil. Use tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties to clear sinuses and acne. For anti aging and anti inflammatory use oregano oil. The list goes on! Each essential oil provides different benefits so I would take some time to do some research to achieve exactly what you desire out of this treatment.
I definitely recommend using pure filtered water and high quality, pure, organic essential oils as you are breathing it in and it’s getting dispersed onto the skin. Quality in everything matters!
The skin is the largest organ of the body and it needs to be shown love on a daily basis! The colder winter months tend to be more dry, the air lacks moisture and this can cause dry skin. Body oils are great for the summer time too as sweating and being out in the sun more can also cause loss of moisture in the skin.
Incorporating a high quality body oil in your daily skin and body care routine replenishes the skin's moisture and helps to retain it. They also help to reduce stretch marks, scaring, and UV damage. Oils create healthy, soft, glowing, radiant skin plus it feels amazing! You’ll want to look for a pure, organic, cold pressed oil, this is going on your skin so it needs to be of high quality.
Pamper your skin with body oil right after showering. When the skin is warm and damp it will absorb moisturizers more effectively. You can also warm up the oils themselves in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Make sure to work the oil into the skin and don’t put clothes on for at least five minutes allowing the oil to work its magic. High quality oils can also be used on the face and hair as well.
I specifically recommend jojoba oil because it’s the oil that most closely mimics the natural oils on our skin. This means that our skin is more able to accept and absorb it, enhancing the benefits. Add a fragrance to the oil by incorporating a few drops of essential oil, like lavender, to create a relaxing, soothing aromatic experience.
Tea is notoriously known for its relaxing and healing properties. Getting cozy on the couch, wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea on a cold winter day. Who doesn't love that?! Since winter is a time for us to slow down, relax, rest, and rejuvenate, lots of tea will be necessary.
There's something extra cozy and organic feeling about heating up my water in an old fashioned tea kettle. I have pretty much eliminated microwave use and I recommend you do the same. Microwaves literally send radiation through anything you heat up and kill nutrients in food. Tea kettles eliminate this issue for you, use it to heat up any liquid of choice!
This brings me to my next point concerning health. Tea is absolutely amazing for us and offers so many health benefits, just not when it comes in those little convenient tea bags. The unfortunate fact is that most of those tea bags are made of micro-plastics and other nasty compounds that we should not be ingesting. Those tea bags go into a boiling cup of water releasing micro plastics and chemicals into your drink. No thank you!
The safest, healthiest way to consume tea is to purchase organic loose leaf tea and a metal tea infuser. This way there is no worry about what you're putting into your body. Plus by doing this you’ll be reducing waste and plastic emissions all while saving money. There are some non toxic tea brands that use natural, plant based bags, my favorites are Your Tea and Numi.
There are so many different varieties of tea and they all offer their own unique benefits. The product that I linked offers nine different divine, organic teas that come in eco friendly packaging.
Since many of us love adding a hint of sweet to tea, I recommend going with a raw honey vs. refined sugar or a non raw version of honey. Raw honey offers a range of health benefits on its own without any chemicals, pesticides, or deadly side effects of refined sugar.
In the spirit of rest and relaxation cozy clothes are required! Winter isn't super cold everywhere like it is in the northeast, however, we all need comfy lounge wear that we get excited to put on. I don't know about you but I pretty much live in my lounge wear. I’ve become somewhat of a lounge wear connoisseur and the three piece set that I’ve linked above is hands down my favorite set. It’s high quality, super soft material that gently hugs the body and gives you all of the cozy feels. And yes, it is okay to wear out in public 😜
In many parts of the United States and across the world winter is a dark, cold time of year. There are less hours of sunlight, the temperatures are often freezing and it's cloudy, raining, or snowing half the time. Time spent outside in the sun during this time of year is rare and many suffer vitamin D deficiencies along with all of the other amazing health benefits the sun provides us with. I’ve recently written a blog on this, click the link below if you're interested in learning more about how important the sun is for human health.
It’s no wonder why many people suffer seasonal depression, we need the sun in order to thrive. One of the best things you can do for yourself if you live in a cold climate and are not getting at least twenty minutes of sunshine per day is to invest in a high quality vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is essential to overall health and wellbeing and while it’s much more beneficial to get natural vitamin D, taking a supplement is your next best option. This is a non negotiable for me. I either suck it up and stand outside in the cold when it’s sunny out, sit in front of a window where the sun beams in, or if I can't do that I take a vitamin D supplement at night.
The one I’ve linked above is Vitamin D3+K2+COQ10 by the brand Cymbiotika. It’s specifically made with vitamin D3 which is the kind of vitamin D or bodies naturally make when exposed to sunlight. It’s formulated with K2 which helps calcium get distributed to parts of the body that need it the most like bones and teeth. When vitamin D and calcium are both present they help each other's absorption rates. COQ10 supports energy levels and protection against free radicals and oxidative stress promoting healthy aging of the body.
This product is a bit of an investment. It’s absolutely worth the price but if it is out of your price range the next best one that I know of is from a brand called Vimmergy. They are also formulated with vitamin D3 and just like Cymbiotika it is vegan, gluten free, alcohol free, soy free, sugar free, organic, and free of fillers, additives, and preservatives.
Winter is a time of deep healing. It’s a time to reflect inward, to ask ourselves where we still hold traumas, what we need to release, how we can surrender ego and control, how we can become more at peace, and so much more. It's also a time to recognize how far we've come in our personal journey's.
What we need to work on and heal varies by individual as we all have our own unique life experiences. What's proven to help just about everyone on this self reflective journey of healing and evolution is journaling. To just sit with yourself and write. It’s a safe place, no judgment, no right or wrong, nothing but you and yourself working through the depths of your mind and soul.
The journal I linked above is beautiful, hardcover, Persian designed. I believe in having a journal that you love and get excited to write in.
You don’t need to be a yogi in order to need a yoga mat. Yoga mats are amazing for stretching, meditation, and for working out. It's something that everyone can use. Winter is a time to rejuvenate and slow down a bit. What better way to do that than to add a yoga flow, a stretching routine, and/or meditation practice into your daily rituals.
Since winter is a time of going inward and creating space for yourself to reflect, heal more deeply and rest, picking up a new book is an amazing tool to help you align with this energy.
The Alchemist is a book of personal development, it brings you on a the journey of a boy in the quest of fulfilling his own personal legend. While you go through that journey with him you reflect on your own and learn many life lessons that you can integrate. Picking up a physical book and creating time to read is a nourishing ritual for the mind, body, and soul.
Nourishing Hot Chocolate
Nothing screams winter and the holiday season like hot chocolate does. This year, however, we are making the nourishing, homemade version of that.
Traditional hot cocoa is made with refined sugar, low quality dairy, and cocoa which is the refined version of cacao (chocolate in its raw form). If we know one thing about refined foods it's that we need to stay as far away as possible from them as they are harmful to our health. Refined foods have been totally stripped of their nutrients causing our bodies to do a bunch of crazy things because it does not recognize it as real food (because it’s not) and doesn't know how to process it. Refined foods negatively affect gut health, all organs in the body including the brain, and cause inflammatory responses aka dis-ease.
Cacao on the other hand is a superfood. Yes, we can eat chocolate and have it benefit our health, not harm it. It’s full of minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and copper. Its heart healthy, feeds the good gut microbiome, aligns hormones, boosts brain function, fights against aging and free radicals, and can help to reduce stress and fatigue symptoms.
This hot cacao recipe is so delicious and so packed with body loving ingredients that you can drink every day if you want! This recipe makes two servings and does contain sesame (tahini) so if you are allergic just leave that ingredient out.
What you’ll need:
2 cups of clean plant milk or organic whole milk
5 tablespoons of organic cacao powder
3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Ground cinnamon for garnish
Medium saucepan and favorite mug
How to prepare:
Pour milk into the saucepan and place on the stovetop over medium heat.
Add in all other ingredients and whisk continually until smoothly combined and slightly frothy. Do not let it boil, only bring to a slight simmer for about 1-2 minutes.
Pour into your favorite mug, top off with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and enjoy!
Veggie Congee Recipe
If you're not familiar with congee, it’s a popular rice porridge originating in Asia. It’s super comforting, nourishing, and most of all great for gut health. Warm, soft meals like this one are very gentle on digestion and are packed with nutrients that healthy gut microbiome thrive off of and cells love.
It’s so important that we start eating and living to support gut health, nourish our cells, and reduce inflammation. Health, wellbeing, and quality of life starts in the gut. Humans cannot be healthy if the gut isn’t healthy. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, nut free, and free from all preservatives and additives.
What you’ll need:
1 cup of short grain, organic brown rice
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 small knob of fresh ginger
1 cup of dried, sliced mushrooms
1 medium sweet potato
2 cups of chopped greens (collard, kale, or spinach)
Toppings to consider: kimchi, tamari, hot chili oil or sauce, scallions
How to prepare:
Rinse the rice off thoroughly and add it to the saucepan along with the vegetable broth and chopped ginger. Bring to a boil, turn heat to medium-low, cover and stir regularly. Let the rice cook for 45 minutes.
As the rice cooks, put the dried mushrooms in a large bowl of warm water and soak them.
Peel the sweet potato and chop into cubes.
Wash and cut the greens.
After 45 minutes of the rice cooking, stir in the mushrooms along with the soaking water and the chopped sweet potato. Cover and continue simmering for another 30 minutes stirring regularly.
After 30 minutes stir on the greens. Continue simmering for another 15 minutes.
If the congee is too watery, simmer without the cover for 10-15. If it’s too thick add more water.
Remove from the burner and enjoy with the toppings of your choice! I love adding scallions and hot chili sauce 🌶
I do hope you enjoyed this guide and pulled some inspiration from it on how you're going to rest, heal, and nurture yourself this winter season. Flow with the energy of the seasons, embody them, and make the absolute most of them for your health, happiness, and wellbeing 💕
Wishing you a beautiful winter ❄