Finding Life In The Dark | How To Deal With The Winter Months

Life is hard. It can be even more challenging when you feel swamped by long days of work with no time set aside for yourself. The winter months definitely do not help as there is not as much access to sunlight and you feel disconnected from the world around you. 

Relationships, work, school, and day-to-day activities demand a lot from us. We are expected to be at the top of our game all of the time, as well as be able to juggle all of these activities with no complaints, and flawless execution. How can we be expected to be the best version of ourselves from school to work, to family to friends, when we have not taken the time to invest in ourselves? 

With the winter months bringing less daylight and colder environments, the motivations for our typical self-care rituals may be on the decline. Evening walks, morning yoga sessions, and picnics outside with friends are less desirable and less realistic. So, how can we fill our cups up with light within these winter days? 

Light Up Your Day with Gardening

There are many ways to create time for yourself even during colder temperatures and less daylight. Journaling, listening to a podcast, making a nourishing meal, or taking a bubble with fresh rosemary sprigs in the tub can all contribute to a greater sense of calm, peace, and self-love. But, those activities don’t exactly get you outside and soaking up the much needed Vitamin D. Gardenuity is here to help. 

According to the Global Wellness Summit, dirt-y wellness is the number one trend of 2022, and here at Gardenuity, we believe it is here to stay. Spending just a few moments tending to your garden and allowing yourself to take in a breath of fresh air is a powerful tool to bring a little bit of life and light into your day-to-day. Nurturing nature gives you a sense of purpose, allows you to get some movement into your day, and inspires growth within as your plants flourish and bloom. 

If it’s just to cold to get outside and get a little dirty, indoor plant
care is also a great way to deal with the winter blues. Research shows that the
presence of potted plants can help to lower your blood pressure and
decrease your anxiety level. Recent studies have shown that people with plants in their hospital rooms recovered more quickly after surgery and experienced lower pain levels, less
anxiety, and less fatigue than patients without plants in their room.

Taking care of your indoor plants or outdoor container gardens can help give
your brain a break from constant stimuli from the digital world around us and
everyday stresses. Simply touching the soil and nurturing your plants can boost
your mood. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that
gardening activities, such as planting and watering pants, were associated with
reduced cortisol levels and increased levels of serotonin. Furthermore,
many healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists,
and primary care doctors, recognize the benefits of gardening and are
recommending it as a way to improve mental health and well-being.

Additionally, countless studies have revealed the positive impacts of taking mindful minutes in nature for mental health, productivity, and creativity. Let’s look at winter through the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese Medicine is a widely renowned and accepted approach to health and wellness, dating back to ancient times. This frame of thought is used frequently within yoga practices, sleep schedules, and even dietary habits to embrace whatever season is in motion. 

Winter and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Yin and Yang is a concept that most people are familiar with or have at least heard of, but did you know the root of yin and yang is balance? According to expert, Mimi Kuo-Deemer, “the elements and organ systems, like the seasons of the year, move harmoniously between energies of yin and yang.” In Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is the season of maximum yin. So, what does all of this have to do with our mindset and workloads during winter? 

Well, as nature teaches us, winter is a natural time for humans to drift inwards in their body and their energy. Plants draw inwards and save up energy, water, and light within their roots to await the blooming light months of spring. Therefore, it makes total sense that during these winter months, we may feel less motivation, creativity, productivity, and be overwhelmed by all of the tasks, events, and routines that rule our lives. 

Taking a step back from your to-do lists and business with dirt-y wellness is a way you can connect with the cycle of the universe and understand your internal feelings through the example of nature.

Kuo-Deemer explains that by “living with the cycle of nature we begin to understand that rest is not a shortcoming; rather it nourishes our capacity for deep listening and allows us to nurture a deeper wisdom.” 

What better way to bring light and energy back into our lives than allowing the lessons of nature to nurture us? Slow down with nature, come back to yourself, and embrace the tradition and wisdom that gardening can teach you.