One of the things that makes me feel most alive, connected, joyous and free is being out, exploring, immersed in nature.
I know for me, the colder, shorter and darker days during the British winter can make this more of a challenge.
Here are some of the practices that help me throughout my day to find that same connection at this time of year...
Opening the windows when I first wake. And opening the backdoor and stepping outside in my Pj's whilst I wait for the kettle to boil. Breathing in the earthy fresh air. Feeling the wind or rain on my skin. Noticing the temperature, the sounds. Enjoying some of my first breaths of the day to be filled with fresh new air and long smooth breaths.
Using fresh or loose leaf herbs to make a warm drink helps connect me to the plant
Having the window open whilst I meditate to increase that fresh air, and also to welcome the sounds of the outside in
Having plants in the house and stopping to notice and admire them as I walk past
Stepping into outdoor space before showering to touch a tree or place my bare feet on the earth
Keeping the windows open whilst I shower and get ready to continue welcoming in the new day
Ensuring I keep warm, maintain heat and wrap up well when heading out. Showers, baths, warm drinks, hot water bottles, electric blanket - for me it very much works in my favour to maintain heat as I take a while to warm up if I let myself get cold! And over the years I've realised how crucial feeling warmth is to my wellbeing!
Heading for a walk around the block or local park before work and at lunch when it's still light. Taking my time and noticing as I pass through. Admiring a frost, watching the squirrels, hearing a crunch of the earth under my feet.
Using as much of the daylight as possible when I can at weekends and days with more freedom in their structure to get outside - gardening or walking to keep warm - and often with tea and cake breaks!
Investing in a super warm coat and sturdy shoes that enable me to head out in the snow and mud!
Getting outside with a bonfire - connecting to the elements in the dark and resting outside whilst keeping warm and connecting to the fire element.
Watching nature and travel documentaries, reading about wintering, making travel and gardening plans, planting bulbs, allowing myself to listen to my body and hibernate when I feel called, and journaling about it all
Having fresh flowers in the house (and watching and allowing the suitable ones to dry and then use in a bath or vase)
Buying beautiful fresh vegetables and enjoying preparing and eating them
Harvesting herbs such as sage from the garden, tying into a bundle, allowing to dry and then burning to cleanse my space
Using frozen Berries and fruits when fresh are harder to get hold of and connecting to their bright, fruitful, sunny abundant offering (often heating on the stove to pop on top of a nice hot bowl of porridge, or blitzing in the blender for a yummy smoothie!)
Putting bird feeders, bird boxes and bird baths out and watching the joyful birds dart around and go about their days with such grace
Taking out a flask on chilly walks or planning a walk with a refreshment stops on route/at the end
Tracking and spotting the moon, celebrating the solstice, watching and noticing as the daylight patterns and times change.
Having fun playing with dried flowers when there's less fresh around
Welcoming as much soft light as possible into my days - Candle light, SAD lamp, fairylights, warm glowing lights
Using incense blends such as sun - to channel light joyous vibes
Connecting with crystals as elements of the earth
Using natural skincare products and/or essential oils and connecting into the scents of nature
Having colour and pictures of nature in my home and space
Listening to music with nature sounds - waterfalls, sea, birds
Getting up before sunrise, lighting a candle and enjoying some tea as I watch the daylight slowly greet the day. Or allowing myself to wake with the rhythm of the rising sun, having my bed facing the window (and sleeping without a blind) to wake naturally with the light and then enjoying some time being in bed staring out of the window and admiring the new day
Using a sunrise alarm clock for days when I need to wake before sunrise (one of the best investments I've ever made!)
Having lunch next to a window and looking out into the day
Remembering I am part of nature and maintaining my daily practices to connect in with myself and my body
Mirroring the lessons and rhythms of nature - resting when I need to, journaling about letting go, allowing myself to recharge and reset
Growing evergreen plants so there's always something green to look out on
Allowing myself to dream and reminisce of warm summer days, flowers, picnics, paddling on the beach, laying on the grass - knowing and trusting when the time is right, those times will return again (and finding comfort with where I am now)