Winter and Fertility
In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 is the Winter Solstice.
This means that it’s the shortest day, and the longest night, of the year. It’s also the official start of winter. (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite and December 21 is the Summer Solstice, and the beginning of summer. I will talk here about winter).
Since the summer, the days have been getting progressively shorter and shorter each day, culminating with today. After today, they’ll start to get longer again, culminating with the Summer Solstice in June.
It’s taken me a long time to appreciate winter’s magic. I’m a summer person through and through. I love the heat, energy and vitality of summer. I don’t like feeling cold or being in snow. I always also found the darkness and gray of winter to be depressing.
But I’ve come to learn that winter is a special time, and have learned to not only appreciate, but also welcome, its magic each year.
The seasonal changes that our bodies experience seasonally occur on a cellular level, so this applies to you even if you don’t live in a location where you experience the distinct seasons, and wintertime isn’t very cold for you.
Winter is a time of grounding, centering, going inward. Re-establishing that very special connection we have with our innermost self that can sometimes get lost in the busyness of the rest of the year. Just as the bears hibernate in their caves to keep warm during the winter, we humans use the wintertime to go inward – our own hibernation, if you will.
There’s a reason I offer a winter fertility cleanse. It’s not only to jump-start our body and rid it of toxins that have accumulated (although that is a big part of it and very important!) – during the process of going inward in winter, we can cleanse and prepare for great personal growth and transformation. Just as the days start to get longer in the winter and we see more light, we go from our own inner darkness toward the light.
It’s awesome! And truly magical!
Here are some general tips for keeping on top of your fertility in the winter:
Continue to be mindful of your diet. While we watch what we eat the entire year, the food that we eat during the winter might be a little more “dangerous” from a health and fertility standpoint. All the heavy dishes, stews and “comfort foods” that we eat to keep warm (my weakness is homemade chicken pot pie!) have more calories and carbs than the light fruits and salads we eat in the summer.
We can also tend to be more sedentary in the winter so maybe we’re not exercising as much, which can make those calorie- and carb-laden foods even more dangerous.
I’m not suggesting not to eat those foods. In the winter we crave grounding and centering and those foods help provide that. I’m simply suggesting that we be mindful and exercise our 80/20 rule. Eat clean the majority (80%) of the time, and the other times, practice moderation (and portion control!).
Keep moving your body. You know that exercise doesn’t top my list of favorite things to do, right? Combine that with my distaste for cold weather and you know that I’d ride my couch all winter if I could!
It’s so important that we keep moving in the winter. Our bodies and our health need movement all year long, so it’s not a good idea to just take 3 months off from exercise.
In making an exercise plan, think about winter’s energy, and consider restorative forms of exercise, where we get both the health benefits of moving our bodies and the mental and emotional benefits of going inward. Things like yoga, nature hikes, Pilates, tai chi – if you want to ramp it up a bit try aerobics or zumba, or indoor swimming. You could even try something new. Just keep moving!
Keep focused on your mindset. Having a mindfulness practice really helps with this, and since winter is an introspective time, the mindset is one of the easier things to keep focused on in the winter. It can also help you keep positive if you get the winter blues, like me. If you don’t already have a mindfulness practice, winter is a great time to start one.
Here are some of my favorite mindfulness tools, all of which are awesome in winter:
- You can write about your feelings about winter, what a perfect winter’s day look like to you, or anything that resonates with you. Or if your forte is more with the visual arts, draw or paint a picture of the winter scene outside your window.
- Creative Visualization. Take a few minutes each day to go inside your body and thank her for everything she does for you every day, from breathing, to pumping blood, to keeping you alive. While you’re at it, check out your ovaries and uterus and thank them too for their hard work in growing eggs and giving your baby a place to grow, when your baby comes to you!
- Gratitude Practice. Practicing gratitude is awesome! Taking a few minutes each day to reflect on the bounty in our lives not only helps us feel good, it opens our hearts and allows even more abundance to flow to us.
- I love affirmations. They help us center our energy, which is the very essence of winter. One of my favorite ones right now, that I say upon waking each day, is this: “I’m exactly where I need to be right now, thank you. “ You could also try winter-specific affirmations, like “I embrace the calm and stillness within me,” or “I am open to receiving the light.” Repeat your affirmations whenever you have a quiet moment – upon waking, just before bed, on a walk, or my personal favorite, while sitting on public transportation.
Love, Steph xo
p.s. Speaking of cleanses here’s a heads-up: The winter 2019 edition of my Renewal for Fertilitycleanse will be coming soon so stay tuned!