It’s almost Equinox. Winter is coming. The Sun will cross the equator and move to the southern hemisphere. This means days will get shorter, darker, and colder (for the northern hemisphere).
Many associate this part of the year with seasonal affective disorder, depression, low motivation, weight gain, getting sick and so on. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Our body has a special program that needs to be run during the colder, darker part of the year.
We get all of the issues above because we disrupt this program. We spend our winters in an artificial summer, warm, bright, and copious. When we fully embrace the seasons and give our body the signals it expects, we maintain a fit body, vibrant mind, and strong health through Fall and Winter.
We covered how to supplement sunlight in winter, but there are a lot more tips you can leverage to thrive during this season.
Tips to thrive in Winter
- Keep getting morning and mid-day sun to entrain your circadian rhythm to the changing schedule of the sun, and to stock up on Vitamin D before Winter.
During Fall and Winter:
- Get acclimated to the Cold – during winter, our central clock switches from using light to using temperature. Getting acclimated to the cold pushes our body to run the winter program (endorphins, browning of fat ..). This can look like heating your house a little bit less, wearing one layer less, doing cold plunges in the ocean/lake, cold showers in the morning etc
- Keep grounding yourself – using wool socks, earthing sandals (15% OFF with code: 360UPGRADE) or grounding mats – winter is an electron poor time from a sunlight perspective, so you want to get as many electrons as possible from the earth to maintain healthy cells and expand the Exclusion Zone water
- Keep going out and seeing the sun – even if the days are cloudy, and cold, the sun will still shine UVA and Infrared (UVB is drastically diminished or inexistent, hence the importance of getting as much exposure in Fall to charge up Vitamin D for winter). Spending 15 min out will have a much better impact than any SAD lamp. In addition, you can combine cold exposure with daylight by going out.
- Get exposure to infrareds – infrareds are powerful health givers. You can get more exposure to them in the form of Red/Infrared light therapy, saunas, or fireplaces as this will help supplement the lack of infrared from diminished sunlight. Infrareds are important for our mitochondria and to produce cellular melatonin (powerful antioxidant). Get the red light I use (low flicker, low EMF) here with 20% off at checkout through this link, and if you don’t have a sauna nearby, you can use this home infrared sauna (75$ OFF code 360UPGRADE).
- Embrace darkness – make sure you respect the rhythm of the sun, as sunsets will move to an earlier time. Minimize artificial light after sunset, and use blue blockers (my favorite are the 3-in-1 from vivarays – 15% OFF code: 360UPGRADE). We’re supposed to produce a lot more melatonin in winter, sleep more, run more autophagy – it is literally the season of repair and regeneration, so get the amount of sleep you need.
- Update your diet to fit with the season – limit carbs, fall and winter do not usually grow carbs / simple sugars as they require high UV intensity. Keep eating local and seasonal (so no bananas or mangoes in the middle of december!). In winter particularly, it’s best to focus on animal food, dairy, seafood, organs, and tubules/starches.
- Connect with people – Fall and winter might be times of external coldness but they’re also seasons of internal warmth – connect with loved ones, spend time with family and friends, use this as an occasion for gathering.
By following these principles, you’ll be armed against seasonal affective disorders, easy sickness, low motivation, and weight gains so typical of modern fall/winter periods.
Winter is a season that many find challenging due to dimmer sunlight, lower temperatures, and shorter days. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Our body contains all the programs for us to thrive all year long, including winter, as long as we live in alignment with our environment.
Learn about how to avoid winter sickness, winter weight gains, seasonal depression, better resist to cold, follow a seasonal diet (and why), and feel great all year long in my Embrace The Seasons course.