5 tips to warm yourself up this winter the Ayurvedic way
In case you’re new to my blog—
Let me introduce myself. I’m Bec Morris - northern nutritionist, yoga teacher and wellbeing enthusiast.
This blog was kind of born out of frustration. I was fanatic about martial arts and yoga, but also spent all my spare time trying out new things and didn’t want to be pinned down to a particular genre. I looked for activities, recipes etc that I actually enjoyed - rather than what was ‘on trend’ and plastered all over Instagram. I get bored very easily.
You can expect to find my accounts of random experiences, trying out new sports and wellbeing exercises, honest reviews of products and recipes that are both good for you and tasty.
Today I’m gonna share some tips for keeping nice and toasty in this arctic winter weather, based on the traditional rituals used in Ayurveda. They’re simple and cheap, and can make a huge difference to your day.
1— Self massage, aka Abhyanga
Massage is something we all love and treat as an indulgence, so why not incorporate it into our daily lives more often? There’s no need to book expensive appointments - you can self massage any time you like and it still has the soothing effects, also promoting self love and educating you about your body. All you need is a nice natural oil - sesame is usually recommended here but I sometimes use coconut or almond, it’s completely up to you and your skin type. You can also add your favourite essential oils to get extra nutrients and benefits, and my favourites are Frankincense and Lavender.
Warm your oil slightly, by pouring about 1/4 cup into a container and sitting on warm water for a few minutes. It should be around body temperature, so not too hot to touch!
Set your environment - light candles, burn incense, play music… anything that makes you feel super chilled.
Massage the face in a circular motion, focusing carefully on each part. The forehead, cheeks, chin, nose… Take your time and move slowly.
Move to the shoulders, using long strokes on the arms and making sure to really rub the oils into your elbows and any dry patches.
Massage the stomach, moving slowly in an anti-clockwise direction. This can also promote digestion and help with bloating.
Move down to the legs, using long strokes again and noting any dry areas.
Move on to the feet and spend a few minutes massaging the oils in to every part. Our feet work really hard for us so we should show them some love back! This can help with any aches and pains, and keep those cracked heels at bay.
I love to meditate for about 15 minutes after my massage, letting the oils sink in and really take advantage of that relaxed, grounded place I’ve created for myself.
2— Post-massage shower
A lovely, warming shower after a self massage makes your skin feel like bliss. It may sound odd to shower after moisturising, but this is actually really great for the skin. Take care to avoid using too much soap, as the oil will stay on the skin if it isn’t washed too harshly (we want to keep it there to nourish and protect our skin). When you’re done, dab the skin dry rather than rubbing, being conscious that keeping this oil on our skin will feed us with goodness for hours, and protect us against the cold weather.
3— Essential oil bath
Adding essential oils to my bath makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable for me. I treat it like a potion, adding herbs and aromas that suit my current mood and how my body feels. With the steam rising in the bathroom and some candles and incense lit, I can feel like I’m in a spa without even leaving my house. You can collect items for a detoxing bath really easily, and I recommend the following:
- Epsom salts, or Himalayan Salts
These help to draw toxins out of the body and leave you feeling brand new. Add about half a cup of salts, unless you are intending to heavily detox. Be sure to drink plenty of water after your bath if you use these.
- Essential oils
Choose these dependent on your mood, as they will add a great aroma to your bath. If you want to wind down and chill, use Lavender and Frankincense, or if you want to perk up and be invigorated then Lemon and Peppermint oils will do the trick. Add around 8 drops in total of oil.
- Dried flowers and herbs
I love adding dried flowers and herbs, as they completely change the mood for me (as well as looking amazing). I go for rose petals or lavender, or lemongrass if I want something a little more energetic.
Don’t be afraid to bring crystals into the mix. They can help set the tone and intention for your bath, and make the atmosphere extra soothing and calming.
4— Eat nourishing warm foods
Ayurvedic herbs are great for the winter months, and adding them to stews and soups can create the most comforting dishes. There’s nothing like curling up with a hot bowl of soup when there’s snow outside your window. See my recipe for sweet potato and coconut soup here, full of health boosting turmeric. Include ginger in your cooking, as this will really help your immune system to fight off those colds and flus.
5— Drink tea
As you have probably guessed I am an avid tea lover. But this drink really comes into its own over the winter months - with possibilities to include ingredients that detox our bodies and provide us with nutrients and vitamins to stay fit and healthy, there are endless opportunities. This is my current favourite infusion:
Makes 2 cups
- 1 tsp lemon balm tea
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp fresh grated turmeric (or 1/4 tsp ground)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 slices of lemon
Pop all of the ingredients, except for the lemon, in a tea pot or strainer and leave to steep for around 10 minutes. Enjoy in a cup with a lemon slice - this is a spicy tea with a little kick to it, perfect for sore throats and colds. It really warms up the digestive system and can be a great healer for indigestion and bloating.