The summer has officially ended in the Northern Hemisphere and we’re visibly moving towards the darker and colder months of the year. For some, even the thought of winter might carry feelings of despair (we hope it’s not that bad though!). For others, this transition might bring a sense of relief – the permission to spend more time cozying up under the duvets with a nice cuppa, catching up with all the movies and books that were left on the shelves during the summer months.
As almost everyone from Ari’s team has grown up in the Northern climates, we are rather used to the extended times of darkness. And we can promise you, the period between autumn and spring equinoxes is not really that scary, especially when you know how to stay healthy and take care of yourself. We might even go as far as to suggest that you might start enjoying this time of the year! Let us know after you’ve tried out the below..
1. Know your internal alphabet
Once October has arrived, the sun seems to start preparing for a winter break. This means, it’s time to bring out your boosters: make sure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals at the time when fresh foods and sunshine is less available. C & D are our best friends for winter immunity, together with Z for Zinc for example. It’s a good idea to check the level of nutrients in your blood from time to time – you might be surprised how much more energy you can have just by knowing the right things to supplement it with.
2. Move your body
As the gyms and spas have been opening and closing for the past year and a half, we’ve been doing quite a bit of research on online options: virtual movement classes which everyone can do from home. Many of these are on demand, so you can create your own schedule to fit your life. Or you can enjoy some community spirit with the live classes. Put them in your diary in advance, so they don’t get overwritten by a random Zoom meeting.
We love the feminine way of exercising with the GraceFit community (only in Estonian).
For our international friends, some of our favourites are Erika Bloom Method Membership, Movement for Modern Life and the infamous Class Digital Studio from New York that shakes everything up if things get stagnant.
3. Venture out (from behind your screen)
There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing – it’s a good reminder for the winter months. And we keep repeating it again and again, since looking out of the window reminds us that sometimes the weather does indeed look a bit… uninviting.
However, it is proven that being out in nature as often as possible is one of the best ways to stay happy and healthy, both physically and mentally.
Something quite unusual perhaps, however loved by Estonians, are bog walks. Bogs are the oldest organic landscapes in Estonia, sometimes reaching up to 10 000 years of age. These vast areas feel very much like mysterious wetlands and as such were often feared in the past due to old folk stories. Nowadays you can find wooden pathways built through many of them that bring quite a few people to explore these magical places and helps you to a) not get lost b) stay dry c) enjoy your time in the wilderness.
You can use the “Loodusega Koos” app to find great places to go for a walk in Estonia.
4. Ritual Baths
Long warm baths are something we all love throughout winter. You can charge the water with extra goodies such as herbs, salts, coconut milk, essential oils and even crystals.
We love the beautiful book by Mama Medicine from New York – she suggests recipes and routines for creativity, abundance and anything else you’d wish more of in your life. Even if you don’t have a bath, you can still enjoy a foot soak or even take your crystals and essential oils into a shower-session.
- 1 cup Epsom salt
- 3 oranges, sliced into rounds
- Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- A pot of chai tea
- One 8-ounce can coconut milk
- 10 drops each of vanilla and sweet orange essential oils
- Citrine, moonstone, and carnelian crystals, or, ideally, vanilla bean orchids and a sapphire crystal
Tea pairing: Chai tea with basil
5. Get plenty of sleep
During the winter months our bodies act quite differently than during the heat of the summer. And we can easily learn from nature around us. As nature is asleep and resting and the bears are hibernating in their caves, we are encouraged to take the foot off the gas for a while. If allowing yourself to sleep without an alarm clock is not an option, perhaps get into a habit of going to bed earlier. More time for cuddling under the duvet (even if it’s with your pillow) makes everyone calmer and happier. Instead of ending your dinner with double-espresso, switch to calming beverages, perhaps with herbs such as chamomile, mugwort or lavender, in the evening, and wind down with some gentle movement or meditation.
6. Block the blues
Some of us do need to work post-sunset, especially as sunset sort of happens in the middle of the day come December. There is help available though: Sleep + glasses by Blublox feature a blue light blocking lens, eliminating 100% of blue and green light that has been shown in clinical trials to disrupt melatonin and negatively impact our sleep. By blocking out the blue light (from your screens) 2-3 hours before bedtime, you can count on improved sleep and focus.
7. Spend time with loved ones
With the restrictions still ongoing worldwide, spending time with friends and family becomes extra special. And extra important for our physical and mental health. Human beings are social animals and need love, connection and touch. This becomes especially important during winter when our social interactions are often minimised due to lack of energy. Try to make space for the loved ones in your life, especially the ones who appreciate and adore you unconditionally.
8. Use winter wisely
We believe that one of the reasons there are so many successful start-ups and creatives in Estonia, and the Nordic countries in general, is exactly due to the long dark nights. These magical moments of silence plant and nurture the creative seeds that can change the world.
Winter might feel as “less productive” in the outward way, but it’s definitely a “productive” period for gaining clarity, re-defining your purpose and building the foundation for the new projects to sprout.
9. Read & Research
Get nerdy. No-one will see you (nor judge you) while you spend your evenings at home with woolly socks drinking tea and educating yourself in the matters that, well, truly matter. While we’re not called out to play like in the summer, why not explore an old interest or dive straight into unexplored terrain: there are more online workshops, courses and immersions than ever, so plenty to choose from. And most universities have switched into fully-virtual operation, so if you’re ready to take the plunge, you might just celebrate your newly awarded degree come 2023.
10. Start planning for Christmas early
Hands up who likes shopping in a sweaty holiday-frenzy? Anyone? Not us. Some planning and preparing makes all the difference though. Ideas can emerge in the funniest of places: when the a-ha moment arrives with the most thoughtful gift for your favourite aunt, do write it down, or even better – get it right away. So your stash is ready to roll into Santa’s sledge come December – with no stress whatsoever. We just wish someone would remind us that every year, right?