This year, Friday, December 21st marks the Winter Solstice, which marks the first official day of winter and the shortest day/longest night of the year. On this day, the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. To us, the sun will appear at its lowest point in the sky to mark the beginning of a new season: winter. Across the globe, many cultures view this day as a symbol of rebirth, since after this day, we will be observing more sunlight and less darkness. In honor of the Winter Solstice, here are five ways you can embrace the darkest day of the year.
The winter season usually brings with it colder temperatures and bone-chilling winds, so take the time to wear layers and bundle up. Slip on a pair of fuzzy socks or super soft slippers, wrap up in a big blanket scarf, and curl up next to the roaring fire. Cold weather can also weaken your immune system, so take a break from the holiday hot cocoas and enjoy a warm mug of soothing herbal tea. Elderflower, ginger, and rooibos are great when you are feeling under the weather while chamomile, lavender, and peppermint can create calming effects if you are feeling frazzled.
The Winter Solstice falls at the perfect time as it is in the middle of the busy holiday season. Take this day (or multiple days) to slow down and retreat indoors for some rest and relaxation. Just like animals retreat during the colder winter months to hibernate, we also need time to restore and recharge. Give yourself a break from your busy holiday schedule to unwind, even if it is just for one day. Your body and your mind will thank you. Plus, you may even have more energy for the end-of-year holiday celebrations.
As colder temperatures cause many of us to retreat indoors, we are exposed to more forced-air heating, which means our skin can easily become dry, itchy, and irritated from the lack of humidity in the air. Set aside some time for some self care to get your skin ready for the winter months ahead. Host an at-home spa day for yourself or invite friends over for a cozy night in. Get creative and make your own spa products with a DIY spa bundle or try these three pampering beauty rituals, perfect for the winter season.
The winter months and holidays can derail your daily health and wellness practices including your weekly workouts. Commit to a restorative indoor activity like light stretching and gentle yoga or find an indoor workout that will help motivate you to get in your weekly sweat session. Whether it’s an indoor bootcamp class, a spin class or a total body workout, find something that resonates with you.
During the darkest day of the year, take some time to get grounded and center yourself by looking inward. Practice daily meditation, reflect, and write down goals for the New Year ahead. The winter season naturally brings us to a place of completion and acceptance while simultaneously reminding us that new opportunities are just on the horizon. Think about it. If you set an intention on the Winter Solstice, every day after that we will experience extended daylight, which in a sense is symbolic of you moving closer to your goals. How cool is that?
This year, don’t dread the darkness of the Winter Solstice. Instead, use these five ways to embrace the darkest day of the year as we look to a new season (and year) ahead.