5 ways to re-wild in winter
How to enjoy and connect with nature during winter
As the darkest days of the year are upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, sometimes it is easy to feel disconnected from the wilds as we spend more time indoors and less time moving our bodies. Should we fight this desire, or flow with the season?
The answer is always balance, with a blend of instinctual individual needs. What does your soul yearn for when the sun hangs low in the sky? Here are some rituals to stay connected to the elements through winter.
Wild swimming in winter
If you are fortunate enough to live near a body of water, be it ocean, river or lake, submerging yourself into the watery depths during the darkness of winter is an experience to at least try once. It is incredible what our primal, animal bodies are capable of withstanding, and without taking the plunge you may never realise just how wild our vessels still remain.
Go with a friend, ease in slowly and let the frosty waters challenge every fibre of your being. Your body will take over your mind. A deep breath out and you will feel reconnected to the elements and invigorated from head to toe. If you feel the urge to brave the winter waters, delve into investigation first. It can be a dangerous experience, so make sure you are prepared for what lies ahead.
Human hibernation and wintering
Winter is a time for grounding and rest, so to truly move in motion with the season do as little as possible. Sleep long into the cold mornings, curl up with the books you have been meaning to read and eat nourishing seasonal root vegetable soups and stews. The New Year may start in January, but spring does not bloom until March. This is when our bodies truly stir for renewal, so do not feel disheartened if your body is longing for rest during the winter months. You are in tune with the wilds. The sun is low in the atmosphere, as is our energy. These quieter moments are a perfect time to wear your talisman close, your skin warming through the metal as a tactical reminder that you are not separate from nature. Have you discovered your perfect amulet for winter?
Mindful walks in winter
If you can find the motivation to emerge from the comforts of warm bedding and woollen socks, then wrap yourself in yet more layers and venture outside. The hours of sunlight are fleeting, even more so amongst the rain and snow. To feel but a faint warmth of the sun on our face during winter is sacred. Not only does it heal us physically, but it reminds us of brighter times ahead. Winter is not forever, and the light will return. A daily walk will also give you a moment to notice the rhythms of the wilds with each day that passes. You may hear the winter migrating Redwing, smell woodsmoke on the winds and spot the first signs of spring later in the season. Take each moment in, and know you too are a part of it all.
Naturally boost your immune system during winter
As well as getting as much sunlight as we can during the darker months, there are many other ways to boost our immune systems. Eat seasonally and locally where possible, as the foods naturally available at the time of year often contain many of the nutritional needs of our bodies for the same season. Nourish yourself with root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, feast on winter greens, cabbages and kale. Mushrooms are also available to forage this time of year and have many potent qualities depending on the species. If you gathered any elderberries in the autumn, now is the ideal time to boost yourself with their powerful vitamin C and antioxidant content in the form of elderberry syrup. Fire Cider is another mighty libation for winter, a potion packed with spice and herbs that will revitalise you even in the coldest of temperatures.
Light fires during winter
The sun is our sacred life force but it glides sombre and shadowed during winter. Invite the flames into your home with candles and wood-burning bonfires. The heat and light will not only make your space cosy but will burn as a reminder that our inner light, though resting, has not faded. Bonfires and the hearth have always represented the hearts of our home, and gathering around one with family and friends is the perfect way to spend a cold dark winter. Tell tales of old and pass hot food around with grateful joy and cherish every moment together. Not everyone survives the winter, and each spring reached is another passing of time. Do not waste a moment.