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  • Writer's pictureNadja Eriksson

Overcoming SAD: 33 ways to not just survive but thrive this fall and winter

Oh, sweet summer, I miss you already...

This summer, a long-held dream has finally come to fruition: at the end of May, Daniel and I left Berlin and moved up to the North of Sweden. (Best birthday gift ever!)

Now, we’re renting a red house in the middle of the woods. (Right next to a quiet lake, in which I skinny-dipped throughout this hot season.)

Nearly every weekend, we had friends staying in our cute little guest cottage.

We hiked for hours in the woods, savored delicious BBQs from locally raised beef, and tasted authentic Taittinger champagne in Järvsö (other such signature bars exist only in London, Paris, and New York!). It was everything I ever wanted.

The spirit of summer is pure fullness and celebration, and I reveled in its freedom and abundance.

But then, autumn arrived.

Even though I love autumn with its misty mornings, hot drinks of spiced milk with honey, and red and yellow treetops covering the hills, this time, I was not as pleased by its too-early arrival.

So on the autumn solstice, I decided to do a ritual. I noted down everything I was grateful for from summer. Then I burned the list in the white-tiled stove fireplace that heats my upstairs office.

Once finished, I set an intention to not only survive but thrive during the coming cold Swedish winter.

I researched what Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, has to say about the subject, brainstormed some ideas of my own, and created this list with 33 things that could help us make the most of the colder seasons.

I thought to share it with you. Maybe it helps.

Intention: Balancing Kapha, Staying Healthy, and Happy

  1. Avoid sweet, oily, and salty foods, they make you sluggish.

  2. Fast dinner; ideally, eat only when it’s light outside.

  3. Sip on hot water and tea from a thermos all day; ingest nothing cold.

  4. Retreat to bed by 8 pm to read and pray, get plenty of sleep but rise before 7 am.

  5. Exercise outside first thing in the morning, and take a walk in the mid-day sun.

  6. Keep your neck and head warm, wear layers of natural materials, such as wool and silk.

  7. Listen to new music playlists and dance for a few minutes every day.

  8. Spend your mornings in silence and quiet contemplation.

  9. Eat lots of spices (cardamom, cloves, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon).

  10. Nourish yourself with dry-brushing and self-massage with sesame oil.

  11. Splurge on a monthly pedicure, paint your nails bright red.

  12. Surround yourself with warm colors, wear hues that nourish you.

  13. Try aromatherapy, indulge your senses.

  14. Cook warm, mushy foods; think one-pot meals, soups, and stews.

  15. Wear cozy, beautiful clothes; try new hairstyles.

  16. Supplement with vitamin D, C, and Selenium.

  17. Practice Yin Yoga by the open fire.

  18. Enjoy an occasional bed-in day; nap, read, and reflect.

  19. Use a daylight-therapy lamp while working on my desk.

  20. Experiment with new recipes in the kitchen.

  21. Read stories and poetry.

  22. Write a gratitude list every night before bed.

  23. Sweat; take a weekly sauna ritual coupled with a cold bath in the lake.

  24. Observe your dreams, ask for guidance from the dream time.

  25. Visualize your future, focus on what you want to create next year.

  26. Light lots of candles, make it cozy, snuggle up with a warm blanket.

  27. Embody your sexuality, practice hip-circles with a yoni egg.

  28. Invite your over girlfriends for massages and hot chocolate by the fireplace.

  29. Stay active, get outside, and try new winter sports.

  30. Listen to your womb wisdom, connect deeply with your Big She.

  31. Celebrate the holidays; invite friends and family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years'.

  32. Take time to gaze at the sky, or look out the windows and do nothing.

  33. Bring in more laughter; watch a silly movie or cute animal clips on YouTube.

I hope this is helpful. May your winter be juicy and delicious.

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