By: Lisa Manning, CST, CHt

So much of our daily experience, on this lovely planet of ours, is driven by what our senses perceive both on conscious and subconscious levels.

Winter is just one month away. As the days get shorter and the amount of natural light decreases, many of us will feel a corresponding drop of energy, with perhaps even an emotional slump.

Using Mindfulness to Combat the Winter Blues

You can use your understanding of the importance of sensory intake to hold onto the stores of summer’s fire and warmth, while also embracing the oncoming season of quiet and introspection.

Imagine a bright, cheerful room, a table beautifully set with fresh flowers and your favorite foods laid out for a leisurely lunch. Take a moment and let your imagination see the colors, feel the light and smell the tempting aromas. For some, it may be hard to actually visualize it but even the idea of this mental image should sound appealing!

In your mind, the scene could change to a beautiful sunset with the sights and sounds of nature gently fading into night mode. These, and many other sensory experiences, invoke a response whether you’re aware of it or not.

Scents, colors, sounds, and the influence of other people, directly impacts your mood, appetite, energy and thought processes. Beautiful, unexpected moments can take your breath away and equally stressful scenarios can stop any of us in our tracks.

This is just a snapshot of the sensory/perception/interpretation process. A basic understanding of it will help you adjust your seasonal self-care routines.

Here are some ways to draw more ‘light’ into the darker days of late autumn and winter:

1. Who said we need to wear black? Every color has its own vibration and unique impact on your body and emotions. I personally love the energetic neutrality of black, but playing with the color palate of your wardrobe can open up new avenues of inspiration and emotional expression.

2. Meditation (#thenewtravelagent). The subconscious doesn’t discriminate much between what is real and what is imagined. Anxiety, or imagined fears, have as much of an impact on you as an actual tiger chasing you down. Use this power for the light side of the force.

Close your eyes and envision a light-filled scenario full of peace and grace. You should include any and all of the details that your perfect vision needs. Your subconscious will send a message to your brain that, “Oh yeah, all is well and please shift my nervous system back to ‘rest and recover,’ thanks.”

3. Tend and befriend “the power of the tribe.” As the shorter days and colder temperatures drive all of us inward, it’s good to remember you are not alone. Candlelit dinners and planning quality friend-time can fill your need for human connection. A simple heartfelt hug stimulates an oxytocin release that can fill you with a sense of love and belonging.

Be well, let us know if we can help, and may you nurture the force of inner lightness within you!

Lisa is a Craniosacral and Myofascial Release Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety. Lisa is trained in Ionic Foot Detox.