Winter can be a challenging time for us to keep healthy and well. Not just physically but mentally as well. We can often feel like just staying indoors, eating a little bit more, not exercise and for some people even socializing with friends and family takes a back seat. There have been many studies done on our how winter and less sunlight can affect our moods and energy levels. But rather than give yourself a hard time about your lack of energy, why not just try a different approach. In the bygone days of working outdoors and being more focused on surviving rather than existing, we would have bunkered down after working hard in the fields in finer weather gathering our food and produce for the long winter months ahead. This is where the saying, ‘make hay while the sun shines’ originates. Nowadays, we attribute this saying to making money and wealth! How time changes are perspective!
Yet this is the time to ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’ - internally. I find winter one of the best times to dive a little deeper into my personal meditation practice. Meditation is not hard to learn but it does require practice and dedication. Over the past 7 years, I have taught hundreds of people how to meditate and find it one of the most rewarding parts of my business. Beginner meditation courses are a great way for you to start, where you are introduced to easy to learn, practical methods of meditation for your home practice. Meditation is now being widely accepted as an integral part of health and wellbeing amongst healthcare professionals and meditation rooms are now found in most hospitals in Australia. It is also being used in schools around Australia to support students. Recently, a ground breaking research study funded by the Victorian Government has found that mindfulness meditation can lead to improved quality of sleep, less anxiety and better exam results for students. The results showed the positive impact was wide-ranging, with students reporting significant reductions in bullying incidents and disruptive behavior in the classroom as well as improvements in sleep quality, concentration, behavior and engagement. At risk students benefited the most; students who experienced higher levels of emotional distress before participating in the program showed the biggest improvements. In their own words, students said the exercises made them “feel confident”, “I helped me get relaxed”, “I felt more energized” and “it was nice to slow down for a little bit”.
Meditation is an effective way to reduce the winter blues, reduce stress and anxiety and once you have a self-practice, it’s free. Give it a go; you may surprise yourself how easy it is to learn.
Lee Clements is a Yoga and Meditation Teacher in Newcastle NSW. She is co-owner of Sensom Health and Wellbeing which is located in Lambton, NSW. Lee is a also a Remedial massage therapist, Aromatherapist, Reflexologist and producer of Meditation for Beginners - a guided meditation CD.