Downshifting to Winter

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Almost as soon as Labor Day rolled past, the Lake Michigan winds started to blow. The temperature has dropped slowly but steadily since then. Sunday, we’ve got highs in the 30s, and there’s a chance of snow in the forecast tomorrow. Thanksgiving is next week, and that is what I’ve always considered the marker of winter here in Southwest Michigan. Tonight Saint Joe has their Luminary Festival, and, of course it is spitting rain outside. I’ll probably head over there a little later if the rain hasn’t doused the event.

My coats are hanging on my porch for ready access, and I’m starting to bundle up for my walks with Ashok. This year I’m running, so I’m starting to remember how many layers I need when it is 50, 40 or 30 degrees outside. I haven’t seen the 20s yet, but it’s coming. And snow is just on the horizon. I’m trying to decide if I’m going to run in snow and ice or take to the dreadmill in the gym. I hate that damn treadmill. But, it’s better than busting my arse.

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My energy changes in the winter, and my mood begins to drop. I find myself changing my self-care regimen a bit. I still need to exercise, but I find myself wanting to come home and curl up on the sofa with a couple of fur babies and a cup of hot tea. I still do my fit camp circuits, but I’m trying to add more yoga to the mix. I signed up for a yoga workshop Saturday, and I attended a friend’s yoga class last night. My body feels like it needs to stretch and breathe more in the winter. And I try to listen.

I’ve made the switch from coffee to tea. I drink lots of chai, and this year I started making my own homemade almond milk. It tastes lighter and sweeter than cow’s milk, and it perfectly compliments my chai. Lately I’ve been drinking gallons of green and black chai and a herbal turmeric chai. Turmeric seems to help my achy knees and joints and the ginger in this one is very warming. I’m having steel cut oats for breakfast instead of summer’s granola and yogurt, and I’m preferring cooked apples and pears to chilled fruit.

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I’m enjoying the warmth of being in the presence of people. I like the yoga class instead of practicing at home. The comfort of sitting in a coffeehouse is more attractive than being at home. And I’m craving the holiday lights in busy Chicago. I hope to make it over there next week.

I feel more reflective in general. I have the urge to blog and have long conversations with friends. My friend Ann and I have spent a good deal of time together the last few weeks, reflecting on our lives and our friendship. We’ve eaten soups and pasta and warm toasty bread. We’ve both shed tears. I sleep more and better this time of year, and there are mornings when I don’t want to get out of bed. I never really sleep late, but I certainly do enjoy cuddling under a warm wool blanket when it’s cold.

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When I was in the Upper Peninsula this summer, I saw lots of sauna dealers. It occurred to me that people up here probably like saunas more than we do down south. I remembered that the women at the spa were always asking me if I wanted to sit in the sauna for awhile before I got my facial, and I didn’t understand the draw to that. After spending 3 years in Louisiana, the last thing I wanted was to be hot. But I realize that the warmth will probably be good for my skin, my joints and my mood. So, I’m going to take advantage of that this winter.

I plan to talk long walks in the snow among the twinkling holiday lights with the roar of Lake Michigan waves in the background. Ashok loves rolling in the snow, and we’ll head out to the woods where it will be still and quiet. The deer in the neighborhood will start grazing in my yard again, and I’ll watch them from my yoga room upstairs. I hope the Collective has a toasty meditation or gong bath at the winter solstice where I can curl up and rest among friends. Winter sets its own pace in Michigan. Let the downshifting begin.

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2 thoughts on “Downshifting to Winter

  1. This is beautiful! I love hearing about “real” winter. Stay warm! I recommend the Art of Tea brand tea. I saw that they have a winter chai. I haven’t had it, but I do have their Summer Peach and their Coconut Creme, and they are both fantastic! Take care of you.

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