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Being Mindful Of When To Implement Habit Change

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

Early January / deep winter is not the best time to introduce serious behaviour change. This time is more suited to deep rest and reflection, and perhaps a time for big vision thinking, but not action.

Mid-winter is the perfect time to be gentle with ourselves and, even when the whole world seems to be straight off the mark come January 1st, a time to listen to what feels right for us.

You may find that mid-late February is a better time to start instigating change, because you will find that action is more achievable when the energy shifts around the Spring Equinox in March.

Traditional Wisdom And Seasonal Rituals To Live By

There is a common thread weaving the global traditions shown to be consistent with true lasting health and happiness.

Consider how you could benefit from listening to and following the wisdom of our ancestors this winter:

Hygge ("hoo-gah") – A Danish tradition defined as a quality of cosiness and comfort that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Hygge is about taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about - or even by yourself - to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures; about feeling safe, secure, and present.

Tips on how to invite more hygge into your life this winter:

  1. Cultivate a cosy atmosphere; use fairy lights and candles to create low lighting (this supports your circadian rhythm) and snuggle up on the sofa with a thick blanket (helping to de-stress).

  2. Swap the gym for nature; spending time outdoors can be exhilarating and rejuvenating in the winter, and it's what makes indoors feel so cosy and inviting in contrast to the cold outdoors. Even a simple walk outside may help to boost your mood and regulate your circadian rhythm.

  3. Savour the simple things; A freshly made bed, a wholesome roast dinner, a crackling fire on a cold day - hygge is all about taking the time appreciate life's simple pleasures. Practicing gratitude and finding meaning in the small things has been found to enhance your sense of well-being.

Lagom ("law-gom") – a Swedish phrase, translating roughly to mean ‘not too much, not too little’, focuses on seeking balance in everyday life. Lagom is defined by a lifestyle based on social awareness, moderation and sustainability. To have balance means you have time to do what makes you feel fulfilled, including spending time with family and friends, working, volunteering, exercising, relaxing, and participating in hobbies.

The balance that lagom promotes helps to benefit your health and wellbeing. That's because balance is a key part of wellness. Wellness is the feeling that different aspects of your life - such as the emotional, physical, spiritual, work, or social aspects - are in balance, with no one thing sapping time and energy from the others.

Tips on how to create more lagom in your life mid-winter:

  1. Take a break; In Sweden, this traditional daily ritual is called fika. It's a time during the day when you have a cup of tea and a break with colleagues or friends. Research shows that taking breaks from work can improve your mental and physical well-being.

  2. Practice Fredagsmys; pronounced "frey-dags-mees" and translating as 'Friday cosiness', this tradition is all about getting together with your family, eating snacks and relaxing. Simple!

  3. Reclaim your own time; Swedes like to keep their home life and work life separate – next time you are tempted to stay late at work or check your emails over the weekend, remind yourself of what values are important to you.

Coorie ("cou-rie") – a philosophy originating from Scotland that in a literal sense means to ‘snuggle and nestle’, and in a wider sense means engaging in small, quiet, slow activities by connecting with our surroundings to feel happy.

This means embracing the bracing, being outdoors, swimming, walking, surrounding ourselves with nature, but also resting and recuperating deeply and fully. Keeping life simple and not worrying about the small stuff.

Like all of these traditions, coorie isn’t about spending money, it’s about getting the most out of life by drawing energy from nature and people.

Tips on how to embrace coorie this winter:

  1. Cook up a hearty soup - when it comes to coorie food, the heartier the meal, the better! What better way to embrace this than with homemade soup? Try this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe (substitute the pasta for gluten-free noodles)

  2. Take a daring dip - A wild swim can improve your energy and immune function. There are plenty of locations around the UK (and the world) to choose from, just remember to stay in groups and have a towel readily accessible. Not close to water? Try a cold shower to receive many of the same health benefits!

  3. Have a dance - Coorie isn’t just about exploring the outdoors or curling up in front of a fire, it is also about embracing friends and family and finding moments to live in the present. One way to enjoy this is to play your favourite music and dance around the living room together!

Final Words

True lasting health and happiness comes from a life that embraces the simple things, is lived in connection with nature and with close connections to the world and life around you.

And this is what we do in Nutritional Therapy - NT is a lifestyle medicine approach to gaining back optimal health. Achieving wellness is not simply about what's on your plate, but how you spend your days.

Next Steps

Hi I'm Molly, I'm a UK-based Nutritional Therapist (DipION, mBANT, CNHC) and Self-Compassion Coach (MSc) serving my community in Harpenden and online. Here in my little online home, you'll discover the benefits of nutritional therapy and complementary therapies for autoimmune disease and chronic illness.

Want to understand more about nutrition for autoimmune diseases? Download my free recipe book and discover 12 Nutritionist-Certified Recipes to Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Autoimmunity & Chronic Illness.

If you’re ready to take the next step and get back to feeling amazing again, please book a FREE 1:1 call, in which I’d love to talk to you about your own individual diet, share with you some personalised advice, and answer any questions you might have.


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