While winter doesn’t technically start until Thursday, here in the NEK it’s felt like winter for a while. We’re no strangers to the unique challenges of living in colder climates and for some, it can be a barrier to maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Yet, by just observing winter’s wisdom, we can enhance our physical and mental well-being during this season! By drawing inspiration from the natural beauty around us and soaking in the strategies of the creatures who live here too, we can just as efficiently adapt to staying active, well-nourished, and mentally resilient. Perhaps we just need to embrace that we are seasonal beings too, and that there’s a natural wellness of winter’s wisdom.

Like the leaves of the maple tree that let go each fall, we can embrace the wisdom of letting go too. Winter is an ideal time for reflection in our lives. Maybe this means simplifying schedules, working through, and letting go of thoughts or emotions that aren’t serving us, or creating space for new growth (new leaves if you will). Embracing this natural cycle of release can contribute to mental clarity and emotional well-being. Trees lose their leaves in winter as a survival strategy to conserve energy, what can we let go of as a strategy to conserve energy too?

Unlike animals, humans don’t and shouldn’t hibernate. Isolating or hiding in the dark for extended periods is not good for us, and that’s a good thing! Being out and around others is essential to our survival. What we learn from the wisdom of hibernation, is prioritizing rest. In winter we can be called like the animals to finally let our bodies get the natural rest they need, instead of resisting it. If stress is stealing it, incorporating meditation, gentle yoga, or journaling to help reduce what makes you want to “hibernate,” and/or steal your rest, can help. The only “hibernation,” we may need is from other distractions that steal our internal wisdom towards healthy rest.

Seasonal foods are nature’s wisdom that there is always something wonderful, delicious, and if we’re honest, on sale at the grocery store, to support our nutrition wellness needs. We can lean on winter’s wisdom by consuming what’s “in season,” to nourish our bodies and support our health. Seasonal foods such as root vegetables and winter squashes (carrots, butternut, acorn squash, beets, and turnips), citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruits), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and Brussels sprouts), and hearty greens (kale and collard greens) are all filling the shelves with opportunities to fill us with tons of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants to support our health. From carrot and acorn squash soup, mashed turnip, fruit salad, kale and orange

smoothies, baked squashes, air-fried Brussels Sprouts, and beet salads, there are countless ways to keep our bodies nourished, warm and energized.

Staying active is essential for maintaining all realms of our health, not just our physical health. While it may be tempting to wait for spring, don’t. Your well-being shouldn’t wait a whole season, especially when our winters far exceed the typical calendar. Engaging in skiing, snowshoeing, or simply walking with exposure to natural light and fresh air to support a healthier mood and overall well-being! The days start getting longer on the 21st, take that as winter’s wisdom to get outside and move more each day for your wellness.

Humans are seasonal beings too, and therefore, we can also appreciate and value the resilience we Vermonters see in our seasons. We know that after our trees and fields are buried in the snow, they aren’t gone or dead! They will adapt with some care, sunshine, and fresh water in the Spring. Plants and animals make it through these harsh conditions, so can we! We can do that by embracing each season’s natural wisdom, this is how we will become resilient, and more robust in the seasons ahead. This winter we can embrace the release, rest, nourishment, activity, and resilience because we can rely on the natural wellness of winter’s wisdom.


Mary Hoadley

Director Of The Wellness Center