The Winter Solstice is almost upon us. The first official day of winter, this is the moment that the Northern Hemisphere is the furthest distance from the sun, creating the shortest day of the year. Each year the solstice brings a number of different feelings, emotions, challenges, and celebrations for various groups across the country.
For those who suffer from mental illness, the lack of sunshine and increased gloom from the shortest day of the year can intensify feelings of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Affecting approximately 9% of the US population, SAD can cause increased feelings of irritability, tension, depression, and melancholy during this time of the year. Throughout the winter months, those suffering can also feel incredibly drained and worn out, struggling to find the motivation and energy to face the day. With the shortest period of sunshine year-round, the Winter Solstice can be incredibly challenging. It is recommended that those that are experiencing these symptoms make self-care a priority during this time.
For others, the Winter Solstice is a time of celebration, marked by a number of unique and interesting rituals. In Austria, revelers are greeted by Krampus, the half goat, half demon counterpart to Santa Claus. Germanic folklore tells of Krampus punishing children by whipping them and snatching them from their homes, however in Austria Krampus is believed to be responsible for warding off bad spirits that come around the time of the Winter Solstice. People dressed as Krampus, in elaborate costumes, make their way through the crowds, lightly whipping people as they go.
This year the Winter Solstice brings an additional element of concern to people the world over. As the sun moves into Capricorn just a short time after Saturn also makes that shift, it will bring an energy shift that was last seen in 1664. Experts warn that this is going to bring increased stress, highlighting one’s weaknesses, leaving each of us feeling overwhelmed and calling any choices that we make into question. A time of serious consideration, responsibility, and pressure, the Winter Solstice can either set your up for success in the coming months or tear you down and bring about long-term consequences.
Prepare yourself for the coming energy shift using these 8 tips:
#1 – Sage Smudging
The burning of white ceremonial sage known as smudging has been found effective in cleaning both your aura and your space of negative energies. Experts also say that the smoke from the sage is actually capable of changing the ionic composition of the air that we breath, reducing stress. A 2,000-year-old practice, incorporating sage smudging can help you reduce the effects of the solstice energy shift.
#2 – Practice Breathing Exercises
The energy that will come during this time may leave your mind feeling scattered or overwhelmed. Experts warn that you may feel inundated with feelings of self-doubt, questioning your ability to succeed while your weaknesses are exponentially highlighted. Using breathing exercises, you can calm your mind allowing you to focus on the positives and avoid the negative consequences of long-term self doubt. One effective tool is the practice of alternate nostril breathing, responsible for expelling negative energy and relieving stress.
#3 – Take a Hot Shower
Allowing yourself to take a hot shower, soak in a hot bath or spend time in the sauna can help to ward off negative energies. The steam will work to cleanse the body, ridding it of toxins and negativity, better preparing you to accept positive energies in your life. Furthermore, using a sea salt scrub can amplify this effect. It will also work to improve circulation, encouraging optimal health.
#4 – Light a Candle
One of the big challenges that many struggle with is the loss of daylight. While you can’t change the path of the sun, you can, instead, embrace its absence by lighting a candle and partaking in a candle ritual. Light a candle for each of the loved ones who have passed to welcome their energy into the room, as their light continues to live on within you. Gather their strength to handle the challenges that this time will bring.
#5 – Focus on Your Health
Optimizing your physical health through exercise and a healthy diet can help to provide you with the necessary positive energies to face a shift like the one that is to come with the Winter Solstice. Ensure that you are paying attention to proper hydration, drinking plenty of water, avoid too much sugar, and eat a diet packed full of fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, nuts and seeds.
#6 – Locate and Charge Your Crystals
The use of crystals to attract positive energy, protect the holder and ward off negative influences has long been recognized. Each crystal carries its own unique healing properties which can be further amplified by charging them with your own energy. Some crystals that are associated with increased positive energies include rose quartz, turquoise, amethyst, jade, and tiger eye.
#7 – Essential Oils
Each essential oil carries its own unique properties, promoting mental healing, encouraging relaxation, warding off physical ailments, and boosting energy levels among other benefits. Peppermint, cedarwood, myrrh and citrus essential oils have been found to be effective in clearing negative energies, while pine, rose, geranium and neroli help to increase the positive energies in a given space.
#8 – Practice Meditation
You can actively clear negative energy from your body and increase the positive vibrations, attracting positive energy, through the use of meditation. It is said that the vibrations you send out into the world are responsible for the energy that you attract. While sending increased positive vibrations can’t ward off the power of the coming energy shift, you can arm yourself with increased positive energy, empowering yourself to better handle the potential challenges you may face.