For me, winter is a special time of celebration, mindfulness and indulgence. By indulgence I don’t mean consuming half of a crown roast, three plates of stuffing and eight slices of cake, but a time to savor unique seasonal foods with wholehearted pleasure.
After years of restriction and body issues, winter seems like the most wonderful season to be mindful of our self-love and of what we eat. It is a perfect time to embrace ourselves as we are as we indulge in a few well-deserved treats.
When we are little, we don’t worry about our body image; we are free, we know that we are beautiful. And then something happens. Suddenly we start comparing ourselves to imaginary ideals and find ourselves falling short. Suddenly, we still love cake, but we’re always on a diet. We still love chocolate, but we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy it. We allow the messages around us to chip away at our self-image. Guilt and shame often become a part of us and the way we eat, and we avoid foods that we have no reason to avoid.
With such a delicious variety of seasonal foods available, what better time to allow ourselves to wholeheartedly enjoy the process of preparing and eating a well-made meal, slice of cake or mug of hot chocolate, free from guilt or anxiety? It is a perfect time to embrace ourselves and enjoy the foods we love. It is a perfect time to practice self-love and learn to tear down the restrictions that have had emotionally damaging effects.
The sensory pleasure a mug of hot chocolate provides and the positive emotional associations connected with it help me melt away stress. But the real benefit lies in the time taken to relax and the mindfulness created when enjoying it. By cultivating mindfulness and self-worth, we calm ourselves emotionally and allow ourselves to enjoy the richness in our lives free from feelings of guilt and shame.
Now, hot chocolate is its own item on my daily To Do list, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.