Tips for Winter Wellness

By |Published On: February 13, 2024|

Exciting news! This peek behind the scenes of State College life is a guest post by local writer Carolyne Meehan. We hope you enjoy it!

A cold plunge in Spring Creek

Winter is historically a hard season for me. My energy levels plummet. I get sad and moody. Seasonal depression comes to visit. A few winters ago I wanted to get ahead of the winter blues and set myself up with some support to get through the dark months. I booked a series of acupuncture sessions with Matt Beigle through November and February of that year.

In the first session Matt asked a lot of questions and did some really deep listening about how I had been feeling and how I wanted to feel. We then set our goals for the treatments: balance, restoration, calm, vibrancy, energy – are just a few of the words I remember bringing into this conversation. (I also remember having a good, messy cry and feeling safe to do so.)

The hours that winter I spent lying still with tiny needles placed in deliberate points around my body, moving energy through my meridians, were deeply healing. (I take a break from my writing here to email Matt to set up some appointments. I think it’s time for this kind of care again.) My moods felt even and I was able to keep the fire of my chi burning, even through all the water energy of winter. Working with Matt also gave me a new language for thinking about energy and how to work with mine.

I am always telling my students and friends that we all need more help, support and care than we allow ourselves to receive. It is a full time job to take care of our bodies, minds and hearts. Working with a professional (beyond your primary care provider) can boost your “feeling good” game exponentially. State College is stacked with gifted bodyworkers, energy medicine practitioners, holistic healers, guides, therapists, coaches, yogis, artists, teachers and people in the business of helping humans feel whole and well.

In more recent years, I have discovered that having a consistent relationship with a wellness professional helps me to stay accountable and invested in taking care of myself. Having a regular appointment on the calendar forces me to check-in with someone about how I am really doing. The ultimate form of self-care, to me, is allowing yourself to be taken care of by another.

Post cold plunge

For my own winter wellness plan, I like to have things I do daily, weekly and monthly. Early morning walks with my dog, journaling and my herbal tea ritual are daily practices. Once a week I like to cold plunge in Spring Creek and do a yoga class (aiming for 2x a week on this one). Listening to music and playing music also contribute to my wellness.

For the last two years I’ve been taking a short walk around the corner from my house to Kate Avillion’s light filled home studio for deep tissue and neuromuscular therapy. Kate helps bring awareness to how my body is moving and her fingers find all the places I am holding tightness in my tissues. I always leave her studio feeling lighter and able to move with more ease.

Kate and Matt are just a few of the experts I am grateful to have on my “care team.” As I move into different seasons of my life, I am sure I will be connecting with other health and wellness professionals in this community who can support me through challenges as I am sure they will arise.

I am always watching the calendar of events at the new Boalsburg Yoga & Wellness Studio for healing centered workshops. As a breathwork meditation practitioner, I guide a breath meditation circle in this space once a month. Breathwork has been a game changer for my own wellness and I am grateful to get to share the practice in my community.

Breath work meditation circle setup at Boalsburg Yoga & Wellness Studio

Three Tips for Creating Your Own Wellness Plan in State College

1. Take an inventory of where you might need support in your life.
It can help to ask, “What needs do I have that aren’t being met?” When my kids were younger, support for me looked like getting child care so I could go for a hike or a yoga class or go to hear live music. I have a deep need for stillness and quiet. Going to nature, meditation and acupuncture help me fulfill that need.

2. Find community.
Get in tune with what makes you feel good and then find a class or a group where you can regularly do a thing that makes you feel _____ (strong, calm, creative, alive, connected, soothed – fill in the blank for how you want to feel.) Having a community helps you stay accountable and can make the activity more fun. Centre Region Parks and Rec, yoga studios, the Art Alliance, The Makery, The Rivet and the YMCA can be good places to start.

3. Ask around.
Word of mouth and referrals are how I have discovered most of the wellness people I have worked with. When you start getting plugged into the community, ask around for recommendations. And check out Rediscover State College’s Concierge Service.

Carolyne Meehan writes poetry, hosts writing groups and shares more about her adventures in food, family, writing and life on Instagram @carolyne.rose.m. Connect with her there.

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