This Winter Solstice Cleansing Ritual Will Help Clear Your Mind Before The New Year

Ad failed to load

Up until a few days ago, I had no idea that the winter solstice was such a sacred, ceremonial, and anciently revered day. TBH, I've spent my life thinking that it's simply an aggressively cold day that's dark AF and makes me want to go to bed at 3:30 p.m. when the sun sets — but not this year, my friends. This year, on Dec. 21, I will personally be participating in a winter solstice cleansing ritual to clear my mind and balance my energy in preparation for the new year.

People around the world celebrate the winter solstice in so many ways, including watching the sunrise atop vast monuments and temples, gathering to honor and respect the shortest day of the year, and symbolically celebrating the significant shift in nature.

All of these traditions are totally unique to the respective cultures that practice them, but every celebration does have something in common. When you get right down to it, everyone is essentially seeking to center themselves and cleanse their spirits, rid themselves of old energy, and make room for new, good fortune that approaches with the rising winter sun.

Ad failed to load

You, too, can participate and usher in the winter solstice by partaking in a simple, yet effective solstice ritual. Follow these nine steps during this year's winter solstice to reset, refresh, and renew in preparation for 2018.

Ad failed to load

1Light A Candle To Illuminate The Darkness


Start your ritual in a dim or darkened room (it'll be easy on the day of the year with the least amount of sunlight!), and light a candle to softly illuminate your space and focus your energy.

Make sure that your electronics are shut off or in a different room so that they don't distract you during your winter solstice reset.

2Begin With Some Basic Breathing Exercises


Controlled, intentional breathing, otherwise known as pranayama exercises, ignite your inner life force and purify your bodily vessel.

Practice alternate nostril breathing, or nadi shodhana, to release toxins, expel negative energy, and rejuvenate your entire nervous system. Simply partaking in about five minutes of this breathing exercise will provide incredible stress-relieving effects to your body, both internally and externally.

3Gather And Charge Your Crystals Before Meditation


There are so many different crystals you can choose from, depending on the healing properties you'd like to include within your solstice ritual. Each healing crystal has the ability to hold, amplify, and transmit energy, making them ideal vessels to rid yourself of negativity and stagnation.

Charge or program your crystals by holding them in your hand, close to your heart, and thinking about exactly what you'd like them to do for you.

Try reciting a mantra that means something to you, or say aloud the direction you'd like your gemstones to take, and be very clear about your intentions overall.

Ad failed to load

4Meditate With Your Crystals Close To You


Sit in a comfortable seat with your crystals surrounding you, or lay on your back with the gemstones positioned on certain areas of your body (such as your third eye or heart space).

Whether you're doing a seated or reclined meditation, close your eyes and observe each of your thoughts without judgment as they float by in your mind. Meditate for at least five minutes, but feel free to extend the practice as long as you'd like.

5Cleanse Your Space With Sage And/Or Palo Santo


When you've finished your meditation, begin cleansing your space of any negative energy that has cluttered it throughout 2017.

For this process, you can either light a stick of sage or palo santo. These are two ancient plant medicines that offer unique cleansing properties and are beneficial when you'd like to smudge your space and cultivate positivity.

If you opt to light a bundle of sage, you'll be accentuating your inner clarity and wisdom while simultaneously destroying any negative energy that surrounds you. On the other hand, lighting a stick of palo santo will ground you, cleanse your space, and bring upon good fortune for the new year. Either way, it's all about welcoming those good vibes and saying adios to the negative ones.

6Dry Brush Your Entire Body For A Physical Sense Of Renewal

Ashley's Green Life on YouTube

Once your room is completely purified and deeply cleansed, move onto literally cleansing your own body and encouraging new cell growth with the process of dry brushing.

Dry brushing detoxifies and rids your body of toxins, increases circulation, and energizes your entire being, allowing you to literally and figuratively shed your old skin and open yourself up to change.

Ad failed to load

7Take A Warm Shower To Wash Away What Doesn't Serve You


After dry brushing, it's important to wash away the dead cells that you've eliminated with a warm, soothing shower.

Use gentle cleansers and invigorating scents, such as lemongrass or bergamot, to nourish your body and indulge in all the TLC.

8Moisturize With Essential Oils


Follow up your shower with some body oil or luscious moisturizer to give your skin some extra lovin'. Then apply an essential oil of your choice to the bottoms of your feet so that it can be optimally absorbed into your body and bloodstream.

Some amazing essential oil options could include lavender, peppermint oil, or rosemary for optimal renewal and mental rebirth.

9Take Some Time To Journal And Set Intentions For The New Year


Close your winter solstice ritual by releasing all of your thoughts about the cleansing process onto a piece of paper, where you can fully express yourself, and maybe even return to your musings next year.

Be honest and fully open with your intentions and dreams for 2018. As you close your journal, meditate for a moment on the closing of this chapter of your life and the start of something new.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Luckily, It's All Good Things

Pat yourself on the back because you survived not only one but two major eclipses. The last few weeks have been one obstacle after another but you made it. You dealt with the pain, held it together, and prevailed. Now, your February 19, 2018 weekly h…
By Roya Backlund

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

I Tried Vegan "Spacepaste" & It Looks Like Straight-Up LED Lights On Your Face

As you might have noticed, 2018 is the year for glitter. So many brands have been releasing shining, shimmering formulations like they're going out of style. We're not even halfway through February, and Lemonhead LA has already launched the best glit…
By Kim Carpluk

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Everyone Is So Thirsty Over This “Photo” Of Obama With Facial Hair

It's been a hot minute since President Barack Obama left the Oval office (though it feels like ages), and a lot of us miss him dearly. After leaving the White House, the 44th president remained out of the public eye for a little while, decompressing …
By Daniella Bondar

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas

7 Subtle Red Flags About The Way The Person You're Dating Treats Other People

You've done it. Against all odds, you've found the seemingly perfect person. All of your dates have been amazing, filled with endless hours of deep conversation and sweet affections. And how is it possible that you have, like, everything in common? T…
By Lily Rouff

Opal Hair Is The Latest Color Trend & It's So 'Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century'

If you were a fan of the unicorn highlighters or mermaid hair hues that took over 2017, then you’re in for a treat. A new beauty trend has arisen and it's as fantastical as it gets. These photos of opal hair color prove that too much rainbow is never…
By Ariana Marsh