Natural Living: The energy of winter

The energy of winter is in the air with all the beautiful snow Mother Nature has blessed us with this past month, just in time for Christmas. You can feel the excitement at the ski areas, watching kids frolic in the snow and even people shoveling/snow blowing their driveways. Something about a white Christmas puts smiles on most everyone’s faces.

This is a busy time of year for many with holiday parties, shopping, baking, visiting family, and finishing up end of year tasks at work and home. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle with not a lot of time for rest, leaving many feeling worn out with adrenal fatigue after the holidays.

Chinese Medicine teaches us to live in harmony with the seasons. Each season has many associations, which help us to change our habits as the seasons change so we may create more balance between our bodies and the external environment. When we stay connected to the seasons we stay healthy throughout the year and give ourselves the tools to keep our immune system and our organs strong so we can ward off disease.

The season of winter represents the most Yin aspect in Chinese medicine. Yin is the dark, cold, slow, inward energy, whereas yang of summer brings expansive, light and hot energies. This is why many animals hibernate this time of year. It’s important for us to be mindful of these natural patterns in Mother Nature and be more in check with them, even with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It’s a good time to look inward, reflecting on ourselves with meditation, writing, or other practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga. These practices help us to connect to our inner selves, relaxing the mind, calming our emotions and raising the spirit.

Winter, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is associated with the kidneys which hold our body’s most basic and fundamental energy. This energy is affected also by our genetics and our lifestyle choices impacting our aging process. When we’re out of sync with the natural patterns of winter it can impact the kidney energy in Chinese medicine, creating low back pain, knee pain, fatigue, vertigo, erectile dysfunction, low libido, hypertension, tinnitus, anxiety and excessive fear to name a few.

There are many things you can do to keep healthy and joyful during the holidays and all winter long. Here’s a few to get you started.

Be mindful of getting more rest, try going to bed a little earlier and sleep in a little longer.

Practice meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Qi, or Yoga every day for more inward exercises.

When out at parties, try to limit the amount of alcohol consumption and desserts.

Stay away from cold foods like ice cream, ice water and raw foods. Instead, increase warming foods that strengthen the kidney energy such as chicory root, miso, steamed winter greens, bone broth, whole grains, seaweeds, celery, asparagus, watercress, endive, turnips, roasted nuts, micro algae and warm hearty soups.

When following these natural patterns Mother Nature has created and so many of the animals follow we find we’re happier, healthier and don’t have to work so hard to get back on track for the new year.


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