Sunday, 14 July 2024

Staying healthy and balanced in the winter season

This year we had a long and beautiful fall. The colder days and nights now bring us to the winter season.

Winter is a time for slowing down. Nature has moved from the leaves changing colors and falling and the gift of releasing and letting go, to now receive the time of Winter, the most Yin time of year. A time of rest, stillness, and replenishment.

A time for the seed underground to grow strong roots, storing up and conserving energy, to support growth in the coming Spring.

Because we are also a part of nature, winter is also our time to restore our resources and conserve energy. It is a time to connect with our deepest wisdom, and potential energy that energizes us to realize anything is possible if we simply follow our true nature.

In Chinese Medicine the winter season is the water element.

Water is about our ability to flow and overcome obstacles.

Water is transformative.

As the most yin of all the seasons and the elements, it is a time for stepping back from the outside world and instead, turn inward, to reconnect with ourselves.

When we take quiet time to go inward, and ‘be', we connect with our deepest essence and allow an internal, intuitive process to be heard.

The body/physical gift of water element is rest, solitude, re-balancing, and replenishment. When we have enough reserves, we have enough strength, drive and ambition. In the winter we need to manage our physical energy by not overdoing it or we can become tired and exhausted.

The mind/emotional gift of water is courage, faith, and trust. It is the renewed sense that we can count on our essence and the 'blueprint' for our lives. What happens if we become out of balance? We can feel anxiety, fear, and stress from not being able to live our fullest lives.

The spirit gift of water is the will, the capacity to persevere, listen to our intuition, and tap into our internal energy, so we can grow ‘roots’ that anchor us in who we are.

Keys to staying balanced in the winter season.

Allow yourself to be quiet and listen to your deepest self-essence.

Stay warm, reduce outward activity to conserve energy in the colder, darker months.

Take a quiet walk outside in the fresh air, listen to relaxing music, read books or listen to books on tape.

Take time for extra self-care: get a massage, take a soothing bath, or a hot foot soak. Get an acupuncture treatment to stay balanced!

The winter season is a good time to discover more about yourself through reflection, keeping a journal, paying attention to your dreams, and the practice of meditation.

Do more moderate exercise like Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates.

Daily vitamins can help to keep your immune system strong: try taking multi- vitamins and multiminerals, B vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

Drink lots of warm herbal teas, like chamomile, ginger tea, Bengal Spice and Good Earth tea. Eat warm foods, like soups, plenty of steamed vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Have meals with whole grains, squashes, beans and peas, and dark leafy greens like swiss chard, kale, and bok choy.

Avoid too many cold foods and drinks. Although it is hard over the holidays, now try to have less sugar and dairy, as they can deplete your immune system.

Drink plenty of good quality water. Drink half your body weight in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water per day.

Stay warm, cover the back of your neck to protect against the cold wind. According to Chinese Medicine the wind can cause colds and flus. Also cover your low back area, to protect your kidneys, and your reserves of energy.

Follow the wisdom of water.

Be effortless in your response to its environment, adapting to change, yielding yet persevering, with the courage to stay the course, and staying rooted to one’s essence. Find the quiet contentment that comes with resting and waiting, being in the space of hibernation as you replenish your reserves.

Spring always follows winter. We don’t know what the spring will look like, yet if we have followed nature’s way and allowed ourselves to be immersed in winter’s gift of rest and replenishment, we will emerge in spring with renewed, vibrant energy, rooted in a clearer vision, and a deeper sense of how we want to show up and manifest our life.

Wendy Weiss is a licensed acupuncturist based in Lower Lake, California, telephone 707-277-0891. Visit her website at www.wendyweissacupuncture.com.

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