So it’s Winter.
Are you one of the many who say they hate this time of year? It’s cold. It’s still getting dark too early. There isn’t much going on. It can feel blah all around.
Plus, most of us are pretty worn out after the busy holiday season, wishing we had a little more space, a little more time to rest, catch up and just breathe!
That, my friends, is the lovely hidden gift Winter offers us… time to rest and breathe and dream. Most importantly, Winter offers us space, if we’ll just take it.
So I have a challenge for you…Let’s reframe Winter!
What if, instead of feeling cranky about this time of year, we go with the flow?
Let’s rest and sleep in and get cozy. Curl up on the couch with a hot cup of tea and a book, or have movie days with your family. Even better let’s spend time dreaming about what we want to bring to life this year.
At its core, Chinese Medicine teaches us about living in harmony with the world around us. One of the most powerful ways to truly live in balance is to honor the rhythm and wisdom of the seasons.
While Spring is about awakening and new beginnings, Summer teaches us to revel in growth and the fullness of life, and Autumn reminds us of the necessary skill of letting go.
And Winter…Winter teaches us to go within.
To recharge ourselves with rest, reflection, and stillness. It is the antidote to the never-ending to-do lists, the running-ragged-busyness that rules our modern lives. Winter is a beautiful opportunity to replenish our physical and emotional reserves.
Winter is the Yin to the Yang of our busy lives.
Winter is the time to gather your strength and renew and rebuild your Willpower to accomplish your goals in the year ahead.
So how can you embrace the gifts of Wintertime?
And maybe even learn to savor this quiet and inward-focused season? Chinese medicine has a lot to teach us about using this time of year to create healthy reserves for the whole year to come.
6 Easy Ways to Replenish Yourself in Winter
In Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys, Bladder, and Adrenals are the organs associated with Winter. Taking extra time to rest, so you can replenish, restore and recuperate, is one of the most important things you can do for yourself in the Winter. So go to bed a little early, sleep in a bit when you can, and take an afternoon nap here and there. Let this quieter time of year help you give your adrenals a break, and just slow it all down for a few weeks.
Let your New Year’s goals, planning, and dreaming stretch out a bit into January. Take time to dive deep into your dreams and think about how you want to manifest them into your world this year. No rush, no pushing, just sit with it all and see what comes up. Make space for your heart and mind and see what they have to say!
3. Water Therapy
Water is the element associated with Winter in Chinese Medicine. Water symbolizes the depths of us, deep within. Along with taking space for reflection, water therapy can be deeply regenerative and healing at this time of year.
Visiting hot springs are a great option, but you can take a nice hot bath with Epsom salts right at home anytime. Light some candles, turn down the lights, put in a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and let yourself sink into that delicious, enveloping warmth. It will help relax your muscles and mind, and support your whole being.
4. Nourish Yourself!
This time of year calls for warming, nourishing foods. Think soups and stews, bone broths, root veggies, and warming herbs and spices like rosemary, garlic, ginger, onions, turmeric, black pepper, nuts, and seeds.
Black and dark foods are especially beneficial according to Chinese medicine, like black rice, black beans, and purple sweet potatoes. So warm up with a nice spicy Chai in the morning and enjoy some curries or your favorite homemade soup to warm you from the inside out.
5. Moderate movement
While rest is the most important aspect of nourishing ourselves in the Winter, it is always important to get moderate exercise every day to avoid stagnation and keep yourself healthy.
The key to exercise in Winter is moderation…this is not the time of year to push yourself as hard as you can. Think long walks, pilates, yoga, and moderate weight training. Better yet, go for a hike…always a personal favorite!
6. Stay Warm!
Last but not least, keep yourself warm in the Wintertime! (looking at those belly-baring sweaters out there…) First, keep your head, neck, and chest warm and covered when you’re out in the cold. In Chinese Medicine, it’s super important to keep the cold wind off these areas.
Time for fuzzy socks and all the cute scarves! Keep blankets handy on the couch, and snuggle up often. Lastly, keep yourself warm on the inside with all those warming spices we talked about.
I hope you find some time and space to settle into the rhythm of the season this Winter to fill yourself back up. It will serve you well for the rest of the year.
Book a massage anytime here.
Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness