By Jessica Chen, L.Ac.
the winter months all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and
enter a resting period. This is a time when yin dominates yang.”
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine
Thinking of winter, one recalls family gatherings,
holiday parties, big bold foods, warm ciders, thick socks, chilly
weather, and of course, colds and flu. How do we take care of ourselves,
mentally and physically? We do so by living according to nature, eating
seasonal foods, and keeping life simple.
Food – During winter, our body craves foods that are heartier
because they warm the body and strengthen the immune system. Eating cold
and raw foods should be limited as they bring down your body
temperature. Try eating soups and stews, roasted nuts, and seeds.
Exercise – Even though we naturally slow down during this time,
we should still do gentle exercises to keep our circulation flowing,
immune system strong, muscles stretched, and joints lubricated.
Sleep – Wintertime is a good time to conserve your energy. This
is the time you want to go to bed a little earlier and sleep a little
longer. Let your body recharge. Snuggle up with your loved ones, a pet,
or a warm pillow, and snooze!
Meditation – Give your mind some quiet. With less stress comes
better sleep, which leads to a stronger immune system. Take five minutes
minimum daily to sit in complete stillness and quiet--and breathe.
Self-reflection – The stillness of the winter season is a good
time for self reflection and taking a good look at yourself.
Traditionally, people have made New Year’s resolutions in January which
is a form of self reflection, as is writing in a journal.
According to nature, our bodies are meant to slow down and conserve
energy during the winter. Times have changed, but the basic principles
should not. Keep in mind winter’s wisdom in order to stay healthy
throughout the new year!