It’s common when the winter season approaches to start to experience feelings of wanting to withdraw and hibernate away. The colder, shorter days encourage us to slow down. And this is not a bad thing! In nature we see this within much of the animal kingdom as well as many plants and trees. Winter is a time to turn inwards both physically and mentally. The colder temperatures begin to cool the surface of our body and body heat is drawn more internally to keep our core warm. Just as the animals hibernate to conserve energy for the growth period of springtime, it is a time for us to rest and rejuvenate.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) winter is ruled by the Water element, which is associated with the kidneys (and adrenals) and bladder. It is the most yin time of the year and is a time for stillness and nurturing. The kidneys are the source of our vital Qi (energy). Western lifestyles can be very depleting on the kidney/adrenal system, so it is even more important at this time to nourish our kidneys. Meditation, reflection and journaling, and restorative styles of yoga are wonderful activities for the winter season. Stay warm, rest when you need it and get plenty of sleep.
The water element is associated with feelings of fear, insecurity and anxiety. Experiencing these feelings can be an indication that your water element is out of balance, as are physical signs of lower back pain, knee pain and a stiff neck. Kinesiology can help you with these physical aspects as well as work through and dissolve feelings of fear so that you can regain a sense of trust and connection with your intuition and innate wisdom.
Eating for Winter
The kidneys do not like the cold so food needs to be warming and hearty, such as soups, stews and casseroles. Include root vegetables, beans, lentils, millet, barley, and stewed fruits. Avoid raw foods as much as possible as they are very cooling for the body and digestion.
The flavour associated with winter is salty so don’t be afraid to add a little good quality Celtic sea or pink Himalayan rock salt, miso and seaweed to your dishes. This needs to be balanced with adequate water intake, as the winter months can be very drying also. Drink room temperature, or tepid water, rather than cold water to avoid cooling the body.