With fewer hours of daylight, colder weather, rain, snow, and grey clouds above, winter forces us to slow down, stay indoors, and rest.
Physically - From a Chinese medicine point of view winter is associated with the water element, and its corresponding organs are the Kidneys and Bladder. Their role in our bodies is to store our essence, govern birth, growth, and reproduction. They are also responsible for distributing water throughout the body, housing our will power, and maintaining our energy levels. Therefore, when our Kidneys are in disharmony and depleted, we may experience fatigue, burn out, suffer lower back or knee pain, feel the cold easily (especially in those areas), hormonal issues, or bladder issues.
Emotionally - The emotion that is associated with winter is fear. Like winter’s still and dark days and night, this is the time of year to sit still and go deep within. It’s time to face the deepest and darkest parts of ourselves, to grow as a person. Really listen to what our body, mind, and soul desires, and be prepared to let go of what is no longer required in your life. When fear is out of balance, we begin living our lives in a constant state of fight or flight. This can delete your energy reserves, and cause adrenal fatigue.
Foods to eat - Foods to eat during winter are: ginger, garlic, ginseng, onion, slow cooked meals, congee, bone broth soups and stews, black coloured foods are associated with winter such as black beans, black tea, liquorice, and black sesames seeds. Drink plenty of room temperature water, herbal teas (especially black tea), and kombutcha.
Things to do in winter:
• Always wear a scarf, or clothes that protect the neck and throat area. Ensure you are covered up, or avoid going out in the cold if you have been sweating and the pores are still open.
• Eat warm and cooked foods that are in season.
• Avoid cold, raw, and out of season foods, as well as dairy. The weather is cold outside, so you need to focus on keeping the internal body warm.
• Do not go outside with wet hair.
• Lots of sleep and rest, winter is the time for hibernation.
• Meditation and deep breath work, tai chi and qi gong exercises.
• Work on understanding and letting go of your fears.