In traditional Chinese medicine, we treat according to the seasons and environment. As the winter season approaches us we recognize that it is a time of hibernation and rejuvenation, it is a time to slow down, look inward and nourish our bodies with warm food and beverages. Think of it as a garden in the winter we are fertilizing and preparing the soil for the seeds to be planted in the spring.
Staying happy and healthy this winter season is easily attained when incorporating Chinese medicine tactics into your daily life. Bears have hibernation patterns for a reason and although humans don’t have such a drastic hibernating pattern it is normal to feel more tired during the fall and winter season. Rest more and make time for relaxation. A good way to rejuvenate is to start or increase meditation techniques such as yoga and breathing exercises. We often keep ourselves so busy that we don’t take the time to recognize and care for our well being. Winter is the perfect season to slow down, relax and reflect. That being said, it is still important to keep exercising but at a more moderate pace.
Diet plays an important role in your health, especially in the winter season. Your digestive system must work harder in a colder environment , it is crucial to get the nutrients you need to thrive in a way that is also easier on your digestive system. Ways to do this is eating food that is grow locally, harvested and stored. Winter is the season to eat warm cooked foods, avoiding raw and cold foods and beverages as much as possible.
Winter foods to enjoy
– roasted root vegetables
-bone broths and soups
-black beans, kidney beans and lentils
– winter greens, cabbage and mushrooms
-warming spices such as cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, cumin.
Danish people have been named the happiest people on earth. They incorporate many of the Chinese medicine practices into their everyday life. In the winter season, they have 17 hours of darkness everyday but they recognize the benefit that comes with accepting it as they embrace this time, slow down and use it as a source of replenishment. Their lifestyle is recognized as hygge which translates to coziness or wellbeing. It is all about creating a warm atmosphere with candles, cozy blankets, books and loved ones. They know the importance of acknowledging the moment and pursuing the happiness in everyday moments. Many countries around the world are now trying to create their own sense of hygge.
Follow and accept natural changes, let go of the guilt of slowing down and you can attain vibrancy, joy and health this winter season and be ready for the longer days and increased activity in the Spring.