Winter is here! OK, so for all you G.O.T fans, Winter has been coming for a while! So it comes around every year, and we watch as the seasons change; the emergence and expansion of Spring, the maturation and fruition of Summer, the abundance and gradual decline of Autumn. This natural cycle happens for a reason. Winter naturally slows us down, colder and darker days, and more sparse, after the abundance of Summer and Autumn.
Winter is a time for conserving and restoring energy, whilst we patiently wait for the Spring. So why don’t we slow down? We live in a 24 hour culture of being accessible and available, not allowing time to stop and restore ourselves. Why do we pretend we are not part of this cycle? Fundamentally we are animals too!
In TCM, Winter is associated with Kidney Qi, this is the root of all of our Qi, and is easily depleted if we overdo things. Protect your health by taking time out to relax and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The hustle and bustle of the festive season can be exciting, but also quite stressful. Remember if we don’t reserve and protect our energy we are left open to disease and illness.
Top Tips for being more animal this Winter:
- Eat seasonally – if you were having to find food as an animal that’s all you’d have access to, and it’s going to be at it’s best. Try soups and casseroles full of seasonal and root vegetables and pulses, meat and warming and pungent herbs and spices, like ginger and garlic. Avoid cold and too much raw foods.
- Rest, Relax and breathe – this sounds simple, but animals don’t have the same pressures we do, so once they have the basics sorted, i.e. food, shelter, warmth etc..they can rest peacefully. Go back to basics, switch off the phone and try some mindfulness, meditation, breathing or just enjoying being still.
- Don’t feel guilty about hibernating – have fun with family and friends, but if you need space and time to put you first and stay at home, don’t feel bad! Animals do what is necessary to thrive, and this includes hibernating!
- Get outdoors in the daylight – most animals use the limited daylight during Winter to gather food and socialise. It’s important for us to take advantage of this window of daylight. Walking outdoors is something most of us can do to exercise, and also take in Vitamin D from the sun. This will help defend us against disease. Try taking a walk each lunchtime, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.
- Stay warm – animals hunker down to keep warm, as this helps conserve energy. Wrap up warm. Keeping your lumbar, ears and feet warm, will also protect your Kidney Qi.