Winter is the time in the yearly cycle where yin dominates yang. Nature withdraws into hibernation to conserve energy until spring. By conserving your energy, you will keep your immune system strong through winter and have enough energy in reserve for the increased activity of spring.
In Chinese medicine, winter is considered the “water element” and connected to the kidney, bladder and adrenal glands. Symptoms of water element imbalance in Chinese Medicine philosophy include:
- lower back pain
- poor memory
- circulation problems
- night sweating
- colds and flu.
Follow these guidelines in winter and feel great for spring
- Reduce energy output: Choose slower moving exercises like tai chi, walking, and qigong. Hiking on the weekend finished with reading a book by a fire is a perfect way to spend a winter Sunday. Winter is the time for deep reflection, staying indoors contemplating life.
- Go to bed early and rise late (later in winter). Sleeping allows you to rejuvenate and replenish your energy stores. Using less energy and rejuvenating your body for spring.
- Reduce or restrain from sex during winter. A 2000-year-old Chinese medicine text “The golden emperor’s classic of medicine” advises “to refrain from sex like keeping a happy secret”. Protect this energy and you will avoid illness in spring”. The Sages of China understood the value of containing this precious energy for its energising and life-enhancing properties and were able to move the energy upwards into their body for strengthening health and prolonging life.
- Avoid excessive emotions such as anger as this expels too much energy, decreasing your immune system and allowing you to become susceptible to illness. By all means practice the assertive expression of emotions to prevent stagnation, however, a simple way to conserve energy is simply to bring your mind back into your senses throughout the day. So much energy is wasted on worrying thoughts that knots your energy. Set an alarm to remind yourself to be mindful. Remember “the past is gone, the future is imaginary, and there is only the ever-present now”.
- Eat less food. Chew your food 30-40 times and eat until 70% full. Avoid processed foods and focus on warming foods such as cinnamon, ginger, garlic, onions, soups and stews.
- Practice Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises. Deep breathing is fantastic for building energy and keeping your immune system strong. Check out Wim Hof breathing method where you’ll be introduced to breathing methods plus cold exposure for enhancing health. Cold exposure that is built up slowly along with the breathing to build internal energy is fantastic for health.
- Acupuncture & Herbal medicine. Nothing increases the kidney energy like Chinese herbal medicine. If you’re concerned about your health, book in for acupuncture and herbal medicine.