According to Chinese medicine, winter is the season to go inward and replenish yourself. It is the season of the kidneys and the water element. This is the deepest energy in our bodies and if we deplete ourselves during this season by doing too much and “burning the candle on both ends” we will end up paying for it more than we will in other seasons. There are a few really basic and easy steps to take to keep yourself healthy during this season and set yourself up for success.
The food choices that you make are always important. During the season of winter it is important to eat warm foods that are easy to digest and soothing to your body and spirit. Foods that cook for a long time and are warm and well cooked are good choices. Think of stews, soups and things roasted in the oven. Unless you are living in Miami and have a constitution more prone to overheating, this is not the season for juice cleansing. If you are intent on doing a harsher, raw food heavy cleanse, please wait until the spring when the weather warms up.
Eating healthy, whole foods is the most important aspect of being healthy but sometimes we all need a little bit of extra support. My favorite ways to get this support are from the use of essential oils and simple Chinese herbal formulas. They can help your body to be stronger and create a healthy immune system that is able to fight off invaders without being over-stimulated. They can also be uplifting to help you do the things you need to do every day, as well as, helping you to relax and replenish when that is needed.
A blend of movement and meditation is also really important to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy. Exercise is important to keep your heart healthy, reduce your risk or heart disease and diabetes and to keep your body strong and healthy. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it is important to move the qi (energy) in our bodies. It is also important to help ease depression, anxiety, and insomnia. For some getting out in nature for a 30 minute walk many days each week is sufficient while for others only intense exercise will do. This depends on your age and general constitutional tendency. Meditation and Mindfulness exercises are becoming increasingly popular and are also important aspects of maintaining health in all seasons.