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WINTER WELLNESS - REST & DIGEST

Updated: Jan 2


REST - REFLECT - REPLENISH

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine....


... our health and wellbeing is optimised if we live in alignment with the seasons. Adjusting our lifestyles and living in harmony with nature and our environment, maintains internal balance. As outside, so within.


According to Taoist philosophy (the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine) all aspects of life exists as part of a cyclical balance of Yin and Yang. Winter is the maximum “Yin” phase of nature’s annual cycle - the dark, cold, slow, still, inward, receptive energy.


In the depths of winter, the earth lies fallow and nature is still. We're called to retreat, take stock, examine our depths, befriend the darkness, rest and replenish, and simply wait.


Winter grants us absolute permission to Slow It Down. January is a perfect month to rest after the fuss and frolics of the festive season and take time to digest... not just any extra foodie treats we might've enjoyed over xmas, but our interactions, experiences, information input, relationships, thoughts and feelings from the often excessive consumption and activity of the festive period that's just happened, and also digest 2023 personally and more wordly, before juggling a whole load of new 2024 plates!



NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS… NOT QUITE YET!!


Go easy with the new year resolutions just yet. Nature is guiding you towards a gentle January and to resist loud calls to create some sort of new year new you grand masterplan. Now is the time for quiet and receptiveness - to ponder, wonder, RECEIVE and LISTEN to what feeds your soul.


Chinese New Year (2nd new moon after winter solstice) is a more appropriate time to set new year intentions, harnessing the strong uprising energy of spring to put them into action. In 2024 Chinese New Year is 10th Feb - year of the Yang Green Dragon - I'll share a post on Dragon energy nearer the time!


For now, do less, stay warm, hydrated and nourished, and give yourself the extra time and space to slow down, rest, nest and digest in this profound season of stillness. 😊


“Complementing the body in winter, one will defeat a tiger in the coming spring”

(Chinese proverb).



BE LIKE WATER


Each season belongs to a particular element in Taoist philosophy and winter is ruled by the water element and the Kidney organ system - the deep reserves of our energies. These reserves help us in times of stress and illness, to age appropriately, and should be conserved for times of change.


Modern life values production and growth over preservation and decline. Encouraging a lifestyle that eats into our reserves as we essentially swim upstream to keep up excessive activity in winter. If Kidney energy runs low, we run low. We get sick easily, feel flat, sad, fatigued, anxious, experience achey bones especially our knees and back - all these relate to the kidney system and signal that we're running on empty.


In winter we're called to mimic the quieter aspects of water, still and calm, and to slowly fill our inner reservoirs. Gentle activities are good - it's not about being completely still - there's always movement in stillness and vice versa. Meditation, writing, art, yoga, tai chi and other nourishing and inward focusing activities are excellent practices to nurture kidney energy, relax the body and mind, calm emotions and raise spirits. Allowing seeds of ideas and intentions time and space to germinate internally before they burst forth in spring.


So how can we support the Kidneys and preserve energy in the winter??



SIMPLE TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE TIPS TO STAY WELL THIS WINTER & BEYOND


  • DO LESS – nature accumulates energy during winter in order to grow in spring, so should we - give yourself permission to stay in and rest

  • GENTLE MOVEMENT - inward focusing and soft flowing movement such as yoga and tai chi create space in the body, calm the mind, clear tension and keep things gently flowing

  • GET SOME INNER SPACE – writing, reading, art – all great to calm the mind and check in with ourselves

  • SUNSHINE & FRIENDS – go out when the sun's out to lift seasonal flatness, and spend quality time playing with loved ones

  • GO TO BED EARLIER & GET UP LATER – to receive the full healing effects that sleep has to offer, and get up when the sun’s energy is rising so we don’t use too much of ours - you have absolute permission to lie in. The Yellow Emperor said as much 3000 years ago in Chinese Medicine's most ancient text.

  • WRAP UP– keep the head, neck, lower back and kidney area covered up and protected from the wind, cold and damp

  • SEASONAL FRUIT & VEG, AVOID COLD RAW FOODS – warming, slow cooked, hearty, comforting stews, hot pots, soups and porridge, root veg, apples, pears – cooked, roasted nuts, all warm the body’s core and help conserve energy

  • CURIOSITY AND JOY - embrace the stillness of winter to nourish your spirit - listen to what brings you joy and warms the heart. And if joy feels a bit beyond grasp - follow your curiosity, notice what sparks your interest and pay attention. Curiosity is the foundation of joy.



LAST BUT NOT LEAST...


  • HAVE ACUPUNCTURE! – as well as any specific aches, pains and troubles, seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter assist your body to harmonise with the natural energy and nourish reserves. Greatly enhancing the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, heal, prevent illness and increase vitality. So schedule your seasonal service! Book online here.



POINT OF THE SEASON


Acupressure point


  • Where the energies of the earth and person connect

  • Grounding, nourishing, calms the spirit - great for xcess xmas busyness!

  • Helps with anxiety, overthinking, insomnia, dizziness, poor vision

  • Massage or treat yourself to a warm aroma filled foot bath (a washing bowl and herbal tea bags do the job!)




 "Take a rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop” Ovid






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Such good advice, it has reminded to stop trying to do as much at this time if year as I do mid summer.

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