The shortest and darkest day was on December 21st but we are deep inside the heart of Winter right now, and it so far it has proven to be a cold one. This year has brought more rain, snow, ice, and low temps across the United States then then I can remember for a while now.
Looking at the forecast for this next week here on the west coast, that shows a week of steady rain and low temps, I know my friends and family further east are in for more white, wet, and wild weather as this storm front moves on. As the new season brings the extreme of winter weather, it is also a time of reflection and pause.
When it comes to our health and wellbeing Winter is a time to conserve, store, protect, and nourish. Here are 3 things to keep in mind as we move through the coldest season of the year.
Go to bed early: Create a quiet ritual in the evening that calmly and easily moves into an earlier bedtime. This includes warm and nourishing easy to digest stews or steamed veggies with easy to digest proteins. This can also be as simple as a warm cup of tea after dinner that you sit down with along with a good book and a warm pair of thick socks or a warm fire, while the storms rage outside your little haven.
Stay warm and protected: Our body can loose a large amount of warmth and energy through our skin, especially our face, hands and feet, so stay warm with thicker protective layers. With the dry cold outside air along with the dry air with the increased use of indoor heaters don't forget to protect the surface of your skin with moisture protecting natural moistures. Something as simple as coconut oil can have amazing healing benefits when hands and face get dry, cracked or chapped. Now more than ever it is truly critical that we protect those "little toes" below. I know in the depth of winter all I can only think of is the warmth of summer but going barefoot will drain your body's reserve energy very fast This loss of energy will weaken immune system and defenses against winter germs that are now not being aired out of our home and work spaces. —> Find some more great winter skin tips click here
Avoid conflict and frustration: There is real wisdom to remaining calm in the face of challenges, seeking compromise in disagreement, and being slow to get angry when our "buttons" or "triggers" get bumped by those we are now in tighter quarters with this time of year. Even the expenditure of emotional energy is extra depleting to our physiology this time of year. If your life or work demands are stressful be sure to make an extra effort to carve out short but effective interludes in your day.
In the 4000 year old classic Chinese text known as "Huangdi Nei Jing" literally the "Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor" the following famous guidelines were outlined on how to "Cultivate Health" and live a long and healthy life.
“In the past the sages were able to observe the signs and adapt themselves to these natural phenomena so that they were unaffected by the external influences, and were able to live long lives.
“The transformation of passive and active, of yin and yang, in the seasons is the basis of the growth and destruction of life. The sages were able to cultivate the yang energy in Spring and Summer and conserve the yin energy in Fall and Winter. By following the universal order, growth can occur naturally. If this natural order is disregarded, the root of one’s life will be damaged and one’s true energy will decline.
“Therefore, the change of yin and yang through the four seasons is the root of life, growth, reproduction, aging, and death. By respecting this natural law it is possible to live free from illness. The sages have followed this, and the foolish people have not.
“In the old days the sages treated disease by preventing illness before it began, just as a good government or emperor was able to take the necessary steps to avert war. Treating an illness after it has begun is like suppressing revolt after it has broken out. If someone digs a well only when thirsty, or forges weapons only after becoming engaged in battle, one cannot help but ask: Aren’t these actions too late?”
[The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (the Neijing Suwen) ~240 B.C. translated by Maoshing Ni, Shambala Publications ISBN 1-57062-080-6 © 1995 further edited by Paul Farago]
My favorite line is "the sages treated disease by preventing illness before it began" [...] "treating an illness after it has begun is like suppressing revolt after it has broken out".
If you are looking for ways to strengthen your immune system, ensure your body is in balance, or you want work on supporting and strengthening your body to resolve pain and illness right now then schedule an acupuncture appointment today at: www.cultivatedhealth.com. Make this the year you see just how amazing you can feel.
I look forward to seeing you soon.