Winter - time to slow down and re-energize.
Some love the cold, some don't. Some love to rug up, some don't. Some love the slowness of winter, some don't.
How do we find our Calm, Flow and Balance in Winter?
During winter plants lie dormant, their growth is stalled, they lay still and silent. Animals hibernate during the clod months of winter for the conservation of energy and restoration. So, as with the rest of the natural world, we too need to slow down, rest, conserve energy and restore ourselves during the cold winter months.
Winter is the culmination of the life cycle - the time to pause, rest and renew. Our bodies, our minds and our spirits need rest and renewal. By this time of year we may feel overwhelmed and exhausted - our bodies are telling us what we need in this season - to stop, reflect, rest and recuperate.
In this 'down time' we find space and in the silence we dream, we imagine and we create.
Many friends have recently talked of needing inner 'space', of needing 'breathing space' or needing silence. I can only imagine it is their innate seasonal wisdom speaking. The problem is that all too often we don't listen and we just keep going at full pace.
Is your innate wisdom asking you to slow down, to look inwards, to rest and restore? Why not start living for the season right now? Why not be part of the natural cycle, not fight it?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is governed by the Water Element, which represents Qi energy in its most essential form. This Qi holds the potential for our growth and development and it also signifies our life force in its most primal condition.
The Water Element is directly related to will, drive and determination.
Being the most 'Yin' of the five elements, the Water Element is characterised by rest, passivity and receptivity (amongst other things). This season the winter is vital for storing our Qi - to rest and repair. If we don't rest in this period we will have little energy for the growth and movement needed for spring. The Water Element season of winter is all about restoring energy, replenishing strength, resting, looking inward, relaxing your mind, calming your emotions and enlivening your spirit.
The meridians associated with the Water Element are the Kidney and Bladder channels. The Kidneys are the source of all Yin and Yang (energetic balance), rule the bones and teeth, manifest in the hair and open into the ears and are known as the 'kidney-adrenal glands'. Emotions/concepts often associated with the Kidney Meridian are: fear, anxiety, numbness, disconnect, potential and wisdom. The Bladder stores and eliminates fluid waste, and the emotions/concepts related to this Meridian are: control, drive, safety, security, impatience and will.
When we rest in the stillness of winter, we allow ourselves space within to dream, and to imagine and create opportunities. It is these reams and imaginings that will guide us in the next season.
In this stillness and rest, your inner strength will be restored and repaired.
The other side of the Water Element is 'fear' - when you doubt your own strength, when you feel alone or dis-connected, fear may paralyze and freeze you, so that you feel like you are in the long period of winter darkness. In response to the fear, you may seek to withdraw or control your environment and become restless and driven. Some physical symptoms that may show your Water Element is out of balance are: lower back pain, knee pain/weakness, water retention, fatigue, vertigo/dizziness.
If you are experiencing any of these physical or emotional symptoms that may suggest an out of balance Water Element, or if you would like to explore ways to slow down an energize your Qi- contact me and we can work on these things together - so that you can live in Calm, Flow and Balance throughout the winter and beyond.
Some simple suggestions to live in harmony with the season through winter is to eat seasonally. Some examples of fruit and vegetables that are in season through winter include:
apple, avocado, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, pear, persimmon, rhubarb, Asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, brussell sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, fennel, leek, mushrooms, onion, ginger, coriander, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme.
When planning your meals through winter, think of slow-cooked dishes, as your body will love the nutrients and warmth from the slow-cooked process. I love my slow cooker and can create some wonderful meals with little fuss. Soups and broths will support your stillness and your Qi renewal.
I also love experimenting with teas - green tea with lemon and hone, or with ginger and lemon and turmeric.. the combinations are endless!
Be mindful to include herbs and spice to your cooking - to strengthen and boost your immune system - thyme, garlic, ginger, lemon and parsley.
When battling a cold or flu or trying to boost your immune system, essential oils can help too:
Peppermint essential oil - anti-bacterial properties and helps clear coughs and a blocked nose.
Cinnamon essential oil or fresh in cooking - anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Eucalyptus essential oil - can aid with asthma and bronchitis, coughs and fever.
Lemon essential oil - air purification,
Tee Tree essential oil - anti-bacterial, anti-viral.
Thyme essential oil - anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and help with bronchitis and a cold.
I love winter, simply because it allows and encourages me to 'bunker down', to hide a little, to regenerate, to be silent, to listen in the silence and to regenerate my weary Qi.
I encourage you to take hold of what winter means in all of the natural world - to rest, to slow down, conserve energy. Listen to your heart and discover your imagination and your dreams again.
Contact Lisa at In2Balance Holistic Kinesiology if you would like help or advice throughout your winter journey.
Enjoy the Winter Wonderland to come!