In Chinese medicine theory, there are five seasons: spring, summer, late summer, fall, and winter. Winter represents the most Yin aspect of the seasons and is described as a deep, nourishing, cold, slow, and inward energy. Winter is also associated with the Kidney, which houses are most basic and fundamental energy stores. These stores can be restored by using Yin foods and practices, such as Tai Ji and Qi Gong, as well as catching up on sleep and self-care.
Wintertime Health Tips
Here are some examples of traditional ways to keep yourself healthy and build-up your reserves for the year:
1. Eat seaweeds and dark foods – they are symbolic Kidney foods!
2. Eat good quality protein: Grass-fed, free range meats – eat small portions daily as they are warming. If you are vegetarian, eat dark lentils and add ginger to your stews to enhance the warming effect, especially if you are someone who runs on the cold side.
Bone broth is a great addition to the winter regime as the Kidney energy also relates to our bones.
3. Take time to meditate or take a walk every day (in warm clothes!).
4. Get sufficient sleep. In Chinese medicine, the dark hours of the day are associated with “Yin”, which is a type of deep, nutritive energy. Sleeping during the Yin hours is thought to be more nourishing than sleeping in past the sunrise, or “Yang” part of the day. Try to get to bed by 10pm at the latest, if that’s possible
5. Most importantly, laugh and do something fun every day.
Be Well and enjoy our gradual warming to the Spring season!