Winter has arrived this year with the earliest and heaviest snow recorded. How has it affected you? In Chinese medicine there is a lot of writing about the impact of our weather environment on our health and our energy levels.
Winter is the most yin aspect of our yearly seasonal cycle. This means it is both the most cold and most inward time of the year. To get a good understanding of this, all you need to do is look at the natural world. Look at what is happeneing outside to trees, plants and animal life. Deciduous trees have lost their leaves, evergreen trees have stopped growing. The sap in the trees that rises in spring and summer slows down as energy is conserved. For animal life, things are quite tough, energy again needs to be conserved. On very cold days most animals will hole up rest and try to keep warm. Many will struggle to survive.
If you have read any of my other seasonal blogs you will know I go on about human nature and our relationship to the environment. It is never more clear than what we do in winter. What we are meant to do at this time of the year, and what we end up doing are at opposite ends of the spectrum. What are we meant to do? We are meant to follow nature, we are of course animals ourselves. We are meant to slow down, conserve energy, sleep more, rest more and eat warm nourishing and seasonal food.
Our lives and our culture does not let this really happen. We battle into work and continue to work long days. Some of this is confused by our ability to heat ourselves and feed ourselves as if we were living in summer. Now, I am not suggesting that we all switch off our central heating and slip into a double layer sleeping bag and stay there until spring. It is a question of taking notice of what we are meant to do at this time of year. These are my top tips:
- Drink warm water, not cold.
- Eat warm food, not cold summer food
- Dress for the weather outside
- Go to bed earlier
- In short accept that it is winter and don't pretend it is summer!