If you feel tired and drained, you are not alone. “Lack of energy” is something I often hear. People work long hours, look after their children and home, and worry about how to juggle all these demands. Now with the Christmas parties in flow, excess alcohol and sugary or unhealthy eating adds to the mix. This winter I’ve seen so many more people with colds, as their immune systems are overburdened and weakened. According to Chinese Medicine, as the cold and darkness of winter entrenches, now is the time to slow down, recharge your batteries and generate Qi or Energy in order to live well, look and feel your best. This is the time of year to reflect on health, replenish energy and conserve strength. Probably the opposite of what most of us are doing! I’ve some Chinese Medicine tips to help get you through the winter.
The ancient Chinese believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down. But our modern society with its technological advances, protect us from our environment, so we are more out of step with nature and this has consequences for both our mental and physical health.
Here are some tips to boost your health:
- Sleep early and rise late after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere slightly. This preserves your own Yang Qi (the warming dynamic energy in the body) for the task of warming you in the face of cold. If you work flexible hours, go to work later in the morning.
- Slow down – conserve your energy by resting more. Do not do strenuous exercise outside in the cold and rain. The sweating opens your pores and makes you vulnerable to colds and disease. In Chinese Medicine, arthritic conditions are seen to develop more easily from such activity.
- Stay warm – Yang Qi is easily lost, especially from the back of our neck and head. So wear warm scarfs and hats to cover the upper body when you go outside.
- Eat warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts which help to warm the body’s core and keep you nourished. Good nuts for boosting our digestive energy in Winter are chestnut, pistachio and walnuts. Drink lots of Chai and Jasmine tea too.
During the winter months, it is important to nurture and nourish our Qi or Energy, because this is when the energy can be most easily depleted. Acupuncture helps us do this. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter – rest, reflection, conservation and storage – that’s if we let them of course!