Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches to live in harmony with the seasons. Each season has its own characteristics which lead us to change our habits as the seasons change so that we may create more balance between our bodies and the environment. This means slowing down in the colder months and keeping warm and well rested in order to plant the seeds for renewed vitality in the new year.
1. Dress up yourself warmly
Chinese Medicine doctrine dictates that cold that can lead to illness enters the body from the neck and shoulders. So, it is very important the keep your neck and shoulders warm. Most body heat escapes through the head. Consider wearing something to cover your head.
2. Drink warm liquids. Eat warm foods.
Your body uses energy that takes away from your body’s natural defences to warm cold food and drinks to body temperature. It is important to avoid too many raw foods during winter because they tend to cool the body and can deplete our digestive “fire” which is the ability to assimilate food efficiently.
3. Eat winter superfoods that warm you up.
First thing you should drink in the morning is a cup of warm lemon water with honey and a small piece of ginger. This will warm you up and strengthen your immune system. Other healthy winter foods recommended on a daily base are: cinnamon (0.5g), goji berries (10pieces), black sesame (10g). And to eat regularly white radish will help your Qi to move better through the digestive system.
4. Go to bed earlier
Since days are getting shorter, try to adapt your sleeping hours accordingly. Go to bed earlier (attempt to fall asleep around10.30pm) and get up when the sun rises. Winter is a perfect season to slow down and to grant your body more sleep. Getting plenty of sleep enables your body to conserve energy used for healing and warming the body when exposed to colder climates. To improve your quality of sleep is to take a warm footbath for 15 minutes just before you go to bed.
5. Do daily (light) exercises
While it is wintertime, do not neglect your daily exercises (30 to 50 minutes). Even though it is cooler and darker outside, try to motivate yourself to go out for a walk. This helps to enhance your body’s Qi and to improve your blood circulation.
6. Reduce stress.
As difficult as it may seem, find a simple way to relax and release stress on a regular basis. Meditation or taking a long hot bath are good suggestions. Choose your own method. Remember, it’s snuggling weather! Stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can easily deplete the immune system allowing winter illnesses to invade the body more easily.