Let’s face it. Winter is a tough season for most people. The weather is uncooperative and cold. The sun has gone to bed before the average work day ends. Cold and flu viruses are rampant, testing immune systems at every turn. Social and familial pressures during the holiday season can get downright ridiculous. Even the bears are hibernating and the birds are flying south to avoid dealing with it all.
It’s an easy time to be stressed, irritable, mournful of loved ones who have passed, and sometimes downright miserable. Often the push of “happy, happy, happy holidays!!” can intensify the downturn. But, is this true “depression”?
In Chinese medicine, winter is the time to turn inward, focus on emotional introspection, rest, and conserve strength. All of the natural environmental cues are telling us to do this. It’s cold and dark, trees are bare of leaves, animals are hibernating – time to go inside. Not simply indoors, but INSIDE of yourself. Quiet the mind, embrace your inner world of feeling. Contesting our part in this natural equation can intensify the feelings of seasonal sadness.
“Going inside” and facing / embracing ourselves can be a terrifying prospect for some. We are literally addicted to the constant noise, chaos, and distraction of the outside world. A heavy reliance on external stimulus allows us to avoid ourselves, especially at those vital moments where introspection allows for self healing.
Easy ways to embrace introspection:
Nutrition. Or as I like to call it, eating great food! It’s time for those warming, comfort foods we all love. It doesn’t have to be all mac and cheese either – see end of article for a great recipe for healing, comforting miso soup. (Which also boosts the immune system!)
Sleep. Carve out the time for adequate rest. You can make it happen, and you will be amazed at the improvement in your well being. Watch and pay attention to your dream language.
Balance the Nervous System. This is exactly what a chiropractic adjustment does for you. Acupuncture, the Migun massage bed, and yoga are other great resources.
Meditation / Deep Relaxation / Prayer. Start with just 3 minutes a day of complete silence and relaxation of your mind. As it becomes easier, spend a little more time each day. Those of you that currently practice – keep it up!
Mother Nature’s intelligence and wisdom is in all of us, we often simply forget to align with it. Fight the winter blues this season and heal naturally by embracing your inner self.
Martha Nussbaum’s letter: Do Not Despise Your Inner World
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- 3 ounces dried soba noodles
- 2 - 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
- 2 - 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
- a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed
- 2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
- a small handful of cilantro
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
(Soba noodles are available in most grocery stores in the “international” section, miso paste can be found in the refrigerated section at The Heritage, Whole Foods, and many grocery stores)
Cook the soba noodles in salted water, drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour a bit of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste - so it thins out a bit (this step is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Also, some miso pastes are less-salty than others, so you may need to add a bit of salt here. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.
Split the noodles between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add some watercress, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.
Serves 2 - 3. Source: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/miso-soup-recipe.html