As ancient Chinese philosophy explains, winter is the cold and dark season, is a time of inward reflection, rest and restoration. It is associated with water, the element of pooling, tranquility and flow. In the body, the water element is connected with circulation of the blood, perspiration, tears, the bladder and, most significantly, the kidney.
Below are some great ways to maintain your health, wellness and positive outlook during the winter months:
Studies have proven that meditation is a great tool for calming the body, mind and spirit. Having space to sit in stillness and quiet can be both therapeutic and rejuvenating—whether you need to increase or decrease your energy levels. Researchers have also noticed a difference in the brain of meditators versus non-meditators, finding meditators to have a larger amygdala. This is the the integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation.
Getting ample amounts of rest is critical to your overall health, especially brain/mind health. Studies have shown that taking naps is a great aid in restoring the mind during the winter months, showing improvement in cognitive function, creative thinking and memory performance in those that nap at least once per day.
Naps can even have a physical benefit. In one study of 23,681 Greek men over six years, the participants who napped three times per week had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Not to mention a host of other positive outcomes that might occur from regular napping. Sleep experts have found that daytime naps can improve many things: increase alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, enhance your sex life, aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of heart attack, brighten your mood and boost memory.
In winter your body will appreciate warming foods like hearty soups, whole grains and roasted nuts, or steaming cups of ginger or cinnamon tea. To further fortify the kidney, eat black beans, kidney beans or red adzuki beans along with seaweed and steamed greens. Fish and shellfish are a good source of protein at this time of year. A simple way to feel more connected to the water element is to use sea salt instead of table salt on your food. A moderate amount of salty food can help nourish the kidneys, but remember that excessive salt damages them.
Winter is a time to conserve energy. Although it can be challenging during the holiday season, be mindful to not overcommit yourself, which can result in exhaustion, stress and illness. Practice saying no in a mindful manner. Take more time for yourself, remembering that winter is a time for reflection and introspection.
Take care this winter, you deserve it!
Contact our team today with questions on how you can seek health and vitality year round.