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Living with the Seasons: Winter Wellness

Winter has arrived, as is the shortest time of the year and the longest nights. It’s time to embrace the colder months, time to slow down and conserve your energy.

Responding to the seasons is one of the foundational teachings of Chinese Medicine on how to maintain balance and stay in harmony. People used to live in connection to nature, rising with the sun and going to bed at dark, eating what’s in season, dressing appropriately for the weather. Now is a time that we can learn a lot from this ancient wisdom, to connect more deeply with ourselves and nature and to be able to strengthen our organs to keep us healthy.

Whatever deep rest looks like for you, whether it’s naps, or all day qi gong practice, its an essential time to go within to replenish you energy stores that you have used through the year. We mimic what nature does at this time of year by being still and conserving energy. Our battery packs are at their lowest, so its completely fine, and even written about in the ancient texts, to sleep late and rest as much as you feel you need to.

It is also a potent time for reflection. We are in the most yin time of the year where energy is retracted and flowing deep within us. We can connect with our deepest, untouched emotions and look within through meditation, or writing practices as we start to nourish our vision and intention for the coming months.

How to eat for the season

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What we eat at this time of year can offer deep nourishment and we want to encourage this nourishment to sink to the centre by eating bitter and salty foods. Winter relates to the element water and our kidneys, which are our storehouse of energy, so its an opportunity to access this depth and to fill them. But a caveat here is not to just cover your food in table salt but rather eat foods that are naturally salty like millet, seaweed, miso, barley and sardines. My favourite winter drink is bone broth with wakame, miso and shallots.

Other foods that support the kidneys are black coloured foods like eggplants, adzuki beans, dates, wood ear mushrooms and black sesame seeds. Warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves are perfect for a pot of chai. Include root veges like sweet potatoes, beetroots, parsnips and carrots, as well as the pungent ones like garlic onion and leek.

Chinese Medicine has so many herbs for supporting kidneys. An easy one to find, and a great tonic for both kidney yin and yang. It can be added to teas, soups, stews and congee. If you’d like to work more on a specific issue or have a tailored herbal formula tom support you please get in touch-,

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