Here in beautiful North Carolina it’s definitely rolling into winter. Our temperatures are steadily dropping and my fleece and wool pieces are out and in use.
I lived in Florida for 20+ years, so I’m not really acclimated to the wintry weather (even our “temperate” winters, here). I like to take extra special care of me in the chill.
In 5 element theory, winter is the time of water, represented by (surprise!) the kidney and bladder energy meridians.
According to Chinese medicine (TCM), the kidneys don’t like the cold. When your body is dealing with frosty outside temperatures, it adds insult to injury to mix in iced drinks. It puts unnecessary strain on the kidney qi, and can cause excessive urination.
Because of this, I always hydrate with room temperature water this time of year, and plenty of hot liquids.
In the same vein, avoiding cold foods is also a good strategy. I’m known for being too lazy to heat up leftovers, but this time of year I take that extra step!
Many of us notice we crave heavier, more robust foods when it’s chilly. That’s because these foods actually have warming properties, according to TCM food therapy guidelines.
Meat is more warming then grains and legumes, and root vegetables are more warming then green vegetables and fruit.
It’s a great time to use garlic in cooking, and to put together curries and other traditionally spicy dishes.
Ginger is also a very warming root, and so yum! It’s my go-to hydrating tea in the cooler months.
I also LOVE adding a bit of cayenne and cinnamon to my coffee (and my hot chocolate, too!) – it’s very tasty and a bit of extra heat to get me going in the morning.
Y’all might have figured out I’m quite the acupressure enthusiast.
Here are a couple of points I like to do that have warming, strengthening properties:
Kidney 3: this point is on the inner aspect of the lower leg, halfway between your achilles tendon and your ankle bone (or the medial malleolus for anatomy peeps).
Stomach 36: this point is located the width of YOUR four fingers below the bottom of your knee cap, on the outside of the bone. Find this one by placing your right hand below your left knee, with your index finger laying against the lower border of your knee cap. The end of your pinkie finger will land on ST 36.
Both of these points are bilateral; I like to apply medium pressure for about a minute at time, several times a day. They are warming, energizing, and help to maintain consistent qi flow, too.
What’s not to love? 😉
(Do avoid Kidney 3 if you’re carrying a wee one, lovely ladies!)
In terms of how I organize my internal focus, I remind myself that autumn was the time for preparing for a warm and nourishing cold weather experience.
This new season of winter is the time for quiet contemplation and DECISION MAKING.
Consider this: in the upcoming spring, the seeds we have sown (consciously or unconsciously) will start to peek out.
This will happen regardless of our attention or involvement.
Winter is the time to get engaged and set our intent so that we have a say in what plants we grow, or what types, or in which location.
Winter is for deciding how we want our spring to look.
So what are you imagining for spring?
(This post does not constitute medical advice, y’all. These are suggestions to support maintenance and prevention. Please see your medical provider for any symptom concerns you may have. )