Ah, winter – that time of year when it feels so inviting to snuggle up in a blanket on the couch with a warm bowl of soup. It is the time to rest and rejuvenate. Even nature rests in the winter; animals hibernate and store up food; plants lie dormant, waiting to sprout forth and grow in the spring.
If you feel guilty about not completing your ‘to-do’ list every day, give yourself some grace. SLOW DOWN. I invite you to honor your body’s wishes to store energy and rest.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter falls under the ‘water’ phase in the 5-element theory.
Your body begins to rely heavily upon your kidneys/bladder in this phase.
Chances are, you probably don’t think about your kidneys regularly. However, I encourage you to consider your kidneys act as the ‘storage unit’ for your energy reserve. This is why it is essential to grab that blanket, slow down and rest in the winter. By taking this time for yourself, you are allowing your body to encourage this transformative process.
In wintertime, we become dry – our hair is more brittle, our skin is less pliable and movement is less fluid. Wintertime leads to the stagnation of toxins, and our bodily functions become much more difficult. This can encourage common kidney-related ailments to occur, such as bone health issues, bladder infections, ear infections, poor hearing, fatigue, anxiety, swelling/edema, loss of libido.
Each organ in our body has an associated emotion.
The emotion associated with our kidneys is fear. If your kidneys, the water element of your body, are imbalanced, depression, anxiety and phobias may arise.
One way to help balance these emotions may be to take a personal inventory and look inward. Take your time, this should not be a forced or rushed exercise. Journaling, meditation, or reading can be helpful in this process.
If you’ve ever needed permission to sleep or take a restorative nap, this is it!
Wintertime is the best time of year for optimal sleep and to establish a bedtime routine. Here are some considerations to help make your bedtime routine easier:
Turn off all electronics/media at least one hour before bed
Turn the thermostat down.
Research shows we sleep best at 60-65 degrees F.
Keep all electronics (outside of the alarm clock) out of your bedroom.
Start preparing for bed 30-60 minutes before bedtime – dim the lights, pull the shades
Have a cup of warm, herbal tea – ginger, chamomile, valerian, peppermint
To Exercise or Not to Exercise?
As for exercise, focus on slow, deliberate, restorative movements, rather than explosive weight training and jarring movements. A walk outside is fine, just be sure to cover your neck, ears, shoulders and lower back to avoid direct exposure to the cold.
What to Eat and How to Prepare Food in Winter
Approach cooking and eating in a slow, purposeful manner.
Winter Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
- Root vegetables (winter squashes, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas)
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter greens – cooked – (collard greens, kale, mustard greens)
- Brussels sprouts
- Onion, leeks, garlic
Eat Foods that WARM:
- Bone broth and stock
- Soups and stews
- Veggie broth and stock
- Bay leaves
Foods to Support your Kidney/Bladder:
- Black sesame seeds
- Bone broths (from marrow)
- Cooked leafy greens
- Avoid cold, raw foods
Remember, everything becomes drier in the winter…..make sure to drink plenty of fluids, such as water and herbal teas.
I wish you an incredibly warm, satisfying, deeply introspective winter!
If you are experiencing symptoms of possible kidney imbalance, including:
- Dry skin
- Bone health issues
- Bladder infections
- Ear infections
- Poor hearing
- Loss of libido
Contact the office and let’s evaluate your kidney health. With the right natural support, you can take control of your health and restore balance in your body.