Staying Healthy During Winter: 3 tips from Traditional Chinese Medicine
Winter is one of the five seasons recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM the other seasons include spring, summer, late summer and autumn. In Canada, winter is in full effect. Some of us enjoy this time of the year. For others it's a difficult season that negatively impacts our mental and physical health. Here are 3 simple ways to stay healthy and happy during this season, according to TCM.
TIP 1: SLEEP MORE
In TCM, if we want good health, we must learn to mirror nature. How do we mirror nature? By imitating the qualities of our environment. Most animals during winter go into hibernation, there are less hours of sunlight and plants are not in bloom. We can mirror these qualities of winter by slowing down and increasing our snooze time. Extra sleep can nourish our yang qi (our ability to be active and warm) and protect our yin and essence (the material aspect of our bodies, which include our blood and body fluids).
TIP 2: EAT MORE WARMING FOODS
Protecting our yang qi is especially important if we want to remain healthy and energized throughout winter. In winter, due to cold temperatures, yang qi moves deeper inside of the body. Warming foods nourish our yang energy and protect our bodies’ ability to stay warm. If you eat lots of raw salads during winter, and find your energy levels waning, perhaps lightly steaming your veggies or having a cup of warm tea before meals may help.
TIP 3: MOVE YOUR BODY
Even though TCM advises us to slow down during winter, we still need to exercise to keep our yang energy healthy. Proper exercise can boost our energy levels, reduce stress and improve mood. Stick to an exercise routine that makes you feel good. What ever exercise you choose, don’t over do it, as overtaxing the body makes us more susceptible to seasonal illnesses.
To conclude, here is a bonus tip- Regularly see your acupuncturist! Acupuncture brings balance to your unique constitution, so you stay healthy in winter, and every other season of the year.
All the best for the season!