After a new snowfall this weekend, some of us might be longing for those hazy days of summer and wishing we could push the clock forward a few months. But before we swear off winter, there is some benefit to spending a little time in the cold. According to Chinese medicine, the winter season is the perfect time to be a little lazy – and it’s even good for us, too. It’s a time to slow down, retreat, and plan. Winter is the season of the Kidneys and is associated with darkness, yin, cold, receptivity, rest, and quiet. This means settling down earlier at night, sleeping longer hours, and engaging in meditation or quiet exercise. Many modern women are accustomed to constantly being on the run, moving from task to task, and relishing in our productivity. Whether you thrive off this lifestyle or are worn out from it, you can learn to embrace the solitude and slower pace of winter for a happier, healthier, and fertile year ahead.
Nutrition is just as important in wintertime as it is during bikini season. During these colder months, it’s best to eat mostly warm, cooked foods like roasted vegetables, whole grains, hearty soups and stews, and spices. These foods will both keep you warm as well as support your reproductive system. Chinese medicine boasts the importance of a “warm womb” to best support life. This means a warm, well-rounded diet especially in colder weather. These types of food invigorate your digestive system, allowing energy to flow more naturally and easily to other body systems – namely the reproductive system.
Exercise during the winter should be kept mild to moderate. Quiet and meditative exercises like yoga, taichi, walking, or even simple stretching are best to restore and rejuvenate the body in preparation for the dynamic spring ahead. Deep breathing exercises are good for your body, and your mind. Simply lay down comfortably, place you hands below your belly button, and breathe fully and deeply in to your lower abdomen. This massages all of your inner organs and brings blood, oxygen, and intention to your reproductive organs. Use positive visualizations or affirmations to get even more out of this exercise.
Similar to physical exercise, our mental exercises should also be kept quiet and restorative. Meditation is always a great way to revitalize the body and soul, but other activities can be just as beneficial. Taking up a new craft or art project can allow you to embrace your creative side. Journaling or playing music can help to release tension and open your heart. As the energy of the season turns inward, focus your thoughts and intentions inward as well.
Living in closer harmony with the season (as our ancestors knew to do thousands of years ago) can dramatically change your emotional and physical health, all while improving fertility. During this last bit of winter, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation knowing that it does the body good.
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