Summer has been long gone and even the Fall seems like a distant memory. And you all know what that means: Winter is here. Sunshine has been replaced with overcast, early sunsets, and with the cold, gray, dreary darkness that we all love to hate on. It is only natural that during such times we retreat indoors and spend as little time as possible outside, at one with nature.
A lot of wisdom can be found in Ancient Chinese Medicine. Under its framework, the passing season (Fall) is associated with the element of Metal (one of five zodiac elements) and with the lung as an organ. The emotions attached to such elements are grief and the ability to let go. As such, Fall is representative of our choice of riddance (or not).
Below, find a few lifestyle recommendations to help you get through the dreary months:
Dress up!: Weather in the Fall/Winter is known to be fickle. You can wake up in the morning to a warm breeze and dress accordingly, only to be caught off guard upon leaving the office in the late afternoon when faced by a chilly breeze. My advice? Be prepared. It is most important to keep your neck and chest warm since those are the body parts most prone to initial infection. So make sure to carry a scarf and extra cardigan for layering. Don’t be caught off guard again.
Physical Exercise: Since Fall is associated with the organ of the lung, it is important to hone in on your breathing. Practice breathing exercises, and partake in workout classes that focus on just that: Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong are perfect examples. Here you can find a Qi Gong exercise meant to strengthen your immune system.
Nutrition: During the cold winter months, you should up your intake of sour foods. Sours are known to stimulate digestion, increase immunity, and stimulate the absorption of minerals. This flavor is associated with the ability to absorb (into the body) rather than excrete (out of the body) – an effect often associated with spicy flavors. Accordingly, it is recommended that you abstain from eating spicy foods.
Furthermore, you should consume hot liquids and stews that are slow-cooked on a low temperature. Recommended foods include celery, cauliflower, adzuki beans, leeks, and onions cooked with lemon.
The Ancient Chinese knew to observe nature, draw on its ways and behaviors, and translate what they learned into actionable ways of living life. By learning from them, and by following the tips mentioned above, you too can pave your path towards a healthier winter. So take note.