21st June is the winter solstice, the shortest day and the longest night…also officially the first day of winter.
In essence, winter is the season of resting and inner work.
In TCM Winter is associated with the Water element which controls the Kidney and the Bladder. Winter is the season to slow down even more than in autumn. It is the season for quiet and stillness, to be able to listen to our intuition.
This is what you should be doing now:
- Get to bed earlier. Get more sleep
- Meditation, relaxation, reflection and reading that you enjoy.
- Plans should be kept to yourself so that you can concentrate that energy on acting on projects instead of just speaking of them.
- Incorporate exercise to keep warm. Tip – do exercise in the morning to help warm up the body, improve circulation and get you moving for the day. Exercise also helps combat gloominess, common in winter.
- Winter is the season when despair and fear set in. Rationalise whether your fears are ‘realistic’ or not, this helps overcome irrelevant fears.
- Eat more ‘warming’ foods such as cooked vegetables, root vegetables, whole grains, and meat and beans in moderation.
- Winter is a good time to build and develop relationships. Spend more time with those close to you.
Do you find it difficult to live in harmony with Winter?
The following are signs that you do not have enough ‘energy’ to cope in this season or that your energy is imbalanced.
When the Winter element is imbalanced we may react or display the following behavior:
- Lack courage and aspiration.
- You become more fearful or, on the contrary, act in a foolishly fearless way.
- Become overwhelmed and anxious, especially in the afternoons.
- Become too withdraw. You need to have a balance so that you develop relationships too.
- Avoid finding the time for quiet and stillness.
- Feel exhausted instead of relaxed, because energy is not able to flow sufficiently.
- Groaning sound of the voice
People with water element imbalance may display the following symptoms:
- Carry chest infections / problems into the winter months
- Back pain, especially in the afternoon
- Joint pain
- Poor circulation
- Excessively cold
- Blue undertone of the skin
- Black / blue rings around the eyes
- Blood pressure problems, either too high or too low
- Soft, split and peeling nails
- Problems with head hair – dandruff, baldness, lifeless thinning hair
- Bouts of deafness, more prominent in winter.
- Craving for salty foods
- Frequent urination
- Kidney and bladder conditions
- Sexual problems
How to balance your energy to live in harmony with Winter
- Diet should include foods that balanced in sodium and potassium, and calcium and magnesium. These minerals are essential for fluid balance in the body so that cells work optimally.
- Make time for meditation, relaxation, reflection and reading
- Become aware of your fears. Rationalise whether they are realistic or not. Try to overcome fears that are holding you back, and at the same time be cautious.
- Make time to spend with the people you love.
- Write down and try to resolve emotional
- Get enough rest.
- Keep warm
If the energy is balanced you will:
- Feel calm and relaxed, but not tired or drained
- Balanced chemicals in the blood (controlled by kidneys) = hormonal balance which controls blood pressure and maintains healthy blood cells and bones
- Maintain normal fluid levels
- Be able to be still / quiet and focused
- Be able to take time to ‘look within’ and resolve emotion issues. This is for self development and ‘recharging’, enabling you prepare for a fresh start in spring.
- Be willing to listen and learn from yourself and others
Source / references
- The Water Element in Five Element Acupuncture. [Online] Available: http://knowledgeshare.hubpages.com/hub/The-Metal-Element-in-Five-Element-Acupuncture. Accessed on: 2014-05-20
- De Waal, C. Seasonal Chart: Fruit and vegetables. [Online] Available: http://www.food24.com/Recipes-and-Menus/Seasonal/Seasonal-chart-fruit-and-vegetables-20130731. Accessed on: 2015-03-25
- Dougans, I. (2005). The 5 elements and their 12 meridians. A unique approach. Thorsons: London. Pages 71 – 87.
- Elias, J. Winter: The Season of Stillness: The Element of Water. [Online] Available: http://fiveelementhealing.net/winter-the-season-of-water-element/ Accessed on: 2015-06-25
- Gumenick, N R. The Institute of Classical 5 element Acupuncture Inc. Cycles: Autumn The Season of Metal Energy. [online] Available: 5element.com/docs/elements/metal.html. Accessed on: 2014-05-21