The temperature is dropping, there is frost on the ground and a draft under the door. Does the cold seem to get into your bones at this time of year? Do you struggle to keep warm, and does your energy seem to drop as a result?
Winter is a time when many of us just want to curl up under duvets and blankets and hibernate, but instead find ourselves rushing between work, family commitments and festive parties. Fatigue and depletion is often just around the corner, with the result that you might find your body struggling to keep your circulation moving and your body temperature up.
Here are some simple things to try that can make a world of difference to how you feel.
1. Warming drinks
Keep up your plain water intake – winter relates to the Chinese water element after all – but try drinking warm water instead of cold. Also add in warming drinks such as ginger tea, and hot almond milk with cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric.
2. Warming foods
‘Tis definitely the season for soups, casseroles and bakes, they seem to create a lasting glow from your tummy to your toes.
Chestnuts, pistachios, lamb, ginger, clove,cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, sage and garlic are all among a group of foods considered in Chinese medicine to be “Yang tonics” and therefore have a warming effect.
So perhaps a lamb and rosemary casserole with garlic and vegetables, or chestnut and vegetable bake with a crunchy pistachio topping.
3. Keep your kidneys, feet and neck warm
Winter relates to the water element, which relates to your kidneys, bladder, brain and bones. Your kidneys and whole lower back area really doesn’t like to be cold, so wear a vest, wrap a scarf round you or get yourself a haramakifor Christmas.
There is a major kidney point on the sole of your feet, so keep that area warm too with woolly socks or a hot water bottle under your feet.
4. Keep moving
Yes, winter is indeed a time for curling up by the fire, but you don’t want to completely stagnate. Gentle daily exercise will help keep your blood and lymph moving, which is important for the flow of nutrients and hormones around your body, for wound healing, for natural detoxification processes and so much more.
So include regular walks, chi kung, yoga, dance – any exercise that gets your heart pumping without depleting your energy and resources.
5. Languish in a warm bath
Hydrating, warming, relaxing and luxurious – what more could you want?
Add ginger, cinnamon or cardamom oil to make it extra warming, as well as candlelight and relaxing music.
Add some seaweed for a kidney nourishing bath that’s fantastic for the skin.
Add Epsom salts to help your muscles relax; Epsom salts also provide both magnesium and sulphate, which you need to make many of your detoxification enzymes.
(Conserve water by sharing your bath or recycling the bath water on your plants or by having shorter showers the rest of the time.)