3 Easy Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter:

Stay hydrated! It is easy to forget about hydration when the temperature is cooler. Dry indoor heating, sweat from running around in heavy coats, drinking more warm, caffeinated drinks and alcohol at holiday events can all lead to dehydration. In a similar fashion to plants, our cells lose buoyancy when they lack sufficient water and will begin to function at sub-optimal levels. This can cause us to look and feel sluggish, just like the wilted leaves of an under hydrated plant.

 Keep warm! Even if it stays above freezing, it is important to be mindful of the more vulnerable parts of our bodies as our energy moves inward during this season. Keep your neck, ankles and low back covered. Haramakis, or Japanese belly warmers, are a great way to stay cozy without adding the bulkiness of heavy layers. Woven, natural material feels best. Eat warming foods and reduce your intake of raw food such as salad, especially if you have loose bowel movements. You can also add warming spices to your foods and drinks. Ground cardamom or cinnamon can easily be sprinkled on warm drinks or morning porridge.

Take it easy! Social calendars become jammed at the end of the year. Be selective and choose activities that leave you feeling joyful and rejuvenated rather than exhausted. Celebrate yourself!  It is the perfect time to take stock of all you have accomplished, big and small, over the past year.

Welcome, Winter Solstice!

Ask any acupuncturist from SF to New York City and he or she will tell you of the many health challenges that come with the winter season. Fluctuating temperatures, cold damp weather one day and bone dry conditions the next, frigid nights mixed with over-heated interiors, all contribute to a complicated scenario! It is especially important during the winter months to stay conscious of the season’s essence so that we can stay focused and healthy.

Chinese medicine recognizes that quiet and cool energy is at its peak during the winter. Just as trees and fields become bare to reserve vitality for the spring growing season, we can best serve ourselves and others by drawing inward, both in our actions and thoughts. Reflecting on ourselves and the past year, it is the perfect time to meditate on which practices and routines make us truly happy and which need to be let go. It is not necessary to take action, but rather to store up energy and make a solid, realistic plan that can come to fruition in the warmer months.

It is normal for feelings of fear or anxiety to come to the surface during self reflection. Fear is the emotion that is associated with winter because it was, traditionally, our most vulnerable time of year when food was scarce and temperatures low. Even if we aren’t worried about food or shelter, fear can arise more acutely in the colder months. Knowing that this emotional experience is universal and a natural part of the life cycle can help us to recognize it, accept it, and eventually, move past it.