Winter is the quietest, and most ‘yin’, period of the year. It’s a time when light is limited, nature is dormant, yet quietly building up resources ready to fuel the burst of spring energy. There’s a strong argument to suggest that we should be doing exactly the same!
It’s easy to blaze ahead with new year plans and resolutions. Tempting to take on new challenges and over commit to activities. However, this is also a time that it’s easy for our batteries to become flat; to quickly run down to zero at which point our bodies are forced to rest as we become susceptible to illness and injury.
In traditional Chinese medicine, winter is associated with the ‘water’ element. Water is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands. Part of the job of these organs is to store all of the reserve energy (Qi) in a person’s body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and to age gracefully. Kidneys are considered the source of all energy (Qi) within the body.
What does rest mean?
Rest does not mean sleep. It’s about taking quality time out, physically and mentally, before your body forces you to. We live in a society that glorifies the busy, worships productivity and we are conditioned to think busy and ‘doing’ is always good. So it’s quite a revolutionary act to ‘not do’.
“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol” Brene Brown
Here are some of our ideas for keeping you rested:
- Naturally a ‘do-er’? Add ‘rest’ to your ‘to do list’
- Incorporate a regular Yoga Nidra or Meditation to your daily routine. We are big fans of www.yoganidranetwork.org. There are free nidras that you can access on their site.
- Break up your exercise schedule with a Yin Yoga or Restorative class or even let resting become your new fitness programme for the remaining winter weeks! One positive of COVID is that many classes are now accessible from your home.
- Remove technology from your bedroom.
- Keep your diet full of slow energy release, grounding and warms foods, oats are particularly nourishing for the nervous system.
- Baths, baths, baths!
- Book in for a nurturing treatment (Reflexology/Acupuncture/Holistic Massage/Craniosacral Therapy)
One of our acupuncturists, Ric Malkinson, recommends resting at times when actually you really don’t feel like you need it, times when you aren’t actually tired. Perhaps a mid morning 10 minute meditation as a way to to really supercharge your body? Traditional Chinese Medicine advises for people in winter to go to sleep early and rise late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves a person’s own yang energy (Qi) for the task of warming when the weather is colder