January can be a tough month with short days, endless grey skies and for many, lockdown for the third time. Naturally we should be hibernating and turning in a bit earlier during this time. As we approach February we are seeing hints of spring in the UK, the snow drops are up with there beautiful white buds poking out in clumps scattered throughout the hedgerows. We too can follow this example of slowly moving outward.
We have transitioned from the deepest of yin days on December 21st, winter solstice. Energy slowly shifts toward yang as we head toward the summer solstice on June 21, 2021. Here are a few suggestions to boost your yang energy for spring.
Bundle up and exercise outdoors. Make this a daily routine. A vigorous walk for 20 – 30 minutes will increase your exposure to the sun and get your energy (qi) moving. Aerobic exercise increases dopamine, this neurotransmitter stabilises mood. Have a friend who struggles to get out? Buddy up in a social distanced way to cement a daily routine. As an alternate try one to two days per week with a weight training session. No need to go to the gym, get your self a resistance band or a soup can. Lifting weight shifts your shape quickly as well as keeping low moods at bay.
Try to eat your dinner a bit earlier
If you are tending to go to sleep a bit earlier, eat dinner earlier! This gives your digestive system more time to do the work of transportation and transformation. If we eat too late especially as we age, our meal has less time to transform. A walk after dinner is a great idea. Get a head torch and pop out for a walk, you will be amazed at how calming it is to look at the night sky after a warming meal. Try eating from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
Beat the grey days!
Our circadian clock is in tune with the amount of sun during day we need. When we go through longer periods grey days our clock starts to fall out of sync at approximately 10 minutes per day! So our bodies timings can get out of touch. Symptoms such as a low mood, catching more colds, a poor nights sleep and up & down eating might be a few signs the grey days aren’t great for you. Purchase a SADS lamp. Sit in the light during the morning to early afternoon, any later you will confuse your circadian rhythm. Lamps are quite affordable these days, you want a minimum of 2,500 lux but really aim for a 10,000 lux which will reduce your time in-front of the light.
Eat warm cooked meals
The winter is a time to eat food & drink which is warm in temperature as well as warm energetically. All foods in chinese dietary therapy have an energetic action. Eating cold raw foods should be saved for warmer months in the UK. Why? These types of foods slow your digestive system down resulting in many health issues such as tiredness, low energy, weight gain, bloating, bowel issues and much more. They way you cook a meal can also determine it’s energetic level. Steaming & stir fry provide a warming dish as well moisture for the body, while roasting creates warmth as well, it tends to reduce the amount of fluids in your meal. Grab your quick guide to yang boosting foods in the PDF bonus Yang Boosting Foods (click on the button below):
Of course I mention this quite a bit with fertility clients but it’s an important tip for everyone! Dress properly for the season of winter. Chinese medicine theory equates feeling cold to feeling lassitude! Keep your home at 18 to 21C, donÃ¢â‚¬™t skimp on heat, it is only causing ill health. The NHS says this in its article about beating the winter blues: “Being cold makes you more depressed. It’s also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half.”