Brrr! As the nights draw in and we enter ‘flu season’ it can be easy to be convinced that we need to spend this time of year feeling tired, depleted or even ill. However, in my experience with the right approaches we can stay healthy through the colder seasons and actually use this time as a time to nurture and replenish before spring.
According to Taoist (ancient Chinese philosophy) our bodies are inextricably connected to nature, the elements and the seasons and we can use this awareness to keep ourselves well and happy. The theory goes that our emotional, physical and spiritual levels of wellness can be sourced back to our connection with balance and nature, with emotions being located in the major organs of the body: Heart, Lungs, Liver, Spleen and Stomach, Kidneys, and Gallbladder. The more nourished we are, the more chi (life force, energy) will flow.
Autumn is connected to the season of the the Lungs and skin. We associate it with a time of melancholia which is actually rooted in the lungs letting go, releasing and clearing out.
Signs that Lung chi might be depleted:
- Emotionally: depression, grief, regret, heavy emotions, constraint, sadness.
- Physically: asthma, chest problems, coughs, colds, eczema, skin conditions, low vitality, poor immune system.
- Behaviourally: stuckness, unwillingness, negative thinking, hiding from the world.
- Spiritually: feeling like life/things are impossible, constraint, harsh judgement upon self and others.
Ways to nourish the Lung chi:
- Eat: white vegetable and pungent foods: onion, garlic, leek, radish; mushroom; peppermint and spearmint teas and oils; fresh organic foods; foods high in protein.
- Spend time: dancing, walking in fresh air, consciously breathing, listening to new music, embracing new relationships, dry-skin brushing, respecting yourself and others boundaries, valuing yourself.
- Immerse yourself in: release, elimination, clutter clearing, comedy, joy, laughter, new relationships.
- Emotionally: letting go, establishing healthy boundaries, joy, nurturing opportunities for renewal.
Winter is connected to the season of the Kidneys. If Kidneys could have their way we would spend wintertime resting, nurturing ourselves, embracing stillness and going deep within.
Signs that Kidney chi might be depleted:
- Emotionally: anxiety, panic, worry, fear.
- Physically: adrenal fatigue, infertility, tiredness, exhaustion, depletion, inflammation, feeling ‘old’, poor concentration, sexual problems, high blood pressure.
- Behaviourally: workaholism, busyness, unable to stop, addiction to phone and electromagnetic.
- Spiritually: feeling lost/afraid, avoiding slowing down, avoiding the bigger picture.
Ways to nourish the Kidney chi:
- Eat: A wide variety of foods rather than the same thing repeatedly; salty foods such as miso soup, himalayan salt; blue and black foods e.g. black beans, blueberries; seafood; sesame seeds; barley and millet; asparagus; dark green leafy vegetables, seaweed.
- Spend time: ‘being’ vs doing: sleeping, baths, early nights, less talking, silence, time off electromagnetic, meditating, restorative yoga, napping, reading, being creative.
- Visit: steam rooms, sauna, swimming, drinking lots of water, spending time by rivers, the sea and lakes. Kidneys represent the element of water and increasing its presence during this season will promote feelings of calm.
- Emotionally: nurturing opportunities for silence, meditation, simplicity, calm, peace, acceptance.
EFT to support
Often nicknamed “emotional acupuncture” EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or ‘Tapping’ as it is also known, is a fantastic resource for shifting stuck emotions, stale chi and releasing the difficult feelings often sitting underneath external challenges. The 14 major energy meridians flow through the organs and are stimulated through light acupressure on particular points and EFT has been found to have 80% clinical effectiveness.
EFT is an easy and great way to move through the more difficult emotions that can particularly arise in Autumn and Winter, such as grief, depression and anxiety and in one hour-long session you can learn the basics of EFT for self-application to help shift and nourish your chi and vitality. Please feel free to contact me for more information or for any comments or questions on the above.