The holidays can be wonderful, exciting and festive with lots of parties, friends, family and celebration. But even the happiest elf can become exhausted and overwhelmed by all the running around associated with the holiday season. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as in nature, winter is the time of slowing down and going deep within. Take a look at how nature reacts to the winter months. Most animals hibernate or at the very least, become less active and conserve their energy. And plants become dormant until the warmth of the spring sun cues them to bloom again. People are the same way. During the winter months, people usually prefer to stay inside by a warm fire instead of staying out late or going to parties. So why not follow nature’s lead? If you’re feeling tired and worn down during the last few days and weeks of the year, listen to your body. Take time out for yourself. Conserving your life force energy or qi and following the path of Mother Nature will ultimately help you stay healthier and live a longer life. Here are some things to consider that will help you survive the hectic yet joyous holidays.
1. Stay warm – Bundling up can help preserve your qi. Especially pay close attention to your neck and legs. Wear a scarf and warm leggings when going out. When you preserve your qi in this manner, it will help you ward off pathogens and help you stay healthy.
2. Indulge in moderation – This is a good tip for the whole year, but especially during the winter months when we tend to be not as active. If you want to avoid gaining the holiday weight, only eat to about 75% capacity. Limiting your intake of sugary cookies, cakes and drinks can help conserve your stomach’s energy, which is crucial for good metabolism. It’s also better to lean towards warm and cooked foods versus raw foods. The warm foods also help your stomach function better. The stomach in TCM, helps replenish qi, so we always need to keep our tummies happy. Spiced hot apple cider is a perfect choice for those cold winter nights.
3. Minimize holiday stress – Stress is a huge factor in our lives and it can sometimes multiply tenfold during the holidays. And because of that, you should look for ways to limit your stress. Finding constructive and practical ways to de-stress will help you conserve your qi. Working out, meditation, yoga or even a good hearty yell are all ways to relieve stress during the holidays. Relieving stress is particularly good for the liver, which is the organ that is most affected by stress in TCM. And the liver is a key player for metabolic health. So do your liver a favor and find a way to de-stress that works for you.
So why not give it a try? There’s really nothing to lose. Just follow nature’s lead and you’ll remain happy throughout the holidays and all year round. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!