2 June 2020 - While in spring the seeds sprout and the sun heats the earth, in winter nature crawls back into the soil and people are doing the same thing; intuitively we turn inside ourselves during winter. Winter is a time to slow down and gather energy for when the spring comes back. The Chinese element that dominates during the winter is Water. So don't be surprised if you feel tense and tired, because this is exactly what happens when your water element is out of balance. 

Traditional Chinese medicine suggests that there are five elements in nature that cycle in phases through the seasons and our organs: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The Chinese see these elements as the foundation within the universe. In every every season another element dominates; during the winter months Water dominates. If your Water element is balanced, you feel calm and more relaxed. But when your water element is not in balance, you can experience, for example, tense muscles, sore (cold) feet, bladder infections and yes….mood swings. So it is absolutely not surprising if you are not in your optimal flow during winter. To make you more happy and calmer these months you can always try to nourish your water element.

Winter diet
If we talk about Qi, this is the underlying principal of traditional Chines medicine, but simply said it is your life energy. Your Qi can have major impacts in how you feel and live your daily life. You can increase the amount of Qi that flows through your body with the right nutrition. The Chinese attaches importance to the thermal effect of food. Nutrition can be roughly divided into heating and cooling nutrients. Warming nutrients get your body moving, warm it up and help break down waste. You can think about pepper, cinnamon, cloves, carrot, fennel and onion. Cooling nutrients are helping to relax your body and make it cooler. For example, fruit, yogurt, leafy vegetables, cucumber and water. According to Chinese, you need both cooling and warming nutrients to function optimally. Now it's getting colder outside it will be smart to follow a winter diet. Warming food such as mushrooms on toast for breakfast, a soup for lunch and stews for dinner are a perfect diet during these months. If you want to receive some recipes, follow us on Insta and Facebook. Every Tuesday our naturopath Nat gives you great tips and recipes. 

Slow down
Of course, as a person you cannot hibernate like some animals do, but you can certainly slow down. Then you can save and store your energy which you can use when spring comes back. You can try to go to bed earlier in the winter (every hour you sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep!) and get up a little later if possible. This calms your mind and keeps you mentally balanced. 

Keep your feet warm
According to traditional Chinese medicine, it is extremely important to keep your feet nice and warm, especially in winter. The acupuncture points at the bottom of your feet are closely connected to your organs. When your feet get cold you are extra prone to colds, flu and other winter ailments. What helps is warming your feet 2 to 3 times a week with a foot bath of 41 - 42 degrees Celsius. You can put a relaxing and essential oil in this bath. A warm foot bath before bedtime reduces the time to fall asleep (double win). If you're not going to bed straight after your foot bath, keep your feet warm with socks. 

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