Since we were kids, we have heard about winter hibernation, how the bears crawl into their caves and sleep for the season. We hear from wellbeing practitioners and read in magazines that we should slow down in winter and hibernate. But do we really understand why?
I don't know about you but I much prefer to understand how something works and the reasoning behind it, so I can truly integrate it into my life and appreciate why I am doing it. Hibernation was one of our tips in the last health and beauty post Five Ways to Winter Wellness but this week we are delving further into the importance of hibernation in winter and we're chatting with Amanda Adey, Melbourne kinesiologist, who is giving us her tips from a Medical Intuitive and Chinese Medicine perspective. Not sure what kinesiolgy is? Have a look at Amanda's website to learn more but in a nutshell kinesiology is the art and science of energy balancing. Through the art of muscle testing, a kinesiologist is able to find imbalances in our body - whether it be physical, emotional, structural, chemical or spiritual - and restore that balance.
"The body has its own natural rhythms, which are attune to the seasons. You only have to watch nature and animals to see this more closely in action"
Amanda tells us that specific organs and glands are affected at different times of the year according to Chinese medicine. Both Chinese Medicine and Medical Intuitive systems teach you to live in harmony with the seasons.
Autumn was the harvest the completion.
Winter is all about the season of beginnings. It has a Yin aspect to this season. Yin is the dark, cold, slow, inward energy.
Things you may wish to consider as we head into winter, the season to hibernate.
From a Medical Intuitive perspective~
Thymus - this gland is connected to your energy storage and plays a vital role in your immune system. Is it time for change?
Gall bladder - Planning and organizing. You may have new decisions to make as you reflect and go inward over winter.
Heart - Time to look at your emotions and love for self. Make plans to slow down and nurture you. Look after your heart and reflect on your needs. Get in touch more with you!
Liver – Plan ahead and make those new decisions for spring.
From a Chinese medicine perspective
Winter is associated with kidneys and the water element and emotions.
The kidneys contain the root energy of all your organs and spark the energy of the whole body. Make sure your lower back is warm where your kidneys reside.
What will weaken your Kidneys over winter – Physical overwork, mental overwork, lack of relaxation, long hours of work, excessive mental work, lack of appropriate physical exercise, drug and alcohol use, chronic illness and poor nutritional habits including eating hurriedly and skipping meals. Not dealing with your emotions of fear and anxiety.
Don’t do this in winter!
A classic Kidney pattern is the type A personality that goes and goes and goes, until they collapse and we end up with a chronic fatigue pattern. This is why you need to look after your kidneys especially in winter.
Winter is a time to go in, get in touch, and withdraw more into you. Slow down, process, reflect, meditate and journal.
Amanda suggest to reflect and ask yourself some questions. What has just gone on in your life this year? How was the last 6 months? Ask your self, what worked for you what didn’t? What excited you, what needs to be left behind, moved forward, revamped, released etc.
You have harvest in summer and completed in autumn.
If you don’t have this time to hibernate and self-nurture, Amanda stresses, the thymus, which is connected to your immunity and life energy, will be depleted and you may get sick with a cold and be forced to slow, recoup and examine your life, similar to your kidney health. I know for myself, I rarely get sick, maybe only once a year but it is usually in winter when I continue to push through and not slow down enough to rest and listen to my body.
"If you keep going and push through this time you may be making decisions from no choice and just creating without being consciously aware. Also, if you don’t fill yourself back up and feel replenished, come spring you may not be ready to birth any new ideas, as you are still exhausted and in recover mode and may miss this season all together as your in catch up mode.
Like the animals and nature go into hibernation it’s good for us humans to also use this season to reflect and be more in our Yin our inner energy too."
Spring is all about new beginnings, in nature you watch new plants come to life, animals being born, bulbs flowering. And it's the same for us. We also "spring into life. This is where new ideas are put out to the world, ones we have been slowly working on over winter, simmering away during hibernation.
If you stop and listen to nature, you will be guided in how to live. And this is why I love seasonal eating
If you think about winter vegetables, they are all root vegetables. They sink into the ground and spread their roots, grounding themselves into the soil and creating foundations. This is what we, as humans, also need. During winter feast on roasted root vegetables to ground yourself. If you do eat meat, make sure to add bone broths into your diet for kidney and bone energy. Salads are wonderful but they are above ground foods, and perfect for our summer energy. Instead create root vegetable salads, made from pumpkin, parsnip and sweet potato. Treat yourself to warming rhubarb crumbles and make tea from ginger and turmeric. Sink in to warming chills, soups and stews to ground yourself.