On the 1st of January, we welcome in a new year and with it, open the pages of a new diary (real or metaphorical), all blank with expectation, inviting us to do something bold and new, a fresh chance to reinvent ourselves or to try new challenges, hobbies etc.
Our brain is game, but rarely is our heart.
We are tired.
Jaded after the crazy energy-sapping build-up of Christmas.
We are in the deep mid-winter.
Energy is best conserved.
We feel the need to go within.
We yearn for comfort and nurture.
We make promises, half expecting failure.
It’s the wrong time.
Within a month, even a week, our life looks just as it did prior to Christmas. We have failed. We get back onto the conveyor belt of familiarity, we feel discouraged, little realising that it was simply a matter of timing.
Would it help to know that prior to 1752 in England, the New Year started on March 25th (Lady Day)? This is springtime!! It was only when England switched from the Julian to Gregorian calendars that 1st January was deemed to be the New Year. (E.g. the year 1680 ran from March 25th – March 24th; the year 1751 ran from 25th March – 31st December). Our ancestors, more in tune with the seasons, would have respected winter as a time for taking stock, conserving energy and keeping warm!!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter time belongs to the “Water element”, a time of rest in the year’s cycle. It’s about stillness and quiet (just think of the hush that accompanies freshly fallen snow), and a time to reflect. It’s a vast expanse of possibility, from which inspirational creative thoughts can come to us, if only we allow ourselves the time and space for something new.
The Water element also corresponds to flow. A good flow of energy physically, mentally and emotionally is what we need to enjoy the best health possible during this period. Drinking plenty of water and eating water-rich foods enables this, as well as taking gentle exercise.
Here are a few thoughts on how to nurture yourself during the lead up to the real “New Year”!!
* Be gentle with yourself.
* Stay warm, but don’t hibernate!! Wrap up warmly when you go out, especially in vulnerable areas. A hat, neck scarf, thick socks, and even a scarf around your kidney area are musts.
* Nourish yourself with warming foods and drinks. Drink plenty of water. Warm water is best. Eat water-rich foods, such as stews and soups. Include lots of fruit and vegetables, lightly stewed or as part of a vegetable soup.
* Take gentle exercise to get your circulation going and stimulate your lymph (which plays a big part in immunity).
* Enjoy warm baths with Epsom salts to help relax. I find this is a great way to tune into the Water element (I get my best thoughts in the bath!!).
* Use the time to reflect. Allow ideas to pop up, but don’t act just yet. Jot them down on paper. Allow them time to percolate and mature.
* Conserve energy.
* Stock up on zzzzzzzzzzzzzs.