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In the wisdom of Chinese medicine, it is by living in unison with nature that we experience greater harmony with our bodies and ourselves. Because we are part of nature, being observant of its cycles has us learn about ourselves. In order to find harmony and thrive we first have to balance our physiology and activities in accordance with the climate.
A. Recharging our energy in Winter time: some happy ways to hibernate! 1. Seize the light Getting all the light we can is key: preferably outside in the sun or using a light lamp if needed to help with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder.) Decorating our home with colorful lights even before Christmas helps expose us to more joyful light. Let us be inspired by the spirit of Diwali, the Indian celebration at the end of October, that celebrates the triumph of Light over Darkness ! As DJ Kyos puts it: “Happy Diwali. May your life turn up to be Lit everyday”
2. Nurturing Warmth When we feel warm, our parasympathetic system (the relaxation part of our autonomous nervous system, opposite to fight or flight) takes over and puts us in resting and recovery mode, which is essential to recharging our energy! As we saw in the first part of this article, the purely physical states FEEL similarly to our body as corresponding emotions. So on the positive side, while we cultivate warmth and light in our physiology, we are opening ourselves up to emotions that we experience just the same: comfort, bright and warm hearted feelings allow for us to relax and let our true desires emerge spontaneously, which isn’t an option in survival mode.
A few ways to get our body temperature up: - Exercising: whenever possible, exercising outdoors is a wonderful way to get both light and warmth while strengthening our heart and immune system. Hiking, running near trees as well as skiing or surfing allow us to enjoy the wonders of nature. - Warming drinks and foods: while so called “comfort foods” are often too heavy with excess of fats or sugar and create unbalance in our bodies leading to excess of toxins and weight, there are plenty of healthy, comforting, nutritious and delicious foods to choose from! For more information see: http://www.chloelabare.com/cleansing-foods.html. For winter, besides root vegetables that make a wonderful base for stews and soups, there are also healthy alternatives to sugar such as Monk fruit or Stevia for those who have a sweet tooth! - Taking a warm shower or a bath: this is the simplest way to cleanse effectively as the warm water opens up our pores and flushes out toxins. It also increases blood circulation and helps remove pain-causing chemicals that build up in tissues. As a result, muscle pain goes away faster. Immersing our body in warm water, reminiscent of being in the womb, can provide the safest, soothing way to unwind at the end of the day. - Sitting by a fire: a warming, soul lifting and hypnotically relaxing experience that has also shown in a study by the University of Alabama to lower blood pressure and facilitate positive social interactions.
3. Cultivating warmth and light in yourself and with loved ones These times more than ever, show how essential and precious our bond is to loved ones: Practicing compassion for the challenges of any given relationship and gratitude for its gifts allow us to generate a positive field of attraction and kindness where meaningful bonds can grow. While indoor gatherings are not safe at this time, we can create opportunities for wonderful intimate or playful times via an old style phone call or by “hanging out” on a video call. I bet we will have plenty of fun holiday backgrounds to choose from : )