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How to Embrace the Winter Elements & Stay Healthy

How to Embrace the Winter Elements & Stay Healthy

I recently caught up with holistic health counselor Brandon Waloff about his Winter Health Reset Program. Here are his insights about how aligning with the season promotes greater wellbeing both physically and emotionally.


So here we are… the official first day of winter. It’s a season I’ve come to grow and love. However, I know for some of you “loving winter” might sound sarcastic. I get it.

The winter is supposed to be dark, quiet, still, lonely and cold. But did you know that according to Chinese 5-Element theory, we should use these defining characteristics of winter for our own inner-growth? If you are in the majority of those who struggle with the season, let me shed some light on these dark months to perhaps inspire you to enjoy it more and feel healthy and happy this season.

Its dark: The darkness of winter is here to show us the mysteries of life and our inner, emotional state. In the summer, the sun rules the sky, and it’s about outward play and expression. In the winter, it’s the opposite; the moon rules the sky, and it is here to show us our inward emotional body so we can feel the winter and hopefully understand more of who we are.

Its quiet: What’s that sound? Nothing? That’s right. In winter there seems to be a certain stillness that permeates the landscape. The animals are hibernating, the leaves have fallen off the trees, and there is less outer noise in the environment. According to Chinese 5-Element Theory, the sound and sense organs of winter are the ears, and the actions are listening. Talk less, listen more and notice the stillness around you. Allow this exercise to help you figure out where you want your new year to take you.

Its still: Many things in nature slow down in the winter. And so should we. Again, what happens outside our homes should be a reflection of what should be happening inside them. Don’t exhaust yourself in the winter or you will be off-balance in spring. Take rest early, stay inside, cozy up and drink warm fluids to help nourish the body. The winter is about slowing down.

Its lonely: There’s a reason they call them the “winter blues.” Seasonal change can be tough. But what if we could allow ourselves to create a healthy relationship with feeling lonely and blue? Practice journaling, drawing, pondering, feeling and intuiting your inner emotions by creating a healthy relationship with them. What really is happening in this season is the completion and start of a year-long cycle. Take note of what you want to create and what you want to let die. Feel it all and let go of anything that doesn’t serve you.

Its cold: For most of us, it’s cold out there and we have to eat in accordance with the season. Eating more fats, carbohydrates and proteins as well as eating warming stews and soups with root vegetables is key! At the same time, avoid cooling foods and don’t over-indulge in sugar, alcohol or holiday party snacks. Excessive behavior is not for the winter.

Good luck this winter and make sure you are gentle and easy with yourself. It can be a rough journey, but the good news is, spring is around the corner.

Brandon Waloff is passionate about a lot of things. A holistic health counselor from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, he has been studying what he calls The Food Journey,–the effects of different diets and seasonal shifts. Besides being a health coach, he has worked all around the natural product industry, studied yoga and dances regularly at Ecstatic Dance in Oakland, CA. Currently, Brandon is developing projects geared around his creative images, like the ones in this blog, that support his projects, The Health Crunch and  The Winter Health Reset Program (which is perfect for anyone who struggles with winter).

 

 

 

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , , , , , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

85 comments

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7:19PM PST on Jan 7, 2014

Let me see, last week my region was colder than the South Pole, then it warmed up to a balmy 32F, snowed and hours after that we had freezing rain which was followed by a day of pouring rain. The evening gave us a Flash Freeze and Wind Chill Warning of -40. It was entertaining to look at at car tires partially covered up in water and wonder what the scene would look like after the water flash froze to ice. Such fun trying to move the car after that. Some people put their cars up on blocks to work on it but they were not thinking of tires encased in ice blocks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imPDpED7V3g

Hopefully, Aleisha D will send me her winter since Australia has really harsh winters with wonderful hammock weather where it does not go from -40 and then 32 above and then -40 in a few short days.

1:17AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

I LOVE winter!

1:16AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

I LOVE winter!

12:41AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

Thank you :)

8:51PM PST on Jan 2, 2014

Today was a frosty and rather freezing day and evening. It is very true Megan M, hibrrrnation sometimes works. Today it was colder here than at the South Pole, so I went for a walk tonight and then Winnipeg (aka Winterpeg) was colder than the day time temperature on Mars. Dress warmly for the winter walk tonight, I did. My neighbour had to get something out of her car and she did not bother to wear a coat outside. Well, I was out for much longer, so I did have to bundle up or get frostbite.

7:28AM PST on Dec 28, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:12PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

So very true Megan M, so very true. Instead I trekked through knee deep snow on a walk for three hours...should have grabbed some snowshoes.

At least some friends got their power back on after nine days of not having it so they can now come out of hibrrrnation.

8:59PM PST on Dec 25, 2013

Good article and so true. Winter is the time to go within, to reflect, to be grateful and dream, hibernate, journal, read and sleep and nurture yourself. Be warm and cozy!

11:18PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Quite a number of people are now embracing winter, or rather winter is busily giving them the chilly and freezing embrace as they have been without power for days and days since the ice storm. Looks like they will be embracing Christmas without power including some people that I know. It's annoying and inconvenient to be without power in the summer when it is hot and humid but even more annoying when it's freezing cold. May all those presently without power, soon get it back and be warm once again.

6:49PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Thanks

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