In the Chinese medicine tradition winter represents the most yin energy of the year, yin being dark, cold, slow types of energy. Winter is also associated with the kidneys, which hold our most basic and fundamental life force. Balanced kidney energy gives us healthy willpower and an ability to act with purpose and direction. Factors that deplete kidney energy are fear, stress, lack of water, excessive alcohol and salt. So it’s not surprising that many people may be feeling flat or depleted this winter after the rollercoaster of 2020.
Now more than ever, we should utilise this time at home to heal and recharge ourselves for the coming spring. Each year the cold winter months bring a new opportunity to retreat a little from the business of life and allow the kidneys their much needed time to rejuvenate and reenergise. This is often because the dark and cold months mean we have more time indoors to reflect and indulge ourselves with self-care practices. The last year has in many ways amplified the potential stressors on our kidney energy but conversely due to ongoing lockdowns we now have ample opportunity to redress kidney imbalances through yin processes.
Luckily, kidney supporting behaviours are ideal for our current lockdown situation. They can include inward-looking practices like meditation, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Or quiet, self-care rituals such as long baths, salt scrubs, using aromatherapy oils, scented candles or eye masks. Of course nourishment comes in many forms and winter/yin foods should be seasonal/root vegetables, broths and stews, cooked long and slow.
Everyone can recreate a wellness space in their home that adds a sense of occasion and luxury, irrespective of space. First, switch off your phone and tune into what you really want. A soothing bath, a pedicure, yoga or maybe meditation with aromatherapy. Set a time for the practice or treatment when you won’t be disturbed. Have fun creating a small and inviting area in the bathroom or bedroom with your favourite products, scents, blankets or wellness tools. If the new practice becomes a regular event then why not invest in some new products that add to the enjoyment.