How are you feeling?? As we make the official descent into the darkest nights for the next couple weeks, we are also wrought with holiday shopping, family in town, colder weather, and even what some consider the toughest time of year on the immune system. I thought it would be a good time to EXPOSE some winter MYTHS for you so you can enhance your darkest days with wisdom and wellness. Do we REALLY need to worry about our WINTER WELL BEING? Or our we designed perfectly to match up with the season and its energetics? Here are some of the TOP winter wellness MYTHS to explore, and then move into the season with GUSTO feeling better than ever.
Myth #1: Can you catch a cold by getting cold? FALSE ~ A famous Chinese Medicine saying, "Dress for the season, not the day.", has always been my rule of thumb. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for a long time and it definitely provides some brilliant wisdom. Being in the elements poses no problems directly to our health, in fact it is invigorating and energizing to be outside even during the winter. The only concern is if we are exposed to cold and wind, especially in a few target areas, we are weakened to on coming pathogens.
The wind gate it is often used to talk about the entire back of the neck and upper back. According to TCM, external pathogens enter the body through the wind gate. In other words, we are most susceptible to environmental forces such as wind when our necks are exposed to the elements.
Invasion by wind can lead to those all-too-familiar cold and flu symptoms — chills, fever, body aches, runny nose, congestion, and cough. This vulnerability is increased if we also go outside with damp hair or do other things to impair our immune system responses (poor diet, inadequate rest, lack of exercise, drink too much alcohol, etc…). **Cover the back of your neck, find some cozy scarfs to accent your outfits and stay protected!
Myth #2: How is your mood? Are folks sinking into the deep dark depression of winter more than ever? TRUE ~ It is true that people have a harder time with depression in the colder and darker days, but it doesn't have to be the case for you! WIth just some simple tweeks you can improve your mood during the winter months! The holiday blues or SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Does this sound like you? Try some light therapy, a heavy does of vitamin D, and if it gets unbearable, amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine and glutamine to the rescue to boost up your brain chemistry. Be sure you eat a protein rich diet to build your seratonin, and get enough rest to rebuild and regenerate your energy. Find some magic in the darker nights by lighting a fire, slow cooking your dinner, cozying up with your favorite book and tapping into your creative side with your favorite art project.
Myth #3: Does grandma's chicken soup and homemade ginger tea really do the trick?? TRUE ~ The old wives tales usually have a good story behind them. This is one of those. Warm soups and liquids have a direct impact on your immune system by creating a bringing the white blood cells (aggregation) together to fight off infection and help you feel better faster. These warm fluids can soothe a sore throat, nourish a cold or flu, and warm you up from the inside out!! Need a recipe? Click here for the best 24 hour ginger chicken soup this winter...
Myth #4: Do you really need more sleep during the winter? TRUE ~ Tired? The bears like to hibernate at this time of year, and so should you! You may still have to live out your daily obligations, but it is natural to curl up and snuggle up earlier than in the long summer days. It is organic during winter to rest more and rejuvenate your life force so you are ready for a zestful spring and summer season. Weather or not you NEED more hours of sleep is questionable, but most of us enjoy earlier quiet winter nights and more down time to connect inward.
Myth #5: Do we have to gain those extra few pounds in the winter? TRUE ~ It is true that this is a common phenomenon. We may not get outside as much, or move our bodies as often. We tend to whole up at home more with food a plenty especially over the holidays. Is that what you want for yourself? TRUE.... but not necessary. Following your hunger cues attentively, doing a New Years cleanse, and being sure to move your body regularly will prevent those winter pounds from creeping on. It takes a plan, some good routines, and personal commitment to health and radiance! You CAN do it.