“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” ~Ruth Stout
Winter in the North-East has been mild this year. I can count on my hands the number of times I have had to get the scraper out in the morning and de-ice the windshield. After last year’s torrent of unrelenting freezing cold temperatures and weekly snowstorms I can’t help but be grateful even as I worry about any agricultural repercussions. Winter conjures up fantasies like reading by the fire with a cup of tea or cuddling with a loved one indoors while snowflakes sprinkle down outside the window. How lucky most of us are to be able to have an escape from the wind and cold. To have shelter, hot water, sweaters, mittens and mugs of hot cocoa.
Today we have luxuries like heat so we are not as attuned to the seasonal shifts but our bodies respond whether we are conscious of it or not. Winter is a time for reflection, rest, replenishment, and awareness. Have you noticed yourself wanting to spend more time at home? Expending less energy and more time looking inward? These are the movements of winter. Winter is a time of preparation and planning because soon we will shift into the frenzied momentum of Spring.
For optimum health this time of year use warming spices like ginger, garlic, cinnamon and clove. The diet should be nourishing and substantial. Focus on whole grains, less fruit, and steamed and baked vegetables. Use a humidifier to keep lungs and nasal passages moist to help prevent illness. Prepare warm teas and stews. For breakfast I like quinoa topped with pumpkin seed milk, flax, nuts and cinnamon. Winter in Eastern medicine is the time of water, the kidneys, the bladder, and wisdom. Try to nurture these aspects of yourself this time of year. When we are in balance with winter we keep warm, sleep well, preserve and give. When we are out of balance there is lack of rest, fear, frustration, late nights and hoarding. Explore indoor activities, meditation, and other forms of relaxation. Prepare yourself for all that you want and the activity and movement that is coming.