Humans are intimately connected to the environment and nature. By listening to what nature is telling you and following her cues, you can become happier, healthier, and more peaceful. During the winter months, nature is in her resting season, more quiet and withdrawn. Likewise, it is a time for you to go inside yourself, to be more still and reflective. In the same way that nature is going through a natural cycle of change, you, too, are experiencing this cyclical change internally as well. Don’t be fooled by the stillness of the season. Winter’s power is deep! It is time to conserve energy and resources in preparation for the rapid growth that occurs in spring.

Anxiety, negativity, fear, and depression can become intensified during this sensitive season. These, along with lethargy, irritability, and an inability to express ourselves, and physical coldness are showing an imbalance within you in your ability to transition and adapt to this colder, wetter, darker season. The wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine understands this phenomena and offers many tools to regain your equilibrium and emotional stability, and maintain a happy, healthy body/mind/spirit through any seasonal or life transition.

Winter is the time to relax, slow down, rest, nourish and nurture yourself. Devote more attention to your inner needs and creative side. This is a time for completions, cleaning out mental and physical clutter, endings, going inside yourself and honestly looking at what you need to let go of in order to blossom and experience growth in the spring. When you are too full of clutter, chaos (and the past), there is no room for newness, freshness, growth in your life. Now is the time to LET GO of everything and everyone that does not support your health and happiness.

The shorter, darker days are difficult for some. It’s an opportunity to find your own light. What are the bright spots in your life? What brings you joy, makes you happy? What is working well for you? What does darkness mean to you? Why is it uncomfortable? Answering these questions thoughtfully and honestly will help you turn on your own inner light switch, elevating your moods and your energy.

Helpful Tips

Get outdoors – try cross country or downhill skiing, ice skating, or why not build a snowman? Take regular walks and enjoy the quiet beauty of winter. You can be outdoors in any season as long as you are dressed appropriately. Exercise, especially outdoors, can be both physically and mentally invigorating and uplifting.

Exercise your imagination. Write the story of your ideal life. Be specific, detailed, creative. Get excited about this. Exercise your mind daily by focusing on your vision for your life, and write a step-by-step action plan for actualizing your dreams. Plant new mental seeds and watch them blossom in the spring.

Keep a GRATITUDE JOURNAL. That’s right! Start making a list of everything you are grateful for. Start with the basics – your life, family, friends, for fulfilling work, your home, and your health. Add to this and read it daily. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can be very uplifting and will create an opening within you to have more of what you want manifest in your life. What you focus on MULTIPLIES. If you are constantly complaining and whining to yourself and others (about anything) you will attract more of what we are complaining about. There is no separation between thoughts and reality. Discussing your problems with someone with the intent of finding solutions is always a good thing, and not the same as complaining.

Keep a LAUGHTER JOURNAL – very simple! Carry a notebook with you throughout the day and jot down everything that makes you laugh (smiles count too).  Keep a JOURNAL of thoughts, feelings about yourself and the nature of life.

MUSIC, candles, scents (aromatherapy ) can all create a more pleasant environment. Perhaps this is the time to start taking the music lessons you’ve always talked about or writing that book that’s in your head. Plant a winter indoor garden or visit a florist shop. Why not take a yoga or meditation class, learn to dance or see a play. GET INSPIRED ABOUT SOMETHING OR INSPIRE SOMEONE ELSE. This may be a good time to start some deep body therapy to get at deep emotional levels and revitalize body/mind/spirit.

If you have difficulty adapting to the colder, darker days, there is something out of balance. 5,000 year old traditional healing arts teach that diet has a profound effect on our body/mind/emotion. Foods that cool the body are fruits, sugar, tropical foods, coffee, alcohol, raw food. You may want to minimize or eliminate these and add more hearty cooked bean and vegetable stews, grain dishes, miso soup, cooked root vegetable dishes to activate internal heat. Sugars, (including fruit sugar), alcohol, chemicals, additives and preservatives have a strong negative influence on your mental/emotional state. Try a few weeks without them if you’re feeling anxious, nervous, fearful, depressed, negative? Find something healthy to replace them and it will be easier.

There are many natural solutions to physical/mental/emotional difficulties from nutritional therapy to herbal medicine, aromatherapy and massage. Seek the guidance of a qualified holistic health care professional.

WINTER is a withdrawing, dormant, thoughtful time. Your natural tendency is to slow down in rhythm with the seasons and tend to inner needs. Doing so will create harmony within yourself. The potential for health and happiness in any season lies within yourself. The tools are endless.

Consider some professional guidance for the right nutrition and customized holistic health plan for reversing your health and weight issues, and removing the degenerations that cause them. You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach. Schedule an Introductory Holistic Health and Nutrition session with Deborah Barr, 30-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You’ll be on your way to better health. Sessions can be done by phone, Skype, or at the Pittsburgh office.

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