Welcome Winter by flowing with the Water element
How did you go adjusting your energy for Autumn? Now that it’s officially Ugg Boot, flannel PJ and hot chocolate weather, it’s time to welcome Winter!
In the Chinese five elemental cycle, Winter is the season that relates to the Water element.
The energy of Water is downward, closing, storing, concealing, internal and quiet, and relates to life, death and rebirth.
In Winter, these qualities are reflected in our natural environment.
In colder climates it can be seen in lakes and rivers frozen still.
It is the time when animals are hidden and hibernating in their homes.
It is seen in the trees, bare and skeletal as if dead.
Darkness comes sooner and stays longer, and people are often early to bed and late to rise.
Although the world looks lifeless in Winter, there is actually a lot of work going on inside, underneath and out of sight.
In Autumn we reflected and let go of the unnecessary and reserved only what we needed. Now we can use this time rest, store our energy, allow our system regenerate and build strength.
In the life cycle of the plant, Winter is the seed. The seed needs water for nourishment and cannot sprout until it has gathered enough strength and energy, and we should do the same.
It’s also a time to look into your internal and reflect, contemplate and ponder on where you are and your dreams for the future. The Water element is associated with fear, which, when in balance, is a healthy emotion and helps us to stay alert and ready to tackle challenges ahead. However, when unbalanced, this emotion can take over and become an obstacle in our self-recollection, hindering our ability to move forward with our goals.
To remain in balance physically, emotionally and mentally during Winter, we should follow mother nature’s lead and flow with the water element.
Tips for welcoming Winter
- Turn your home into a cozy, nurturing environment. Light the fireplace and bring out your big, plush doonas, chunky, knitted throws, and soft, fluffy cushions.
- Incorporate warm tones and earthy colours into your decor to balance out the Water energy.
- Follow the sun—go to bed early and sleep in if you can!
- Don’t feel obligated to go out and socialise. If you’re feeling reserved and introverted then listen to your inner hermit as the energy of water supports this.
- Allow yourself to be quiet and still. Meditation is a good way to do this.
- Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and dreams and recognise any fears that arise. Acknowledge and make note of them but avoid over-analysing and resist the urge to act.
- Do gentle exercises with slow, water-like movements that draw a focus to the internal such as tai chi, qi gong and yoga.
- Winter weather is drying on our bodies so we need to try and retain as much water and moisture as possible. Avoid exercise that makes you sweat, stay hydrated and moisturise your skin. Try this recipe for whipped body butter.
- Avoid eating raw and cold food and instead consume foods that have warming properties. This can include root vegetables, rice, oats, dates and coconut, chicken, seafood and black tea.
- Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season such as oranges, mandarins, parsnip, celeriac, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, silverbeet and leeks.
- Cook warming, nourishing meals such as stews, and season them with warming herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, coriander, rosemary nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper.
Don’t resist the natural flow of energy, rather, align yourself with it.