Winter – A Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective

Winter is characterised by short cold days and long dark nights. Growing has stopped and the harvest is over. Animals bulked up by Autmn’s feast retreat, hibernate and live off what has been stored. A quietness and stillness descend upon the land. Seeds beneath the ground wait quietly for Spring’s call to grow again. 

Winter is the most Yin time of year. Yin is dark, wet, slow and quiet. It recedes and receives. It is a time of rest which allows for repair and replenishment. It is a necessary balance to Summer’s extreme Yang activity of growing and expanding, its brightness, heat, and frenetic activity. Yang spends and Yin restores. Each needs the other to do its job. 

My message to you during this Yang month of planning, shopping, wrapping, partying, cooking, traveling and being very busy is to not ignore the urge to rest. Today’s pace of life is demanding. We tend to fill our time with obligations and activities. Celebrating Christmas (over weeks) amplifies this very Yang lifestyle. We are expected to Be Productive and feel guilty if we aren’t. As demonstrated by the seasons there is an absolute requirement to slow down, withdraw, rest and restore after a busy period so that there is energy to move into the next season of growth and expansion. There is a constant shifting from one phase to the next and back again. It is cyclical. Right now, the plants and animals are in their Yin phase of rest, restoration and quiet minimal activity. This prepares them for the next phase of Yang output.  Find the time for you to do the same. Allow your self to relish the quiet, reduce your obligations, rest. Enjoy gentle activity, eat lightly, sleep a lot.  Do this and you will strongly burst forth into your next phase of “getting it done!”

I wish you all a wonderful season of celebrating.  May 2019 bring health and abundance, joy and peace.

Jill McGovan