Out of the sudden it is winter. The mornings are cold and frosty. Nature sleeps, all leaves are gone and it's dark around 4 pm. Time to turn inwards, do less, recharge and enjoy a warm drink by the fireplace.
According to TCM the winter season is energetically linked to our kidney and gallbladder energy. This is the most yin and calm energy we have. The kidney system is in charge of our water metabolism, bones, brain, fertility, hearing, and adrenals (stress management). They act like a battery back to keep our entire body/mind working smoothly.
If we nourish this system in the winter, we feel energetic and can take on anything in the coming year. If the kidney energy starts to run low, your quality of life will become severely affected by illness and low energy.
Our kidney and gallbladder energy loves warmth, sleep and rest. Contrary to what our body needs in the winter, this time is often the most active time of the year. Christmas preparations, finishing targets at work, full social calendars take up a lot of our energy in this period where we should be doing as little as possible.
I have been feeling the downsides of stress in the winter myself, suffering from an ear infection which are directly related to my low kidney energy.
What can you do in this time period to nourish your kidney energy to stay healthy.
1. Take A Break
It is best to follow nature and rest during winter with emotional and physical activity kept to a minimum. Sleep has high priority, more than 7 hours a night are recommended and going to bed before midnight.
2. Eating warm
The water element drives on warm food and warm drinks, ideally for all meals. The best food for our kidneys come from the category of salty and dark foods. Think of bone broth soups, beans, soy sauce, eggplant, eggs, seafood etc. Here is a full list of food that nourishes your kidneys.
3. Meditation and yin cultivating exercises
All yin cultivating exercises like meditation, Qi Gong or Do-In yoga are great to nourish our kidney energy system.
Here is a easy exercise for your kidneys:
March in Place: Imagine your feet are very heavy and start to slowly stomp your feet into the ground. Do this for 4-5 min each day. This will activate the kidney meridian which starts at the sole of your feet.
You can also activate your kidney meridian by holding acupressure point "Kidney 1" for at least 1 min a day. You will find this point at the sole of your feet, 1/3 the distance of your foot between the long bones of your 2nd and 3rd toes.
It is the only meridian point at the sole of the foot and is a major energy vortex.
This point is often stimulated during meditation as this point will ground you.
You can also massage your ears as they are the sensory organ connected to the kidney. You can find an easy ear massage in my blog here.
Stay healthy and enjoy this winter season.