Starting Fresh After the Holidays

We're less than a week away from New Years and many of us are winding down from all the holiday celebrations, gatherings and perhaps some stress. This time of year many are thinking of resolutions, making plans and feeling enthusiastic for the coming year. Others may be feeling depleted and drained. As we pay attention to winter we notice that leaves have fallen from trees, days are shorter and colder. Many animals retreat or hibernate. Instinctually our bodies also crave this sense of hibernation but society would have us believe otherwise. We often feel a sense of obligation to keep going when all we really want to do is retreat.

In Chinese Medicine winter is associated with kidneys and bladder which belongs to the water element. These organs are essential to detoxify our bodies and maintain a strong sense of stored energy. I often think of this energy as our savings account. Once it's gone our bodies begin to weaken. The best way to preserve this vital energy is to allow ourselves to retreat within. It's crucial we get plenty of rest and eat nutritious and warming foods. While doing so we have the opportunity to check in with ourselves. To be introspective.

The best foods to eat this time of year are soups and stews and other cooked foods. Root vegetables are ideal to keep us healthy and grounded. Some delicious ones are beets, turnips and rutabaga. Beans and legumes, such as black, pinto, kidney, azuki and mung beans along with lentils are wonderful.

Going inward doesn't mean to stop moving. In fact, it's so important we maintain regular exercise to keep our immune system and energy strong. In Southern California we're fortunate to have pretty good weather all year. But even if we don't, exercising indoors if it's too cold or wet outside is always an option.

If you choose to make a New Years resolution be easy on yourself. Perhaps something like being present more in your life, showing kindness to others or looking into a new change in your life is a good place to start.

Most of all, remember to be kind and gentle with yourself.

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