Winter is a time to SLOW Down

Winter is a time of YIN. That means that Winter is a time to Slow Down, Rest, and Recuperate.  If you look out the window at Nature you can clearly see that Nature is preparing to go to sleep and recharge in a long Winter Nap.  We should do the same.  We are not bears that need to sleep for 3 months, but we do need to sleep more in the winter time.  It is Normal to be more tired than usual in the winter time. There is less sunshine, therefore you will be less active naturally and your brain will naturally produce more Melatonin.  This is Normal!  It does not mean you have depression.  

Seasonal Depression does have the symptoms of being more fearful of the end of the world coming, feeling doomsday feelings when the sun goes down, having a hard time mentally accomplishing anything like balancing a checkbook or buying groceries.  I have experienced this in the past and finally completely overcame it by taking Vitamin D3.  It worked in a couple days. Vitamin D3 is a Yin vitamin.

When we are lacking Yin, or lacking all the trace minerals and Nutrition that are Yin, then you may experience the symptoms of Seasonal Depression, or trouble sleeping, or Symptoms of ADHD and trouble focusing on one thing. These problems are happening more and more because of a total disregard in the United States culture for anything and everything Yin.  The US culture pushes everything that is Yang such as everything aggressive, loud, and fast- Coffee, chocolate, soy, corn, grain diets(all breads, pastas, cereal, cake, cookies, noodles), late nights at the bar, fast cars, working excessively long hours, exciting amusement parks, loud music concerts, fighting, constant competition, pesticides, genetically modified foods, synthetic fertilizers, blood thirsty video games and movies. Everything I just listed is in the excessive Yang category. Too much Yang will hurt you and will burn up your Yin extremely fast, shortening your life span.  A normal amount of Yang is Summer Sunshine, moderate exercise, working on a worthy project, learning to play a musical instrument. 

A good way to Understand what is the difference between Yin and Yang is to look at an oil lamp.  The oil within the lamp is the Yin. The flame is the Yang.  You have to take time regularly to replenish the oil in the lamp, Yin, in order to continue to have a flame, Yang.  If you turn up the flame to burn too brightly or too hot, then it burns up the oil, Yin, much faster. 

Things that replenish your oil lamp, Yin, is going to bed between 9 pm and 10 pm so that you get enough sleep.  This is important because your brain produces the most melatonin between 8pm and 10 pm depending on the seasons.  After midnight the amount of melatonin steadily decreases.  So go to bed early! Also eat breakfast, such as eggs or potatoes.  If you don't eat breakfast then don't expect to have much strength throughout the day. You wouldn't expect your car to run if the gas tank is on empty. Your body works the same way.   

Some Yin nourishing foods are tubers that grow beneath the dirt such as potatoes.  The darker the color of the potato the more Yin it has such as purple potatoes or red skinned potatoes, Sweet potatoes, red-purple beets, carrotts.  Squash which is a winter time food is very good for nourishing Yin and helping strengthen your kidneys.  So pumpkin, winter squash, yellow squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, even watermelon. Anything in the squash family will strengthen your kidneys which are more affected in the winter.  Also we need the fat soluble vitamins D3 which is found in cold water fish such as salmon, duck, and goat milk and goat meat and sheep meat. These meats are also warming and therefore good if you get cold easily in winter.  And the best wintertime vegetable is Cabbage, boiled or steamed.  Cabbage comes ripe in the winter because it is a winter crop and great for your body in the winter.  You might ask, well isn't squash a vegetable?  No, Squash is a fruit.  It is a very good fruit, you should eat lots of squash to strengthen your kidneys and Nourish Yin, but you still need to eat GREEN vegetables and the best wintertime vegetable is cooked Cabbage.  

Winter time is Not the time to start a new exercise routine. Your body is not physically able to do this in the winter time. This is why most people's New Years resolution to start running 5 miles a day starting on January 1 doesn't work.  Since winter is a time of Yin and your body is trying to rest and recuperate, then your blood will be more in your internal organs and less in your external muscles.  The same thing goes for the night time.  Night time is Yin so most of your blood goes into your internal organs to rest, digest, and replenish. During the day time which is Yang, then your blood goes out to your skeletal muscles so that you can do physical work.  This is the reason why you feel absolutely miserable when you wake up on January 2nd at 5 AM and go push yourself to do exercises that your body is not even used to doing.  And then you pull a muscle and hurt like hell and then you quit exercising and hate exercising and never go back to the gym.  You pulled muscles and hurt like hell because there was no blood in your skeletal muscles to be able to do those physical activities.  All the blood was in your internal organs because you just crawled out of bed 15 minutes ago.  And then after the exercise then you want to eat breakfast?  But then the food doesn't digest very well because you have viciously forced the blood to run out to the skeletal muscles so there is not enough blood in the internal organs to digest the food properly or even have strength for the bowels to be able to excrete a healthy bowel movement.  And then this eventually leads to constipation and bloating.  That is why some people are still bloated even though they work out alot.  So much about digestion and exercise in the US is out of balance and bass ackwards.  

If you want to start a new exercise program, start it in April, May or June when the Earth as a whole is moving towards a normal time of Yang.  And when you wake up in the morning drink your water, eat your breakfast and have your bowel movements in the morning when all your blood is still in your internal organs.  Then wait a couple hours.  The best times to exercise is between 10 am and 4 pm. I know most people work but you could exercise when you get home from work. Or on a break.  

Being in tune with the seasons, and what your body is doing from night to day and from Yin Season to Yang Season will help you to be able to be more in tune with when is a good time to rest and when is a good time to start new activities and also to live a fuller, healthier, longer life.