3 ways to shake off the winter blues

February 4, 2015


According to Chinese medicine, hibernation, exercise and soup could be the solution to the winter blues. Let me explain…



According to Chinese medicine, winter is the time when we should withdraw into ourselves, allowing our deepest inner reserves to coalesce before we hurtle forward through spring and into summer. The sun and outdoor temperatures tell us the same thing: go back to bed, curl up and keep warm. You may find that giving into your body and letting it do what it needs to do, makes you feel a whole lot better.



Yes, ‘exercise’ sounds like the opposite of ‘hibernate’. Why am I giving two conflicting pieces of advice? The answer is that, in Chinese medicine’s best tradition, one size definitely does not fit all. Some of us try to do too much and need to hibernate. Some of us try to hibernate too much and become stuck, stagnant and lethargic. If you find yourself sighing, feeling pessimistic and grumpy, then it is time to exercise the winter blues away. A brisk half-hour walk each day will do the trick.


Eat more soup

If you have an emotional allergy to winters’ rain and damp, your legs feel heavy and your head feels foggy, then conserving your digestive energy could make you feel a whole lot better. Chinese medicine, in its wonderful way with metaphor, talks about being ‘invaded by damp’ and argues that it is our digestive energy that rids us of ‘damp’. I know this sounds strange, but stick with me on this and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results. The best ways to conserve your digestive energy are to:

  • eat your food warm, so your body doesn’t have to warm it up for you

  • eat soups and stews, where your body can extract the nutrients it needs with minimal effort

  • avoid ‘damp’ foods that are taxing for the digestion, like wheat and dairy

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