As we look towards the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice December…… We might notice craving heavier foods to build the insolation layer of fat. As temperatures drop, we might even notice with an increase of muscle tension or a runny nose. The blood flow from our extremities decreases as our body focuses on keeping our core warm. Therefore, we need to be cautious as rich foods, shallow breath and lack of fluid circulation during this time of year can cause buildup of toxicity. Early December is the perfect storm for stomach flu. Those who tend to feel depleted or deficient become more vulnerable to disease and flu while others who over indulge in rich foods this time of year might see an increase in mucus or feel more sluggish. This is the times nature calls for a period of rest, much like the hibernation of bears. Our days grow shorter. All this bumping up against the bustle of the holiday season. On the other hand, cold, dark days along with snow and/or rain keep us inside cuddled up. We need to keep some sort of balance by avoiding complete isolation. Call or do a Zoom session with friends and family to help keep you engaged. Additionally, this time of year can be one of self-reflection.
The lack of sunlight that comes with the Winter Solstice, gray skies and cold, can make us feel gloomy inside. It might help to string lights around your house, enjoy a candlelight dinner as a warm way to invite December’s intimacy into your life and lift your spirits. Make sure you’re getting out during the middle of the day, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Increase your Vitamin D. Wear bright colors, move, dance, walk, do yoga, just make sure you’re keeping your body moving and igniting metabolism.
Another important self-care technique to remember, is to keep your skin moist with oil, not lotion. During the winter months our skin become dry, pale and dull due to vasoconstriction to the skin. Our extremities are colder. Oiling your skin helps you to retain heat so you feel warmer and your immune system is strong. The skin is our largest organ, when it becomes dry it opens us up to more bacteria and viruses. Therefore, putting oil on your skin acts as a protective barrier.
The Fall colors begin to give way to deeper reds such as mulled wine, dark brown gravies and purples such as red cabbage. These darker colors are a way boost the red part of your blood. Our blood is broken down into two parts; clear plasma and red blood cells. Red foods also put color back into our cheeks and help us to detox, as well as creating an abundance of anticancer and antioxidant flavonoids. Soups and stews are welcomed this time of year to help with digestion. Like the season, our digestion begins to slow as the body is working hard to stay warm. Eating cooked veggies is important in helping break down foods. Warm or hot vs cold is also best this time of year. Sip on warm water, maybe add some cinnamon or ginger to help keep you warm and aide in digestion. Cloves are another strong vasodilator and helps to move blood by pushing it to the surface of the skin.
The following spices will keep you warm, as well as, destroy mucus, sore throat and runny nose:
- Black Pepper
Having an understanding of what happens in our bodies during various times of the year can help us navigate the side effects that each season bring.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Hanukkah to all!