The end of the year 2016 is fast approaching.

One thing I have heard from many of my patients especially over the last month is how tired and drained they feel. From what I can see, this year brought many challenges personally as well as nationally and globally.

Winter is a good time for deep introspection, to discover the layers of personal and global tension that we might have internalized and to do some deep healing to release this tension layer by layer.

For some these layers are felt in their dreams: this is a safe time for us to feel and explore our inner lives with the least amount of interference from our waking mind. Consider starting a dream journal to start making you aware of the material that arises as night.

The most challenging part in dealing with the darker seasons in life is often the first step: To start slowing down and to start feeling. There’s something that happens when we pay attention to our inner lives with a loving and clear intention to heal – there’s movement.

In Chinese medicine we call the principle to go within, to go deep, and to connect with our deepest resources of healing the Yin aspect. Yin is an energetic quality representing feeling supported in the body, manifesting as trust and feeling secure, a sense of feeling calm and rooted. Physically it represents body fluids, lubrication, the ability to cool and nourish all organs.

As we are aware of the wonderful qualities of introspection and self healing that this time of Yin brings, we keep in mind one of the main principles of Chinese medicine: balance. So, Winter is the best time to balance all this Yin with Yang.

Yang is warmth, movement, circulation and it tends to be naturally lower in the Winter months.

So to balance this beautiful Yin energy, make sure you also apply the principle of nourishing Yang this season: Eat mostly warm/hot foods like soups and stews, add ginger and cinnamon wherever you can, drink lots of hot tea and do make time to circulate your blood through light exercise, stretching, breathing.

So, as we naturally slow down in the Winter, we balance the tendency to hibernate and go within, with gentle ways to stay warm and keep the fire going, as well as to share with loved ones in a deep and gentle way.

Acupuncture,  Chinese Herbs and moxibustion are a great way to boost the Yang in Winter months – there’s a belief in China that a powerful treatment in the height of Winter (Winter solstice on December 21st) will ward of the cold for the entire year.

In any case, stay warm this Winter, tap into the healing qualities which Yin time brings by slowing down, honoring your feelings and by sharing with others when it feels right.

Here’s a link to a recipe for an easy to make Winter vegetable soup, enjoy!

Happy Yin time!