Journey to wellness: Warding off winter
Methods for counteracting the stresses of extreme weather
By Josiah Groth
We have arrived at the top of the mountain, and by mountain I mean insanely cold weather. This will, hopefully, be the most extreme cold weather all year. It is important to understand the implications that this peak weather has for our health. The good news is that there is plenty we can do to minimize the stress under which it puts us.
According to ancient wisdom, there are 10 pairs of opposing qualities in our physical world. The opposites of temperature, hot and cold, have the biggest impact on us. Other qualities come with the extreme cold that we have been feeling, and bringing their opposites into our lives can be greatly beneficial.
To help explain, think of what it would be like to stand on the top of a mountain. Wind whips across the landscape in gusts and swirls. You could feel the cold and dry wind attempting to freeze, crack, and ravage your skin.
When we pay attention to the qualities of our winter weather, we find it to be full of dryness, roughness, mobility, lightness, sharpness, and coldness. Those qualities are affecting us all.
To stay in balance, we want to be very conscious about bringing the opposite of the above listed qualities into our lives. An example would be dryness. The more extreme the dryness outside, the more extreme we need to be in our efforts to drink more water and apply moisturizers to our skin and ChapStick to our lips. Pretty simple.
We balance against the mobile wind with regularity and consistency in our daily schedule. We balance against the rough, sharp, and dry qualities of the air outside with things that are soft, smooth, and liquid. We add warming activities and foods into our diet to combat the cold. All of these practices have at their core the goal of minimizing the stresses that the environment puts on us.
Remember: Stress can be defined as any change to homeostasis. Think about the difference between our core body temp at 98.6 degrees and the current temperature outside. The larger the difference, the larger the stress.
Eat more soups. Soup is hot, heavy, wet, and smooth. Basically, you cannot do much better at finding a food with qualities so opposite of our weather.
Winter is also the time to add more acidic foods to your diet. Acids are considered to be heating, and foods like nuts, beans, and meats all have warming qualities to them that are more appropriate in winter than in summer.
Get moderate and regular exercise. The key to this one is that regular exercise warms you, but extreme exercise is a stress. Be consistent, and be kind to yourself with 20 minutes of moderately intense exercise a day to heat you up. Also, exercise brings blood to the muscles and skin. This helps the skin stay moist and healthy.
Stay home and read a book. Rest. Turn off the stimulants and the motion in your life. Curl up in a warm cave of blankets and hibernate a bit.
Josiah Groth is the owner of Back to Bliss Wellness. More information on his practice is available at backtoblisswellness.com.