The January blues are real!

Isn’t it funny how on January 1st, after several weeks of sitting around and over-indulging, we’re all expected to get down the gym and reinvent ourselves, when all we really want to do is be tucked up at home and finish the quality street! 

You only have to look out the window to see that January is the wrong time of year for change.  In the northern hemisphere anyway.  South of the equator it’s the perfect time.  The Australians have it right, celebrating Christmas in the summer with turkey BBQs on the beach.

So don’t feel bad about skipping your pole dancing lesson, even though you’ve paid for a 3-month course.  Leave it ‘til the spring when you are feeling energized and everything is coming to life.  April 1st should be the day of renewal and exploration of self. 

Balance brings harmony.

Often, we feel rubbish at this time of year because we continue to act as if the days are long and warm.  Life slows down in the winter.  It is a time when nature rests.  Water freezes over, the fields lie fallow, animals hibernate, and the seeds of plants lie dormant ready to sprout forth in the spring.

In the Neijing Su Wen (the Chinese Medicine classic), it states, ‘In winter all is hidden, this is the season of retirement into the depth, because it is cold outside.  It is necessary at this moment not to disturb or disperse the yang energy, thus complying with the energy of the Winter.’ It urges us to follow the cycle of the seasons in order to stay healthy. 

In the wintertime the days are short and darkness falls early.  This means that in the winter we should go to bed early, slow our activity to a minimum and preserve and protect our reserves of Qi.  We must conserve our Qi to remain healthy and for when the time for movement arrives in the spring.

Feeling SAD

Deep within the Yin season, we are as far from the time of yang as one can be, so if your yin is depleted, then so is the yang, hence the feeling of depression and the craving for sunshine and warmth.  When we think of joy, or lack of joy, we think of the Heart, but I think in relation to January blues it’s more to do with the lack of movement of qi.  When people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, experiencing depression from being deprived of light of the sun, it may indicate that they lack a constant source of Fire within.  Or it could be said that the cold of the winter douses the fire within.  So be careful to not expose your fire too often in the winter.

Celebration of light

Christmas is really a pagan celebration of the winter solstice, the return of longer days, but it has become entwined with the Christian celebration of buying lots of useless things.   

Light, fire, and feasting are common themes to most winter solstice festivals, not just Christmas, as is eating a load of meat.  In the harsh climate of northern Europe, most cattle were slaughtered because they could not be fed during the winter. Meat, therefore, was plentiful for a midwinter feast or to leave out as an offering.  It was Henry VIII’s idea to eat turkey at Christmas, which in the 16th century was quite exotic, it being a newly discovered bird in the new world. 

Non-Christian countries also celebrate Christmas, but it is purely a commercial affair and is more like Valentine’s Day is here.   And it isn’t a public holiday.  In China, of course, the big celebration is the new year, which this year is on 22nd January and it’s the year of the Rabbit. The New Year celebration is centred around removing the bad and the old and welcoming the new and the good. It’s a time to worship ancestors, exorcise evil spirits and pray for good harvest.  And they have a week off to do it….7 days.  When you consider that during this period around 2 billion trips are made in China alone, 7 days is probably not enough.

Happy new year!

If you have any questions about acupuncture, or any of the topics in my blogs, please do contact me.  Find out more about me, or my treatments  here.

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