To stay healthy, happy, and vital, follow the wise winter advice of the Yellow Emperor:
1. Early to bed, rise when the sun is up.
Go to sleep early and wait to let the sun bathe the house before rising from bed.
2. Be contented.
The Yellow Emperor advises us to avoid experiencing excessive emotions in the winter because they drain your energy reserves.
• Beat the winter blues with light therapy. Studies show that exposure to sunlight stimulates the pineal gland, which affects the production of other brain chemicals such as serotonin, the neurotransmitter sometimes called the "mood chemical." It can also boost your immune system, waking up the activities of the natural killer cells that patrol our borders looking for intruders and cancer cells. If weather permits, get outdoors daily and let the sun bathe you with its life-giving and spirit-lifting properties. Even in the winter, avoid overexposure with sunscreen if out in the sun between 10 am - 3 pm.
3. Nurture energy storage.
The three months of winter are when all living things should return home and be conserved. Engage in activities that are in harmony with the energies of winter.
• Physical movement is essential for circulating energy -- but avoid perspiring excessively. In Chinese medicine, the sweat is seen as an escape of yang energy. Nurture your energy reserves by being active in a moderate way. Walking is one moderate activity to keep your energy up. Or consider practicing tai chi or qigong exercises, which are very effective in balancing energy.
• Avoid energy-depleting activities. Don't try to do too much in one day.
4. Eat for the season: no raw, cold foods
5. Avoid coldness and linger around warmth
• Dress warmly, paying special attention to your abdomenal and feet. In Chinese medicine, the abdomen is considered the storehouse of the body's energy. Keeping your abdomen warm and protected from weather extremes has immense immunity benefits. Warm up your feet with hot water spa before go to bed.
• Drink warming tea to keep your Vitality fired up. Steep 1 teaspoon of any of the following in 1 cup of hot water: ginger, cinnamon, and clove.
• Chinese herbs can protect your energy reserves and boost your immunity. Astragalus and ginseng are considered to be adaptogens -- natural substances that improve the body's resistance to physical and environmental stress, thereby enhancing the immune system.
I hope this advice gives you the steps for a healthy, happy winter!