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Winter: A Time for Slowing Down

The holiday season is officially upon us, and for many people this means stress levels are high--gifts need to be bought, travel and holiday arrangements need to be made, family issues may surface. We often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget to make time to care for ourselves.

Let’s take a look through the lens of TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine) to see just what that means in these cold winter months.

In a previous post, we talked about the season of autumn and the importance of letting go of unnecessary thought patterns, habits, ideas or beliefs. Now that we are moving into winter, it’s time to go inward and use that space we have created from letting go, to find deep peace and stillness in our lives. Take a look at the natural world around: plants are dormant, the trees have shed all of their leaves, animals are going into hibernation, the days are short and the nights are cold. Everything is sleeping, resting, replenishing; preparing to come alive again in the spring.

This time of year we should consolidate our energy to replenish ourselves, just like nature does. Go to bed early, sleep in late. Stay at home instead of going out. Choose a warm, nourishing meal or a cup of tea over a cold salad and a smoothie. Change your exercise routine from intense workouts to tai chi or yoga. Reflect on your life and find stillness in the depths of the darkness.

And most importantly, slow down.

This doesn’t mean that you should hibernate in a cave all winter and wait until spring time to emerge, but it is important to “go with the flow” as they say. Tap into the natural rhythm of the season. It’s not the easiest thing to do given the chaos of the holidays, but find small ways to slow down throughout the day:

  • Stop and take a deep breath when you notice you are stressed out. Alternatively, make it a point to pause multiple times during the day: every time you get in the car, sit down to eat, go to the bathroom, or make a phone call.
  • Sit and enjoy breakfast instead of rushing out the door in the morning with a coffee in your hand.
  • Turn off your cellphone and computer in the evening and take a break from e-mails, texts, and social media.


This holiday season, give yourself a break. Take your time. Don’t stress about the details. Embrace the peace and stillness of the cold, dark winter.