After the tinsel and glitter of the festive season, January often hits people hard.
Stark landscapes of bare, skeletal trees and frozen earth can seem grim and forbidding. But look deeper and of course, water – the element Chinese medicine associates most closely with winter – engenders life itself.
Over three millennia Chinese doctors and philosophers have described the cycle of the seasons as a creative cycle of five interdependent elements, beginning with water. Spring’s yang burst of growth, colour and rebirth would be impossible without water’s deep and dark wintertime yin.
We can benefit from mirroring nature. I advise my patients not to make the usual bleak January resolutions of denial and deprivation but instead to think of this time of year as a positive opportunity to nourish and nurture.
How can your enrich your life?
Which foods best fuel and warm your body?
Are you seeking out and enjoying the music, books, films that sow the seeds of personal growth over the coming year?
Who and what do you look to comfort and safeguard your spirit?
This is the work of winter, and should make for a glorious spring.