I always get excited about Chinese New Year. For me, this is the time to make my New Year Health Resolutions. It’s difficult on January 1st – there’s still food left in the house after the Christmas celebrations and it would feel wasteful, throwing out those chocolates wouldn’t it? Plus it’s COLD. You need strong motivation to get yourself up and moving when your body naturally wants to hibernate. There are Acupuncture Points that can help with willpower (utilising the energy of the Kidneys) but I feel that we need to respect the external energies (climate) which indicate that we should be resting and recuperating before the Yang energy starts to rise again in Springtime.
In Chinese medicine, Winter is the worst time to have cold raw food – your Stomach and Spleen (Earth Organs) need warmth to help them do their jobs of producing Blood and Qi. When you are feeling a little run down, why not give them a helping hand with hot soups and warm ginger drinks? These help ease and stimulate the digestion process. This time of year, I tell my patients not to eat cold salads straight from the fridge, or juices made with ice cubes. These should really only be consumed during the summer time. If you think about it, those popular New Year health books promoting raw food and smoothies are often written by and for audiences in beautiful hot climates.
Chinese New Year takes place on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year it is on the 8th February and it heralds the start of Spring and Wood energy. Wood energy is about pushing upwards, growth with a fair amount of determination (just think of the strength a green shoot needs to push up through the soil towards the sunlight). Doesn’t it make sense to make lifestyle changes when the external energies are working to support us?
It’s also essential that Wood energy has an amount of flexibility, it shouldn’t be too rigid. So don’t be too hard on yourself if one day things don’t go to plan. Think about why you want to make these health changes and the long term benefits. Keeping a journal is a good way to stay focussed on our goals and desires, and it’s particularly satisfying to look back and see what’s been achieved.
This year, we will enter the year of the Fire Monkey. In China it is considered lucky to have a Fire Monkey baby (although personally, I suspect parenting during those first few years may be a little challenging!) Monkeys are thought to be quick witted, competitive but also rather selfish. They grab opportunities and are often very successful and social. If you were born during 1968,1980,1992, or 2004 (after the Chinese New Year) you are a Monkey. Famous Fire Monkeys (from 1956) include Tom Hanks, Kim Cattrall, John Lydon and Carrie Fisher. Quite strong characters as you can see!
As for me personally, I’ve resolved to reduce my coffee intake by increasing and exploring the energetic benefits of ‘real’ tea instead. And I’ve also decided to write this blog more regularly – I’m ashamed that my last entry was in Autumn! Time is flying by…
So, if you haven’t managed to keep to those January resolutions, don’t worry. Give yourself another chance and start afresh on 8th February – you have everything to gain in this cheeky Fire Monkey year.
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