Tis the season for over-eating, over-entertaining, over-stressing, and over-everything else. While the holidays bring tidings of great joy, they can also be tremendously taxing, both physically and mentally. Thankfully, Chinese medicine theory can lend a helpful and practical hand.
Chinese medicine theory is all about maintaining balance in every aspect of your life – from what you eat and drink, to how you think and feel. Nothing like the sprint between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to throw healthy balance on all personal fronts out the window.
As we rush between holiday festivities, year-end happy hours, shopping excursions and everything in between, it’s easy to push wellness aside (particularly when justified by your New Year’s resolution of getting back into shape) and simply enjoy yourself. And that’s understandable given the marathon we push ourselves to run throughout the year.
Here are 3 tips, rooted in Chinese medicine theory, to help you find balance throughout the next couple of weeks:
1. Eat to Your Constitution
At DAO Labs, we talk a lot about keeping your Middle Burner warm, eating foods that are lightly cooked, and eating with the seasons. But each of us has an individual constitution, and there are certain foods we can eat to support those unique constitutions. If you’re ready to dive deeper into Chinese nutritional therapy, we highly recommend you check out Yin Yang Diet. Created by acupuncturists and co-owners of Vancouver based Village Community Acupuncture, Sara and Tara are modernizing Chinese nutritional therapy to make “food as medicine” approachable to the masses. They’ve created 5 unique diet plans and ebooks that will revolutionize your health and change the way you approach your food choices - in a delicious and simple way. Use our code DAOLABS to save 20% on the meal plan that would be the best fit for you.
2. Get the Rest You Need
It's easy to de-prioritize sleep at this time of the year, and to “burn the candle at both ends” - but in Chinese medicine theory, we are in the water element. This is the time to build Yin. To sleep, rest, repair, slow our movements, and reflect. It’s heavy and dense in contrast to the expectation of “holly and jolly”. During a time when we are forced to be out and about, our internal clocks and compasses are craving silence, solitude, and rest. Do your best to get your 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and find moments of quiet and calm wherever possible.
If you go to bed faithfully at 10 pm every night but wake up at 2 am with a racing mind or a body that won’t calm, we might have a sleep formula that can help - learn more here.
3. Practice “Kidney Breathing” - a QiGong Technique to Help You Recharge
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, each season is associated with an organ: the organ associated with winter is the Kidneys. QiGong teacher and healer Nick Loffree says: “Energetically, the lungs collect the Qi from the air, while the kidneys reach upward to the lungs to pull that vital energy deeper into the body.
The kidneys essentially store this vital energy like batteries, which gradually deplete themselves as we age.” Nick shares a restorative breathing exercise that will help to recharge those batteries, strengthen the diaphragm and massage the kidneys. You can read his instructions here.
4. See An Acupuncturist
When in doubt, book a 45 minute appointment with an acupuncturist. The experience can be transformative, helping you revitalize, restore and replenish both physically and mentally. The best part, the benefits can last for days, helping you remain calm and focussed as the possible chaos of the holidays swirls around you. Plus, it's an easy way to apply year-end Health Savings Account benefits that you've not yet use. Need to find an acupuncturist in your community? Start here.
5. Consider These Herbs
We're obviously passionate about the impact Chinese herbs can have on your wellness. If you're looking for some year-end mental and physical support, consider Emotional Balance or Pure Reishi for a bit of balance as you're racing to the end of the year. Both embrace the heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and help your body "flow" and candidly, feel a bit better emotionally in the process. Or if over-indulgence from holiday parties is in your future, keep Digestive Harmony on hand to help "clear food stagnation" (i.e. keep things moving) and maintain stomach balance in the process.