I love winter.

No doubt I am in the minority when I say that. The days are shorter and colder. What’s there to love when you are stuck inside, it’s dark at 4:00pm and you are bundled up with fleece and slippers? I don’t ski or snowboard so I don’t have those outdoor activities to look forward to. I run, which is next to impossible when it’s 20 degrees and the sidewalks are covered in ice. Obviously I do much less running in the winter.

It took me a while to figure out why I do love this season so well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is a time of kidney energy, of slowing down and hibernating. It’s a time to take advantage of the shorter days and to not be as active. It helps to change our exercise routines and incorporate more yoga or stretching, especially when it’s treacherous outside.

Our bodies need warmth and that includes the food we eat. Now is the time for soups and stews and comfort food. Wait until spring and summer to have your smoothies and salads on a daily basis.

Plants and trees are quiet this time of year. It looks like they are just waiting for spring, when in fact, they are nourishing their root systems. We can benefit from doing the same.

Winter gives us permission to slow down and stay home which can be very difficult with the busy lives we lead. We will be more active in the spring and summer and need to save our energy now for what’s ahead. It’s beneficial to curl up on the couch with a good book or a Netflix movie and stay warm.

If you are still trying to put those New Years’ Resolutions in place, now is the time to do it. Kidney energy is responsible for will and will power so acupuncture can help strengthen your kidney energy which in turn will help with sticking to those resolutions. It’s also a great time to nurture yourself.