Achieving a Healthy Balance in Winter

By Arthur Karp, M.Ed, Certified Counsellor

We begin to feel the chill of a fast approaching winter. Signs of panic and dread engulf us knowing there is a considerable stretch yet to endure. Do we choose to crawl into our little hole to hibernate or instead examine our attitude. We know to expect fewer hours of daylight which only adds to our woes. However, this may also be viewed as a time for deeper reflection as we progress toward spring with renewed optimism. Ancient Chinese medicine tells us just how perfectly natural it is for our energy to go down and inward at this time of year. The challenge of handling the additional stress of the holidays is ever present at this time. Our immune system may become compromised as we are more vulnerable to the common cold and flu bug swirling around us.

So now what is it we know will benefit us? It may involve taking time for quiet reflection and awareness leading us to cope with stress in healthier ways. Pursuing a delicate balance in spite of considerable confusion or stress happening. If only slowing down long enough to know we are becoming unhealthy and need to adjust to the ever increasing demands placed on us.

It comes back to carefully monitoring ourselves and paying close attention to those daily mood swings. Are we doing everything possible to bring energy and vitality to ourselves? Is our diet adequate? Are we making time for a preferred hobby or form of exercise be it a daily walk, trip to the gym, skating at a local outdoor rink or along the beautiful canal, snowshoeing/cross-country skiing among nature. Introducing yourself to something like yoga can prove beneficial to your physical posture and mental wellbeing. How about curling up with a favourite book, or researching a recipe on the internet. It may be getting in quality social time with a close friend or family member.

When was the last time you found yourself enjoying a good belly laugh? Renewing our sense of humour does wonders for strengthening our immune system especially when needing an emotional boost. Something like when our cars stall due to the cold and we bring out the booster cables to give the engine a little juice.

Life will continue to challenge us but we must find more healthful ways to cope with our stress. We turn toward winter for engaging the reflective energy necessary and beneficial to our lives as we begin the slow but steady progression toward spring. Let us use the natural inward focusing side of winter for gaining balance and renewed health. The result could well be a feeling of being rejuvenated.