BY: Camila Loew
Traditional Chinese medicine, in its view of the close interrelation between humans and the natural world, can teach us important lessons about how we adapt throughout the shifting seasons. Life, after all, is a series of adapting to changing circumstances; good health and well-being might just be defined in the same way. When we fail to adapt, we fall ill.
This might be instinctive and second nature: just think of your mood throughout the season changes: in spring, we tend to become more expansive and take on new projects and activities; in the colder months, we turn inside and become somewhat more reflective and introspective.
From a very physical perspective, we can play into the cycle of the seasons by making adjustments in our lifestyle, through diet and exercise. Both dietary needs and activity levels should respond to the seasons and the weather. Of course we need to eat every day, we also need to move daily, but how we do so differs throughout the year, and for optimal health, our bodies, if they don't instinctively recognize these patterns, will be all the merrier if and when we respond to those transitions accordingly.
If we become attuned to the cyclical, changing patterns in nature, and correspond them to the needs of our bodies, we shall find balance and harmony, which will make us more resilient to the adversities life throws our way. As an example: in the colder months, eating too many salads or raw foods can take a toll on a weakened immune system. Raw foods require more energy to digest. When we cook our food well, it's like a pre-digestion, and we save our system some of the work. It can be quite instinctive, think about it: you don't really crave hot soup in the summer, do you? How about an ice-cold juice in the middle of winter? If you do, then maybe there's an imbalance in your body that needs to be addressed.
Our bodies are a reflection of the natural world; though we want to observe the changes in seasons, we also need to stay in tune with our internal changes, reflected in our energy levels, our mood, our emotions. Very ancient wisdom understood that change is the only constant; if we want to take control of our health, we need to be attuned to the changes, and act on them to achieve balance and resilience.