Water time has arrived according to the 5 element cycles in Chinese Medicine. Water is associated with winter. Do you feel more tired and want to sleep more? Of course! Water time is all about refilling and replenishing our deep core reservoirs of Qi (life force energy).
If we don’t slow down and take care of ourselves, imbalances can occur in the body. What does an imbalance look like? It could be coming down with a cold or flu and not being able to kick it out, frequent urination between 3-7pm, feeling exhausted especially in the late afternoon, coldness that invades your core, anxiety, depression, and emotional blocks that feel as if a dam is holding back the river (tears).
Our bodies are about 78% water. When our water is balanced, we may feel free and capable of going with the flow. Water wants to flow! Think about the river’s natural tendency to flow. Even when there is large tree in the middle, water will find a way to flow around it. What happens when water gets stuck? It can turn into a boggy, putrid smelling pool where bacteria like to grow.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the organ systems associated with Water are Kidneys and Bladder. Our kidneys act like the bogs that filter out wastes so they can be eliminated through the urine. Our urine is stored in the bladder, a vessel designed to partner with the kidneys to aid in regulating our water metabolisms. Excessive sweating and frequent urination are all signals that there may be an imbalance in someone’s Water Element.
There are herbs to regulate and rebuild our water systems. Red clover, burdock, dandelion root and leaf, red root, calendula, and cleavers all aid our bodies in cleansing the blood and detoxification. Nettle leaves are some of the best because they are extremely high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Like spinach, nettles are naturally salty. I don’t mean like potato chip salty, I mean mineral rich salt like seaweed.
The journey to rebuilding deficient water involves consuming food and herbs that are mineral rich and highly nutritious. Dark green leafy vegetables, walnuts, black beans, seaweed, adzuki bean miso, beets, berries, and nettles all contribute toward strengthening and building a solid foundation of kidney energy.
Here are tips for refilling your core reserves to give you even more energy in the spring when its time to take action and continue building the life you want!
1) Sleep at least 8-10 hours per night. Early to bed, late to rise. Go ahead, give yourself permission! If you feel tired between 3-7pm (Water Time), take a nap rather than reaching for a cup of coffee.
2) Be gentle with yourself. This is the time of year to DO LESS and BE MORE.
3) Dream deep. With all the watery energies flowing freely, ponder what kind of visions you have for the year to come. What seeds do you want to plant? Allow your subconscious to flow. Who knows what you might discover if you give yourself permission to dream deeply.
4) Write in a journal if that feels freeing. Question worth pondering: What is possible when I stop denying myself what I truly want?
5) Nourish your roots. Consume whole, organic, highly nutritious foods, mostly cooked, served warm, lightly spiced, and chew slowly. The first part of healthy digestion is chewing. What’s the rush?
6) Find a body of water to sit by. How can you be more like water?
7) It’s OK to say, “No” to commitments. Instead, say “Yes” to staying home, reading a book, cooking dinner, practicing yoga, watching a movie, cuddling on the couch.
8) UNPLUG! This is the most challenging one for me these days. The sense of urgency and replying to emails feels real, but actually, it’s mostly false. Be aware of when you may be using the devices to escape the present while fostering a false sense of connection.
9) Face your fears. Water time is about diving into your inner depths to explore the gremlins and trusting you can rise again. The roots of trees are storing water until the sap rises in the spring. Trust that what goes down will come back up. Let the tears flow, they are just water after all.
10) Keep the water flowing by adding a little fire: exercise, shoulder rotations, forward bends, backbends, and always wear enough layers to stay warm outside, especially the midsection and back of neck. I tuck my shirts in and wear scarves.
11) Drink plenty of clean water. Sometimes I forget when it’s cold outside to drink enough water. I strongly suggest finding a source of spring or well water if your tap is from city water.
How do you honor the water inside of you?