In Chinese medicine, our life force or vital energy is called Qi (pronounced chi). This life force is the energy that allows us to cope with stress, have healthy immune systems, balanced hormones, restful sleep, and healthy brain function. It is essential for optimum health.
In order to fully understand Qi, however, it is important to also understand yin and yang.
Yin and yang describe two opposite manifestations of Qi. Yin refers to feminine energy that is dark, cool, calming, meditative, and restful. Yang, on the other hand, is bright, active, hot, and very often used to describe masculine energy.
We need a balance of both yin and yang to be well, but often the patients I see during the winter months and around the holidays are yin deficient. You might recognize some of the symptoms: stressed, have trouble sleeping, anxious, overly warm, and fatigued.
To help restore your Qi and maintain optimal levels of yin energy, I recommend the following:
During the summer months, we spend time soaking up the warmth of the sun, which is helpful for restoring yang. However, in order to restore yin energy, it is important to spend time soaking up the light if the moon. I recommend taking a walk outside or sitting in your backyard or patio at night for 10-15 minutes to soak up the cool, refreshing rays of the moonlight.
2. Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths are very relaxing and settling – perfect for restoring your yin energy! Fill a standard sized tub with warm water and add 1-2 cups of epsom salt. You can also add essential oils, like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender.
3. Eat Cooling Foods
Since ancient times, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have used warming and cooling foods to balance the body’s yin and yang energy and help prevent illness. Cooling foods, such as cucumbers, lemons, celery, mandarins, oranges, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and other yellow and orange foods, help to rid the body of heat and toxins, which nourishes yin energy.
4. Embrace quiet
Anything you can do to relax helps restore yin energy, so I recommend that my patients spend 10-15 minutes a day in a quiet space. Dim the lights, play your favorite soft music and relax. Try not to do anything too stimulating.
The earth is like a gigantic battery – pulsating throughout its surface is a limitless supply of subatomic particles called electrons. When we spend time in nature, walking or standing barefoot on the grass, our body absorbs these electrons and we experience their grounding effects. This grounding can help decrease stress, improve sleep, improve mood, and restore essential yin energy.
6. Prioritize Sleep
Quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do to restore balance to your body and replenish yin energy. Make it a priority to get 8 hours of peaceful sleep each night. If you find that you can’t sleep due to racing thoughts, I recommend taking Cortisol Manager, a natural supplement that contains a mixture of herbs and amino acids that help calm your nervous system, so you can rest.
Taking good care of your body is essential, especially during the holiday season. Instead of succumbing to holiday burnout, make time to nourish yourself with calming, soothing activities. They will help to restore your yin energy, and ultimately, support you in achieving optimum health.