How to Balance your Winter Blues!

Portland Snow Covered
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Traditional Chinese Medicine is a healthy guide for balance in anyone's life.  Imbalances lead to disharmony in the body or emotions or perceptions.  If allowed unchecked disharmony can become disease.  Life exposes us to imbalanced conditions.  Last week's 11 degree temperatures are a prime example of the kinds of extremes our pursuits of balance must overcome.  The yin yang symbol is the fluid representation of extremes and their relationship to one another and ways to balance their existence.

If I wake and find it to be a cold (Yin) 11 degrees outside my desire for balance will compel me to seek fire (Yang).  Conversely in July on a 98 degree day (Yang) I will wish to jump in the cool ocean surf (Yin) and will be refreshed.  Balance is found in both occasions and the extremes of hypothermia or heat exhaustion are avoided.  These two examples are very obvious physical situations with very linear solutions but human mental & emotional balance is not always so simple.

In a short time the longest night of the year will occur with the Winter Solstice.  Daylight (Yang) will be at its lowest amount while darkness (Yin) will be at its greatest extreme.  So this time of the year Yin is dominate in the form of cold, darkness, and a predominate tendency to seek the indoors that may isolate us a bit more from other people.  Many become more sedentary (Yin, fat is Yin too) and the emotional/mental blahs begin to creep in.   At this point the season seems to be living up to its reputation and balance seems to be far away.

Here are some very seasonal solutions to restore balance this time of year:

  1. Go to a party!  Laughter, singing, conversation and Love are all strong Yang expressions if the heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  The heart is the most yang organ in the body with Its constant beating, red color and tendency for passionate pursuits.
  2. Find recipes with cinnamon, ginger, clove and cook food in the form of soups and stews to be eaten hot.
  3. Lastly, strongly identify with what lights the fire inside your soul.  Your imagination and creativity are crucial players for keeping a twinkle in your eyes.

Many holiday activities integrate many of the Yang items and situations that can bring balance in this most Yin of times.  Contact me with your favorite Yang contribution to the season or any questions about balanced living.


JohnJohn Charlebois

John Charlebois is a licensed acupuncturist specializing in traditional Chinese medicine. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA of Science and Rehabilitation Administration from Springfield College in Massachusetts. John then attained his Master of Science in Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tui Na AOBTA Certification, National Certification in Herbology at the Academy of Oriental Medicine in Austin, Texas.