While many like to go hard with New Year’s resolutions, the natural rhythm of our bodies says otherwise. This time of year is instead meant for replenishment and rest, and winter in particular is an excellent time to support your kidney energy, or kidney “qi” (pronounced “chi”).
Things that deplete energy in our kidneys: poor diet, too much coffee, excess exercise, chronic stress or overwhelm…basically many of the things that seem unavoidable in today’s world! But there are lots of things we can do to restore our kidney qi. Here are just a few:
- Take a news break. This sounds obvious, but unless you are intentional about it, it’s a difficult thing to do. And it’s not our fault; breaking from tech is so hard because it’s literally everywhere, and it’s been designed to keep us addicted. So if we’re going to break from it, we need to take the reins.
One of my favorite ways of reducing the time I spend on technology is to not check it right when I wake up. Instead, I stretch, say a prayer, and do the other parts of my morning routine. I also make it a point to not turn on the news when I get up because it’s like heading to the drive-through; it feels like junk food for my nervous system.
During the day you can make it a point to go for a mindful walk alone (or bring a friend along to catch up), or do a meditation. (I make an exception for tech here because once you hit ‘play,’ you can close your eyes and detach from tech.)
You can also make a hard “cut-off” time at night to turn off tech. If this is new to you it may feel strange at first, but like any habit, it becomes second nature after a few times. It helps if you find yourself a really good book to read at night, or try to go to bed earlier. Keeping the phone out of your bedroom, like charging it in another room, helps as well. Scrolling and surfing, with its constant barrage of information, messes with our nervous system, so allowing yourself time apart from electronics at night gives it time to recalibrate and wind down properly before sleep.
- Eat kidney-nourishing foods. In Chinese medicine kidney yin, or primordial yin, is the foundation of yin fluid for the entire body. Certain foods nourish your kidney energy and support your adrenals. These foods are often hearty, warm, and feel good for our bodies to eat during this time.
Some examples of foods that support your kidney energy are walnuts, chestnuts, lentils (you can try my lentils recipe), and other beans (if tolerated; always soak first), avocado, cucumber, seafood (sea bass, red snapper, tuna, shrimp), asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, grass-fed duck, lamb, chicken, and beef, broths, and soups. Spirulina is also excellent; it is mineral-rich and helps build the blood, which enhances Yin.
You may also want to try my Creamy Mushroom Celery Soup, and my Golden Yin Yogurt recipes to strengthen your winter qi.
- Drink ample water. We know this advice, of course, but unless we are intentional about it, it can become white noise. Some great ways to incorporate more water into your day are to purchase a thermos that you love and make sure it’s with you throughout the day. If you are a soda drinker you could replace one soda with water, then after a few days another, and so on until the soda is phased out. Try to limit alcohol or wine and, if you do drink, be sure to have a glass of water with each drink. You could also drink teas, or infuse your water with cucumber, citrus, herbs, or berries.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is an excellent way to replenish your kidney yin and reduce symptoms of imbalance in your energy. Find a licensed acupuncturist near you and share your goals of restoring your kidney energy and balancing your nervous system. They will use specific points on your body to promote healing which will help reduce or eliminate symptoms you may be feeling from being overtaxed.
- Practice yin yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong. These three practices are particularly helpful in supporting the adrenals as well as kidney energy. They are slow, meditate, and fluid, which put you in a relaxed state and give your kidneys and adrenals time to restore. Download a meditation app such as Insight Timer or Headspace, or enroll in a class.
I will be leading a 12-week class for Winter Wellness to support your yin energy this winter, called “Strengthen Your Winter Qi.”
>>> Registration is open and class begins this Tuesday.<<<
We will meet once per week on zoom and you’ll receive the recordings if you can’t make the live class.
You can register here: Sign me up for Strengthen Your Winter Qi
Here are the details:
YOUR INVESTMENT INCLUDES:
- 12 weeks of weekly Tai Chi/Qigong online class focused on Winter Wellness and Strengthening Your kidney Qi
- Teachings of basic tai chi and qigong principles to help strengthen and align your body
- Recordings sent to you each week, so if you miss class you can practice on your own time
- Lifetime access to all material
- Bonus recipes and meditations
SPECIAL OFFER: $99