Thursday, January 31, 2013

A cure for the winter blues: caring for the soul and the body.

I can't help but notice how unaffected I feel by the Canadian winter this year. This comes as a big surprise after recently returning from Nicaragua in December. Before returning to Canada, I spent a little more than a month preparing myself for the shock I would experience going from 27-30 degree heat to -10 freezing cold.

The first quick run I made from the arrivals gate in the airport to the car definitely had my body squirming and shivering but after a few weeks of settling in, I felt relatively "adjusted." Perhaps it is because I spent 1 month mentally preparing myself for the cold that when I did arrive to it, it didn't seem so bad. Or perhaps it was because I was ready to experience some cold. Call me crazy, but I am a proud Canadian who loves  the crispy chill of a cold winter night wind. I guess I see some romance in it. I always see through glasses with a hint of rose tint ;)

Choose to see the beauty in even the coldest months of the year.  (Pic taken on Lake of Bays, Ontario)
I am also seriously owing the way I have treated my body in the last year -- specifically diet choices and medicine -- to the reason why the blues don't get me down. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments, but that slow and dull drag, where winter's lull feels like it is perpetually bringing me down, just hasn't seemed to hit me.
Clare, happy to be in Northern Canada, surrounded by pine trees and snow covered lakes! (Lake of Bays, Ontario)
 For about a year now, I have been living my life as a (very happy) vegan. I also adhere to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), mainly taking herbs and receiving acupuncture sessions from world renowned TCM healer , Jeanette Wayne , who practices right here in Toronto.

I try my best to eat all organic food and so try to keep my body as chemical and pesticide free as possible. This is not only a healthier option for me but it also has major positive impacts for our planet, mainly soil and ecosystem quality, to name a few.

The diet is great and has helped me to feel less fatigued, drowsy (especially in the morning), bloated and all around more energized. The herbs I take have funny labels on them like "happy pills" and more informative ones like "sleep enhancement and energy therapy." The herbs clean toxins from the body, reduce inflammation and each one depending on their kind, work to improve the qi energy that we all have in our body. Some herbs focus on the kidneys and liver, while others on the spleen, for example. To learn more about qi and the philosophy behind TCM, go here.

 Overall, the herbs provide a certain kind of therapy to the body that balances our overall energy. I, for example, have always experienced cold in my limbs since I can remember. Not even 25 degree heat can warm my footsies up! As I have gotten to know Jeanette and experienced her treatments, my body has slowly warmed up, feels more balanced, and I have learned that no one needs to suffer this kind of discomfort!

After a year and three months of taking the herbs, my sleep has never been so deep, my skin glows, and I feel all around like a happier-go-luckier person.

I guess what I am getting at is that we as Canadians, and all those living in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, do not need to watch ourselves experience needless suffering. If we just invest some of our time taking care of ourselves, mind, body and spirit, there is no reason to feel the blues ever again!

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