Get Out of that Winter Slump!

herbal medicine

Now that we are past most of the major winter holidays, it is a good time to regroup and get back into your good self care patterns that might have slipped during this time, or, a time to establish new patterns.

Many of us during the holiday season find our schedules and routines disrupted. This can be a great way to relax and enjoy loved ones, but can also wreak havoc on our habits of eating, exercise and other self care.  For some the holidays are a joyful time of friends and family and celebration and now we have to move into the more mundane aspects of our lives. For others, the holidays are a very difficult time, highlighting what we don’t have or what is missing from our lives. And for many, the holidays are a mix of the two. Whatever is true for you, it is often not your usual rhythm and flow so some adjustment is needed.

On a physical level, now is a good time to focus on our digestion as well as our deep immunity and vitality. Digestion, I often focus on because, while it can get easily thrown off, it can also often get back on track pretty easily. At this time of year, you might be recovering from holiday indulgences and still finding your footing getting back into your healthy eating habits. Those overindulgences, especially the older we get, can throw our systems off.

Some help with Digestion

On that physical level digestion is really a cornerstone of good health; the quality of foods we put into our bodies and how well our body is able to make use of those foods. A really important component of good digestion is the health of your liver. Some herbs that support our livers include: dandelion root, burdock root, yellow dock and Oregon mountain grape.

Sometimes, supporting or fine-tuning the liver is all you really need. If you feel like you need more digestive support than just the liver consider ingesting a bitter like gentian or artichoke leaf, 10 – 20 minutes prior to eating. 

Deep immunity and vitality

Our deep immunity and vitality are, in some senses, the same thing. I’m talking about resiliency. I really like that word within this context. When I talk about health, I’m not talking about being a perfect human specimen, which is an oxymoron since we are inherently imperfect…so try and let go of that one.

Rather, when I talk about health I’m talking about being in balance; and resiliency comes into that concept when we look at how easily  we fall out of balance. Ideally, we are resilient, which to me means that we can stay in balance in the face of challenges; physical, emotional and spiritual. How big of  a challenge can you handle without falling out of balance is a measure of how resilient you are.

Our resiliency is connected to vitality and deep immunity in this way. Maybe physically you can ‘get away’ with a lot, but emotionally, you get thrown off of your center very easily.  So a good place to start are the medicinal mushrooms such as shitake, oyster, maitake.

Also, consider the adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that, briefly speaking, help you deal with stress better. Adaptogens help the body produce a non-specific response to stress and help normalize functions in the body. Adaptogens can achieve this through various means such as, building deep immunity, supporting endocrine and nervous system function. Most of the medicinal mushrooms are adaptogens. Other plants in this category include: astragalus and Siberian ginseng.

Lending a hand with emotional and spiritual support

What are your issues? They may be more present for you as you become more introspective, if they aren’t already stirred up from the holidays. So, be prepared for them and get the support you need to do your work.

 Here are some essences to support some common themes:

Banyan Tree (Hawaiian Essences, www.janebellessences.com ) helps you to be grounded and present during time of change and expansion; soothes nervous system when tired and wired

 Orange Rose (Rose Chakra Essences, www.lunafina.com ) overcoming known fears and phobias

 Blue/Mauve Rose (Rose Chakra Essences) trust in self and intuition

Saturn Sipper (Keeping Time, www.stargazerli.com ) clarifying, strengthening, resolve

Persian Lilac (Greek Tree Essences, www.melissaassilem.com ) relates to crown chakra, recognizing our wings to take flight into the realms of the spirit world; when you cannot see the beauty of your life; helps keep your heart in your perspective

Pluto Potion (Keeping Time Essences, www.stargazerli.com ) deep, spacious, transformative

Northern Lights (www.alaskanessences.com ) when poised on the edge of a breakthrough in consciousness but lack the energy to complete the process; taps into universal energy to gather the energy we need to make the transition from the old to the new; helps re-pattern the heart

LairdHot Springs  (www.alaskanessences.com ) release and wash away layers of guilt and self blame and restore our essential innocence and purity; helps release old patterns that hold us in negative self-image

Fireweed  (www.alaskanessences.com ) indicated when there is energy stagnation on any level, feeling burnt out, carrying the past into the future; stimulates renewal of energy on all levels, catalyst for growth and transformation that encourages release of anything that is no longer appropriate or useful

Solstice Sun (www.alaskanessences.com ) energy of the sun; affects the movement of energy through our physical bodies; open hearts and energy pathways in body so are able to receive more light and make more efficient use of the energy within that light; also works with integration helpful during life changing times

Sun (Keeping Time Essences, www.stargazerli.com ) warm, uplifting, radiant

Dolphin Blessings (Hawaiian Essences, www.janebellessences.com ) cultivating affections for the resting cycle and an awareness of restoration through connectedness; importance of rest, play, love and joy in moving our nervous system towards greater health

PeaceBeach (Hawaiian Essences, www.janebellessences.com ) changing habit of constant motion to deep interconnected relaxation; allowing body to rest on a deep level so you can experience peace and vitality

Look at the issues in your life and see which way you need to move on the continuum to be more in balance. There is a quote I came across from Goethe which says, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Treat your health and well being as one of the ‘things’ which matters most.

Be well!

Sarah