Winter Care For The Skin & Soul

While the calendar still says we are in Autumn, we have actually already entered the Winter season according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. You may have already felt this shift if you are in tune with nature. While Autumn is the season of grief, letting go, and hopefully ending in liberation, Winter is the season of sadness, despair, depression, or reception, insight, and reflection. When liberation did not take place and instead the grief and letting go was suppressed, perhaps for another time, I guarantee you this will flood into your Winter blues.


Element & Organ Association

Water is the element of Winter representing the kidneys and bladder organs and meridians. Both of these organs hold onto water and excrete waste from the body.


Energetically speaking, the Kidneys hold the essence of our spirit. The element of water holds onto thoughts and emotions. When stagnation is happening this holding mechanism cannot flow, therefore cannot release negative emotions such as sadness, despair, and depression and it just grows and grows. In nature when we see stagnant water there is usually an overflow of bad bacteria, fungus, algae, and overall just not a body of water you particular want to take a dip in. The same thing is happening on the emotional/spiritual plane of your existence. If there is stagnation, your essence will be flooded with negative "emotional bacteria" causing an ever growing feeling of self-doubt, lack of self-worth, and depressed will power. On the other hand, when water is flowing it carries debris away, circulates and transforms earth material, and is crystal clear & clean. Creativity, menstruation, intuitive reception, insight, and positive feedback flows much more freely leaving less space for uninvited invaders to impact your health and well-being.


The Skin & Eyes

This will reflect in the skin via dullness, excess dryness, possibly even flakiness. Under eyes can be a helpful indicator of the emotions of the water element, see below. However each individual's skin concerns are incredibly unique that come with many variables. Everything below in this section and under "Support Your Winter Skin & Body" can be applied to help support the skin health in addition to well-being.


Dark circles: Move and open your body more. Try yoga asana that addresses the bladder and kidney meridians, see below under "cyclical support". You may be fatigued, stressed, tired, or even wiry. Limit processed foods and eat lots of dark leafy greens and get ample rest. Engage your parasympathetic system (rest & digest) with baths, self massage, or get a relaxing body or sleep treatment.


Puffiness: Allow yourself to cry and release. Get ample rest and drink plenty of fluids. I recommend 50-70% of your body weight in oz. of water per day.


Support Your Winter Skin & Body


Skin Care Support

Think of your body and skin like a bear in the Winter. Hibernating, preserving as much energy as possible, and keeping warm. The bear is sure to be angry if you were to shave their furry coat during the winter! Your skin is preserving nutrients, water, and lipids just like the bear. Cell turnover rate at this time is naturally slower because of the preservation process so try not to intervene with this. You may end up harming your skin like damaging the protective layer, creating more dryness by removing vital lipid structure that locks in all the moisture, and possibly making your skin more sensitive.


Don't: Schedule any exfoliating or intensive treatments (ie- microderm, chem peels, hydrafacial, dermaplaning, microneedling, lasers). Avoid clays like bentonite or french green clay as they draw out moisture and cause irritation.


Do: Keep your regimen simple. A good cream cleanser, absolutely no foam, and a good moisturizer will do. You may incorporate a nice moisturizing and nourishing mask if you'd like. Take lots of epsom salt baths and body oiling with self-massage.


Cyclical Living Support & Lifestyle

Diet: Keep everything you eat hot, warm, and cooked. As well as beverages so no iced or cold coffee, teas, or water. Opt for soups, stews, broths, and cooked veggies. Avoid eating too many salads, sushi, sandwiches, and smoothies (cold & raw = hard on the digestive system). We want to avoid the body constricting and want to encourage more flow.


Movement:

Yoga, long walks, gentle movement, listen to your body.


Energy:

It's ok not to feel like a socialite during the Winter season. This is a great time to retreat, reflect, and care for yourself. Once again, your body is in preservation mode so this goes for energy as well! Spend your energy wisely.


Qi Flow & Breathwork:

Move stagnation of qi/prana with the breath at least 2-3x/day. Upon waking, mid-day, and before bed or after work. This will also help to break up emotions held in the body and massage the internal organs such as the kidneys and bladder.


INHALE 3 sec. (inflate belly, do not let the chest and shoulders rise)
HOLD 3 sec.
EXHALE 3 sec. (deflate belly, draw navel in towards spine)
Repeat 9-18x, 2-3/day


What you hold in your body is completely up to you. Afterall, we are 70% water! Keep up with inner state of well-being, specifically kidneys and bladder, to support your skin this Winter season.


Xoxo,

Jessica

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