Surviving the Winter Blues

Now, in early winter  we are feeling the pain here in Melbourne. Australia.  The light fades by 5.30 and  cold,  wet, grey skies have us scurrying to move into the warmth and security of indoors.

Each season in Feng Shui is associated with one of the five elements. Earth Metal, Water, Wood and Fire.  Winter belongs to the Water element. The energy that predominates now is a slow, inward energy that encourages introspection and insightfulness.  Like water, it is clear and deep, restorative and quiet.

The Kidneys

The organ of the body that is also associated with this element is the kidneys. In Chinese physiology the kidneys are seen as the root and foundation of the body. They promote energy and warmth and they lie at the heart of the yin and yang of the whole body.

For the Earth, winter is a time for rest to prepare for a new year ahead which begins with the new growth of Spring. Now we too are preserving energy for that time.

The kidneys are associated with courage and we need healthy kidneys to draw upon them when dealing with life’s  ups and downs. This is the time to nourish and bring vitality to  the water organs  in our bodies. They need warmth and the right kinds of foods and environment to balance us and keep us healthy.

By making our homes a sanctuary to warmth and comfort we allow ourselves time to store up energy, to plan and reflect on our highest intentions and dreams.

Feng Shui offers some things we can do in our homes to work along with the purpose of winter and accentuate its positive aspects.

Settle in, hibernate and take these comforting steps.

Colours

The kidneys need the fire element to work efficiently. Warm colours and rich textures create a deeply comforting feeling. Add in the Fire colours of red, pink, deep orange, pumpkin, and garnet. A little green of the Wood element will also help to liven your energy.

The North

The North is the direction of Water. Makes sure this area is clean and uncluttered. Bring in a little black and dark blue colours in cushions, decorative objects and art work. But not too much.

Furniture Arrangement

Fostering our inner lives can be symbolised in the way we arrange furniture.  Draw couches and chairs closer to each other to reduce the space. This creates a more yin feeling. If you have an open fireplace , a ???? arrange the furniture around them to create a focal point that fosters warmth,  comfort and restoration. This is a really good thing to come home to after a day at the football, walking in the stiff breeze or any other physical activity.  A fireplace is a reminder to slow down and regenerate.

Large open areas with polished floor boards can be too yang in winter. Beg or borrow a rug to soften the effect.  Tall objects, furniture such as tall boys or bookshelves, chairs with straight backs or a tall plant will lift the energy in places where you may feel unmotivated or depressed.

In places that feel stagnant, create some movement. Flames from a fire  will do this, so will a mobile (a hanging one that is, not a phone!) Open windows every now and again to refresh the air and turn on fans for a while to gently move it around. Hang a piece of material over a heating duct letting it wave in the flow, and play music to create a little more activity.

Feed the Senses.

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home especially in winter time. The warmth and aromas emanating from a cooking,  tempt the appetite and  nourish our senses of taste and smell.  The best foods are the ones that warm the body’s core. Warm hearty soups, whole grains, roasted nuts, small dark beans, seaweeds, and steamed winter greens all help to fortify the kidneys. Cook foods longer and at lower temperatures and with less water.

Listening

The kidneys  and water are also associated with our sense of hearing. When water is still or yin, we listen for insight. When it is moving or yang we listen for potential and possibility. Use these qualities of water in your life; still water to listen to your own wisdom and moving water to connect with those around you,  listening and communicating  generously.

Lighting

Good lighting prevents us feeling low and helps avoid the ‘stuckness’ that winter can bring. A good way to think about it is to vary the sources. At times use natural lighting from outside. Clean your windows because this lifts the spirits as well. Inside, use mood lighting with lamps shining onto comfortable chairs.  This can draw us to sink in and enjoy a relaxing and quiet time. Try out different coloured shades  for effect in different parts of the house. Vary them with overhead fixtures, specific task lighting, taller floor lamps and up lights.

Candlelight is a special kind of light that heals. Eat your dinner or take a bath surrounded by candles.

Ceremonies to Honour the Season

A powerful way to accept and honour the  season is to hold a ceremony.  This can bring us into touch with  the purpose of  the season and bring gratitude for the healing time that winter can be. Ceremonies also help us to recognise and honor the aspects of life beyond our day to day worries. We can create a Feng Shui ceremony by placing candles, music, scents and significant personal symbols together to heal our homes and to help release our worries and fear.

Comfort Corners

A great idea to alleviate the blues is to gather together in a drawer or a corner, lots of sensual comforts; a small wheat bag to place on your lap or snuggle into your back, lavender essential oil to stimulate the appetite, your ipod, favorite tea, nuts, scented hand lotion and a really good book.  Keep the contents together are restock is regularly.

Clutter

One thing that is sure to help with the winter blues is clearing out clutter.  Clutter, especially near the main door only encourages the stagnation of winter. Shoes, coats, scarves, hats and bags dumped in piles near the entrance, prevents positive qi from entering the home. While winter is a time of reflection, this does not mean a time to encourage stagnation. That’s what leads to depression. Keep the main door area open and uncluttered.