Being overwhelmed, tired and stressed at this time of year, and having questions about whether you can manage your workload, is the Water Element seeking to balance itself, in Chinese Medicine.

The more we are in synchronicity with the natural elements by immersing ourselves in them one by one as the year goes by, the more we are inviting a connection with the energies of the seasons and thereby nature’s way of moving and transforming what we call Chi or Ki, to enable survival and balance.

Winter in the UK is a time of cold and contemplation, where it is natural for living beings to hibernate, quieten and retain their energy. This is Yin energy. The more lively and active we are at one part of the year, and this includes the comparatively Yang behaviours such as socialising, working, studying, looking after ourselves and our families etc, the slower and private we have to be to maintain the year’s equilibrium. To ensure a long and healthy life, so Chinese medical practitioners would say, we seek equality between Yang and Yin.

Receiving Shiatsu connects us with this natural way of the Tao. Even if we didn’t know it in our conscious mind, we did know it deep down when we engaged with the therapy, and we wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t something important, even potentially life changing. This means it will not always be easy – breaking habits and changing life patterns can be very hard work.

The one thing we can totally rely on, is that the seasons will turn and we will once again experience the excitement of Spring and the return to the more Yang half of the year. Our challenge is to find a way to accept the winter now, and not make any major decisions for the future, but bide our time as the plants and wildlife do:

• keeping warm
• breathing deeply in the fresh air for regular but short periods of time
• feeding ourselves Yang energy in the form of root vegetables and pulses, and meat if we eat it
• sleeping and resting more
• releasing ourselves from any unnecessary challenges
• keeping ourselves in touch with supportive people & interesting information, in small parcels of time
• and moving around from city to city, or country to country, as little as possible.

(Photos taken in Yalding, Kent during the flooding)