I love January! Particularly this early part of the year.
From the shortest, darkest day on December 21st there has been such a sense of stillness and waiting.
Even when I’m out running over the fells in the dark with icy sleet blasting the side of my face, I can still feel it. In fact especially then. It’s like the whole year is holding its breath and teetering on a balance point not quite ready to start rolling again.
But now it is; here we go! It’s already gathering quite a bit of speed.
Here come the snowdrops!
Look at all the bulbs go! It’s complete, January magic. I was out in the garden laying some old flags out as a path to my compost bins and transplanting the snowdrops that would otherwise get squashed by the slate, when I was caught out by how light it still was into the evening. I had a robin helping out, but also, suddenly, other birdsong too. As I finally gave in to darkness, a couple of owls started calling from the woods too.
Meanwhile, back in my clinic everyone has flu. Or a cold. Or is coughing! It’s been quite a year for coughs and colds, but this latest one is really nasty.
So here are some things to do for now.
Really! Try to get a feeling for the stillness that’s still here in the year. Our senses know that the days are still very, very short. It’s cold outside. Our bodies want us to catch up on sleep. To wrap up warmly, drink hot drinks, sit comfortably with silence and maybe a good book. Enjoy some deep stretching. Spend time talking with good friends. Make plans (I love that bit!) and make the most of the quiet and dark while it’s still here.
To ward off the colds, or to get better faster if it’s too late, here’s one of my all time favourite recipes for a therapeutic, flu busting hot potion!
in 1 big mug put;
1 desert spoon concentrated apple juice or eg spiced winter cordial. You can make your own elderberry cordial in late Summer which works well with this, or you could put all the other ingredients into a mug of non concentrated apple juice and warm them all together in a saucepan. I’m proud to report that I succeeded in bottling and pasteurising my own apple juice this year so that’s what I’ll be using!
1/2 stick of cinnamon warming and good for aches
2 cloves more warmth
2 thumb nail sized pieces of fresh ginger even more warmth as Winter colds are usually energetically Cold in Chinese Medicine.
2 star anise clears phlegm and it’s an amazing anti viral
2 or 3 pieces of whole orange including the peel lots of vitamin C and the peel helps settle your digestion.
add any of the following ingredients as appropriate;
1 thumb nail sized slice of fresh turmeric this is a great anti-inflammatory if your throat or sinuses feel inflamed.
2 pods of green cardamon this is a Spleen Qi tonic so good if you feel nauseous or if you’ve lost your appetite or have been sweating a lot.
1 pod of black cardamon this is a Kidney Yang tonic, so good if you’re feeling low and flat, or tired and chilly when you should have recovered.
half a teaspoon of goji berries these are a kidney Yin tonic so good if your sinuses and chest feel dry after the cold, and if you can’t sleep for feeling jittery at night.