Dear Vicki: This isn’t really a question about a relationship with another person, it’s more about my relationship to a season. I hate winter and actually think I may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because I’m always so depressed during the winter month, no matter how beautiful people say they are. I hate being cold! Even worse, I’m pretty sure I’m a Water personality, which makes winter “my” season. Yuck! So why do I hate it so much? Dreading Winter
Dear Dreading: This is an excellent question at an excellent time. Winter is just around the corner. In past posts we have touched on the fact that the seasons absolutely affect how our personalities manifest. During the season associated with our element, we often feel more “ourselves,” as if the incoming energy reminds us of who and what we are. For example, my Wood personality is all about getting things done, which is the hallmark of spring. So right around the middle of March, I usually do feel like I’m waking up from a long winter nap and am ready to take on the world. The incoming energy of spring helps me get going in a way that thrills my Wood.
We can also feel more balanced during a season that isn’t our primary energy, but is one that we really need. So if I’ve been going full speed ahead all spring and summer, the energy of autumn will help me slow down, not just because the days are shorter, but because it’s the energy of Metal, which sits on my Controlling Cycle. Autumn helps my productivity-oriented Wood slow down and stay balanced. And if my Wood is depleted, winter can be a great time because the Water energy of winter feeds the Wood element. But it doesn’t work that way for other elemental personalities, so let’s see what can be done to help you.
You are correct that winter is usually a time that soothes the souls of Waters – it’s all about quiet, inner-directed focus, something that balanced Waters love. However, if life has created a state of imbalance in you such that you have too much Water, the oncoming winter will not feel good at all. At the very time you need less Water energy, the universe is literally flooding you with more! But there are ways to help work with this gift from Mother Nature.
In the brilliant Five Element model, we know that Earth sits on the Controlling Cycle for Water. Said another way, Earth energy can help decrease Water energy. This means that more Earth energy during the winter will help you manage your seasonal overabundance of Water. Said another way, you want to bring up your own Earth energy to help manage your “too much Water” state.
To do this, you can make winter a time you connect with the people who matter to you (remember that Earths love meaningful connections). The holidays make that easy, so try to make time for the people who matter to you. Also, nurture yourself in whatever way feels good to you. Earths usually use food to nurture in one way or another, but maybe going to a movie or reading a good book feels nurturing to you. Whatever feels good, do it (within reason, of course)! Finally, another good way to bring up your Earth energy is to focus on making your surroundings as comfortable as possible. Do you need a new, comfy chair? Better heating? Or maybe fresh paint on the walls? This “nesting” approach is a hallmark of Earth.
Other ways for you to build Earth energy during winter include wearing earth colors (think yellow, rust, brown, etc.). Yellow is especially affective at building Earth, plus it will remind you of a sunny day, the perfect antidote to the darkness of winter. You can also wear citrine or tiger’s eye jewelry all winter (make sure the stone touches your skin) as these stones help build Earth energy. The fragrances of peppermint or lemon balm essential oils help build Earth, too. You can wear them on your skin or use a room diffuser to spread the scent through the air. And don’t forget how important food is to Earth energy, especially sweets. The holidays that occur during winter are a perfect time to ground Earth energy using food (but don’t overdo the sugar). Also, a tea made of ginseng, ginger, or lemon balm will also balance Earth energy, plus the hot tea will help chase away the cold.
Building your Earth to help balance the added influx of Water energy that winter provides is one way to help you move gently – and perhaps even willingly – into winter. It might also be wise to find out if you do have Seasonal Affective Disorder. If so, there are different therapies that can help with that. And there’s always the option of taking your vacation times during winter so you can go someplace bright and warm. I wish you all the best in embracing “your” season this year! May you find peace in its beauty!