Nature teaches us that winter is the time of year for rest and respite. Animals eat densely nutritious foods and hibernate. Many trees lose their leaves and fruit, shedding the responsibility of these adornments and the nutrition they require. We can take a lesson from nature during this time of year. It’s colder, it’s darker, and the days are shorter. We aren’t meant to be expending much energy, and many of us don’t realize how much nourishment and Qi our thinking patterns tend to eat up.

There is this parallel between the brain and the gut, in that both are meant to digest- one is digesting thoughts, the other is digesting food. We all know that digestion in the gut is meant to extract vital nutrients that keep our bodies nourished and healthy. ‘Digestion’ of thoughts should ideally lead to the development of the mind, encouraging mental and emotional growth.

However, when we get stuck on a thought or emotion, this continuous mental digestion consumes energy that should otherwise be used to support our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. This is why we can feel so physically tired and unwell when our thoughts take control. Chinese medicine recognizes the impact that over-thinking can have on our spleen, specifically- it is the pivotal organ of the digestive system according to this paradigm. Our over-active minds gobble up all that Qi that is meant to support healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, thereby affecting all of our other body systems.

So, whether you are a student, a parent, a business owner, a type-A personality, or just someone that tends to spend a lot of time in their head, you are likely taxing your body with all of your over-thinking! Compound this with cold, wintery weather, and you have a recipe for total exhaustion.

This winter, let’s take a cue from nature and focus on conserving our spleen (digestive) Qi. Get plenty of rest. Consume warm, nourishing foods like roasted pumpkin, almonds baked with honey and cinnamon, and ginger tea. Work on freeing yourself from nagging thoughts by taking action or letting go. Writing, painting, or other creative outlets can help with this- try creating a visual embodiment of what is in your head. Talk to your family or friends about your feelings and ideas. Reach out for help when you need it. Get a massage, talk to a therapist, or do some yoga. Whatever helps you get these thoughts out of your head, will ultimately improve your overall well-being.

For more ways to take care of your body and mind, visit us at The Pagoda Tree for a chat over a warm cup of tea, followed by a relaxing acupuncture treatment. Let’s free your mind and nourish your body this winter, so that you will see a more vibrant, glowing, and replenished self, emerging alongside nature this spring!


Sarah Hennessey is one of our fabulous practitioners here at The Pagoda Tree.  She’s on a mission to help you understand your body better and set you back on track for better health.  To book an appointment with Sarah, you can call us on 03 96867454.