As the cycle of seasons comes to an end, winter suggests that we slow down, conserve our energy, and find peace within. The coldest of all the body types, Winter types usually feel frigid and have difficulty keeping warm. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, these body types are considered to have an excess of cold or a deficiency of yang.
In general, Winter types can be quiet and withdrawn. Their complexions are often ashen and they have dark circles under their eyes. These body types feel cold, especially in their hands and feet. Winter types typically feel tired and move in a slow, measured way. Due to their lack of appetite, they often skip meals or eat only very small amounts of food. People with this body type are intuitive and sensitive, but may be prone to feelings of fear and insecurity.
"The color of winter is in the imagination."
– Ward Elliot Hour
Winter body types should eat foods that provide more life-sustaining energy and nourishment, such as the complex carbohydrates found in this season’s hearty root vegetables and squashes. These body types benefit from foods which have a warming thermal nature, including energy-dense foods with a higher fat content (e.g. certain animal products, fats and oils, and nuts). Warming foods like meats (beef, chicken, and lamb) and oil-rich seafood (anchovies, salmon, and trout) are beneficial.
Generally, Winter types should choose foods that protect the body from the season’s elements. Warming spices are recommended, but should be used in moderation in order to prevent the body from sweating too much and cooling down again. Consuming hearty soups, stews, roasts, and slow-cooked dishes will also help these body types to sustain themselves through the cold.
Warming root vegetables and thick-skinned squash
Energy-dense foods, high-quality animal products and fats
Hearty soups and stews
Slow cooking methods (e.g. simmering, braising, roasting)
Warming spices, but not overly spicy foods
Raw fruits and vegetables
The mental life of Winter body types is active with dreams and ideas; however, fear often prevents them from actualizing those dreams. These types need to seek inspiration to leave their comfort zones, even if it means risking failure and rejection. By embracing the spirit of yang, Winter types can create some life fire and develop the courage to propel themselves forward. Affirmations, imagery, and awareness exercises are beneficial for boosting self-confidence and conquering deep-rooted fears. Setting attainable goals can help them to take action and move forward in ways that feel manageable.
Emotionally, Winter types feel strongly and deeply, so much so that they can become overwhelmed. Cognitive therapy can help them to integrate their sensitivity in healthy, constructive ways. Regular meditation practice increases self-awareness and offers a safe space to experience and process their emotions. Winter types should relish the peace and quiet of the season’s yin, but also be mindful not to withdraw too deeply within themselves.
Winter types require regular physical activity to build warmth and increase their metabolism. It is essential for them to keep the core of the body warm, especially the lower back and waist area. Qi gong exercises, saunas, whirlpool baths, and massages in a warm setting can help to promote circulation, increase blood flow to cold extremities, and boost body warmth.
Physical activity offers Winter types an ideal way to increase vigor and light some yang fire from within. Participating in races and athletic events will encourage them to set goals and help to build confidence. Team sports get the body moving, provide a social setting with playful interaction, and develop a competitive spirit not usually seen in these types. Winter body types may also consider adrenaline-pumping activities like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and competing in survival races. By pushing themselves in new and physical ways, these types can learn to overcome their fears and achieve goals they didn’t think possible.