The Chinese New Year is a celebration lasting 15 days, and it began on January 31st.  This is the Year of the Horse, and in the Chinese reckoning of time, this is the start of year number 4712!  Many Asian countries celebrate New Year festivities, which last until the moon is brightest, and in China, some people will take weeks of time off from working to prepare for the celebration of the New Year.

The Chinese Zodiac functions in 12-year cycles, and names each of the years after an animal.  We just finished up the year of the snake.  People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses – active and energetic and quick to learn independence.  These people are said to have a straightforward and positive attitude toward life and are known for their communication skills.  A few people born in the year of the horse include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Louis Pasteur, Neil Armstrong, Aretha Franklin and Cindy Crawford.

I hope that you are enjoying the New Year, whether you are celebrating the Chinese New Year, or welcoming in whatever change 2014 brings your way.  I wish you all the health, wealth and happiness possible.  Take charge of your health during this COLD season by adding warming herbs to your meals.

Try some ginger in your soups and casseroles, or as a tea.  The herb is simple to incorporate; just cut away the outer layer, slice, dice or chop the desired amount and add into your meal or drink.  Start with a little and see how you well you tolerate or enjoy this versatile herb.  Ginger as a tea is helpful to rid throat and nasal congestion.  And it is very tasty!  It’s also good if you’re feeling car-sick or nauseous; try it with a little honey.  Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties – you might try adding a bit of ginger essential oil to your bath to help relieve achy muscles and joints.


Be sure to get plenty of fluids even though you might not be thirsty like you are in the warmer months.  Spending so much time inside with the heat going strong tends to be drying inside our bodies and outside, on our skin. You may want to set up the humidifier to prevent dryness in your home.  Hydration matters, and don’t forget your sunscreen, even on cloudy snowy days!

Even if you are feeling less than enthusiastic about an exercise or workout routine, this is a good time to practice your stretching and physical warm up.  It’s a challenge to stay active when it’s so cold (unless you are a snow bunny and hit the slopes or the ice skating rink), but your body will be much happier in the long and short run if you keep yourself in the best shape possible.  Try dancing to a couple of favorite songs each day.  Or take a yoga, Tai Chi or spinning class – there are lots of exercise options to choose from in our community.  If you don’t want to leave the house, march in place and get your heart rate up a bit.  Good luck!

Winter is a time for introspection and sharing our stories.  Whether you’re inspired to write YOUR stories, or share them verbally, or hold them in your heart, treasure this time of year!  Take advantage of this special time to embrace the stillness and enjoy the deep silence of winter.  Stay warm.

Best wishes always,