REMEMBER YOUR POWER!
Traditional Chinese Medicine reminds us of our innate power. The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we already have everything we need to be well. We hold the power to heal ourselves!
This idea can help us cope with Christmas stress. When you feel stress piling up, take a moment to ask yourself some questions….
- How am I handling myself?
- When I look back on this in 10 years, am I acting like the kind of person I want to see?
Reflect on your answer and strive to act consistently with your ideal self-image.
There is a tendency during stressful times to feel powerless, but you DO have the power over how you react to life and to stress.
So…. who do you want to be???
BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH PURPOSE!
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us to tune into the ordinary. It heightens our awareness by requiring us to pay attention to subtle shifts.
This is something we can practice on our own, by being more mindful in our daily routines. When we are more present in each moment, we aren’t bogged down by the various Christmas stresses that surround us.
To practice this, pick one seemingly mundane task – brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, taking out the bins etc. Do this task with utmost presence. If it’s brushing your teeth, notice the way the brush feels in your hand, how the toothpaste lathers inside your mouth, the sounds of the brush against your teeth.
Presence and mindfulness are not about over thinking, but rather, letting go so that your heart and mind are free to truly experience the joys of Christmas!
RUB YOUR EARS!
The ear is a microsystem of the whole body, just like feet are within reflexology.
I will often apply a little ‘magnetic ear pellet’ to clients on very specific points representing a ‘blocked’ area so they can apply pressure to this point, therefore keeping that area stimulated and as free as possible until the next treatment.
Since stress can wreck havoc throughout the entire body, treating the ears is an effective and efficient counter measure.
Use your thumb and index finger to apply pressure to the whole ear, moving from the top of the ear down to the earlobes. You can do this simultaneously on both sides.
Build up warmth and heat in the ear while doing this and try to remember to do it a couple of times a day, or when you’re feeling particularly stressed!
FIND MIDDLE GROUND
By encouraging balance ~ of yin and yang, and of excess and deficiency ~ acupuncture teaches us to find middle ground and appreciate moderation. It becomes a metaphor for not over or under doing it in life.
Christmas generally involves a lot of over doing it – too much food, too many drinks, too much spending, too many late nights, too much stress. It happens but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for going to the extremes in the other direction!
Don’t throw off regular routines because of a Christmas ‘slip’….. don’t skip breakfast and try to burn 1000 calories at the gym because you ate and drank too much at the Christmas party the night before.
Extreme taxation in your body in either direction will throw things into further imbalance.
If you have a wild night, take a day to let your body recover and naturally regain its strength…. it’ll thank you for it!
BE LIKE A MOUNTAIN!
Acupuncture focuses on balancing Yin and Yang. Yin-Yang theory assigns certain qualities to various aspects of our lives, depending on the context within which they reside.
Yin qualities are cold, dark, quiet, contracting, deficient, weak, delicate, soft-spoken, contemplative and introverted.
Yang is hot, bright, loud, firm, expanding, excessive, robust, energetic and chatty.
In comparison to everyday life, Christmas time is very Yang! It is high energy, fast moving and filled with constant hustle and bustle. While fun, this can become stressful. It is important to infuse this time of the year with Yin qualities so that we remain balanced.
You can use a visual meditation where you imagine yourself as a mountain to help…. stay with me here! A mountain is the ultimate Yin – Solid, Rooted and Still, despite the wind swirling around it.
When the whirlwind of Christmas seems to engulf you, take a moment to think of yourself as a mountain. This will help you find inner calm despite the frenzy happening around you.
STRIVE FOR BALANCE
Acupuncture is all about balance. The goal of an acupuncture treatment is to tonify (give to) areas of deficiency and reduce (take from) areas of excess.
This principle applies to Christmas gift giving and time management.
Think about time and money in terms of balance. If you find yourself with extra time in the coming weeks, offer to help those who don’t. If you’re really strapped for time, ask for help!
With gifts, ask yourself what you can offer that will help others without hurting you. Gifts come in all forms and should feel good on the receiving AND the giving end.
GET OUT IN NATURE
In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds us. The natural elements are essential parts of all of us, and yet many of us fail to make time to commune with them, especially when the weather turns cold.
Just taking 3 minutes a day to notice the natural world around you can be a refreshing de-stressor around the Christmas madness.
Pick a piece of nature that inspires gratitude within you. It can be an old tree, a serene pond or crystal white snow. Maybe it’s just standing outside and feeling the solid earth under your feet, or the crisp wind against your face.
Getting out in nature at Christmas time is not only a nice break but also a reminder of the magnificent gifts that surround us every day.
FORGET THE ‘SHOULDS’
Traditional Chinese Medicine is centred around the notion that we are ever changing, evolving beings. Nothing is set in stone.
When we fail to think of ourselves as the constant work-in-progress that we are, there’s a tendency to start imposing a lot of ‘shoulds’ on ourselves.
I ‘should’ spend at least £40 on their gift
I ‘should’ have the house decorated by now
I ”should’ go to that party because I couldn’t make it last year
So many of us place undue expectations on ourselves. By making a real effort to stop the ‘shoulds’, it frees you up to live without the pressure and guilt that has a tendency to increase this time of year… you’ll feel lighter for it too!
GO WITH THE FLOW ~ literally!
We hear this phrase a lot nowadays, but from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective this little piece of de-stressing advice takes on a whole new meaning.
When my clients often ask me how acupuncture works, I explain in the simplest way I know how….
The channels/meridians in our bodies (one channel/meridian represent each organ in our body) are like rivers, flowing with our blood, oxygen and vital energy, also known as qi (pronounced Chee). These rivers flow freely throughout our bodies following very specific paths and all is well until, a trauma occurs.
This trauma could be a physical trauma or an emotional trauma or upset. These traumas cause a blockage in our river and a build-up occurs where the qi can’t flow freely past this point. This back up gets bigger and bigger and if it isn’t unblocked it eventually becomes pain in the body or mind.
The needles, when placed into the specific point where the build-up has occurred, simply gives your body the heads-up that something needs to be cleared and your own fantastic body does the rest.. amazing!
There is a famous Chinese saying, “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” roughly translated as “If there is not free flow there is pain. If there is free flow, there is no pain.”
In other words, physical and emotional health are achieved when there is free flow throughout the channels/meridians of the body. Disease arrives when the flow stops.
We can each take this thinking and apply it to stress. Sometimes things never seem to go according to plan. Instead of feeling ‘blocked’ by a situation, try to focus less on the details and more on your own amazing ability to flow through them!
Keep flowing forward friends!
Yeah ok so we all know keeping hydrated is really important, but in Chinese medicine it goes much deeper than that. Each season is associated with a natural element and water is of the winter, when we pull back to our hibernation dens and rest and renew our reserves.
We can use water literally and metaphorically as a natural de-stressor.
- Start every day with a large glass/cup of luke warm water and drink it slowly! Take some deep breaths into your abdomen.
This morning ritual helps keep your body hydrated yes but also relaxed at a time when perhaps more-than-usual amounts of alcohol and caffeine (both dehydrators) meet higher-than-usual stress levels.
- Metaphorically ~ look at water as a model for coping with stress….. when stress starts to mount, close your eyes and imagine yourself as strong, yet fluid and flexible. You are easily able to adjust around whatever gets in your way.
So add 5 minutes in the morning to enjoy a cup of warm water and take your lovely renewing deep breaths and then go through the day remembering the powerful fluid ability within you.