Here in the West, the New Year more than often brings our attention to a renewed focus on diet and exercise. It’s interesting that in the East when it’s their New Year, the focus is very much on the whole person; body, mind and spirit.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we think of health and wellness in terms of balance. Everything – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, is connected.
I have experienced the impact that continual physical discomfort and pain can have on my ‘spirit’. I see it in my work very often, people who have been suffering chronic pain for many years, their quality of life has been impaired. This impacts their spirit, they may have lost the sparkle in their eyes or the brightness in their voices… I guess that’s why you’ll hear me preaching on about seeking out the magic and sparkle in every day life, as you’ve got to keep those reserves built up!
One of the most rewarding parts to my job is seeing people start to ‘sparkle’ as their spirit becomes balanced and connected again. Acupuncture is amazing at not only relieving pain, but also restoring spirit or vitality. If you feel you’ve lost control of your health or other important parts of your life, there’s no better time to find your balance again.
Other ways to make a fresh start or connect your whole being can include;
Celebrating food that nourishes you
Be extra mindful of what you’re putting into your body. Try to cook more from scratch and add as many immune-boosting foods and natural healing foods for mind and body as possible.
Think outside the box for managing pain and stress
There is absolutely a time when we need medicine, and I am so grateful for what it can help us with, but, try to think of other alternatives or additions to it. Our bodies are amazing at healing if we give them a chance and the right environment. Look at all there is to offer as natural options to reduce pain and stress. I’m obviously a little bias towards acupuncture but there are so many amazing natural modalities to well being out there.
Increase movement and body awareness
Connecting body and mind through combined movements can be so nourishing and calming. Think of exercises which use the breath alongside the body, like tai chi, qi gong or certain yoga classes. Slow, fluid forms of exercise, fantastic for balance, strength and stamina but requiring concentration are great for the mind. It’s a great way to mentally de-clutter, manage stress and gain mental clarity.
Nourish your spirit
In making a new start, connect with yourself and your loved ones to renew your spirit. A few suggestions;
- Unplug from electronics; enjoy the silence for at least one hour a day and especially important before bed to promote a deeper sleep.
- Reconnect with forgotten hobbies; whether it’s painting or walking, carve out time for yourself.
- Slow down and reconnect with friends; seek out friends who nourish your soul and support you. You know who they are.
- Pamper yourself; it doesn’t have to be anything too luxurious, although that’s fine too! Take time to yourself to enjoy a long hot shower or bubble bath. Splurge on that new perfume or read that book you’ve been promising yourself the time to read.
- Always look for the good in yourself. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, learn to let them go and forgive. You’re human; you’ve made mistakes, we all have, believe me! Allow yourself to move on.
Modern life can be so busy and it’s so easy to be consumed with distractions, rushing to meetings, taking kids to activities, watching TV, continually browsing on our phones. It’s easy to lose our sense of self. But we know when that happens and things start to feel off and imbalanced. Look out for that cue to reconnect – body, mind and spirit.