PRACTICAL AND EASY TIPS THAT YOU CAN USE IN YOUR NORMAL DAILY ROUTINE.
Stress can really take a toll on your mind and your body. It is considered the number one culprit when it comes to imbalances within the body. Studies show that chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels and can eventually lead to conditions such as obesity and metabolic disorders. In our modern-day lives, it is easy to get overwhelmed by responsibilities, technology, and relationships as we are constantly inundated by things like advertising, news, and social media. Even though our days may be busy, it is important to remember to take time to care for yourself.
As the wise Chinese sage Lao Tzu said, “Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”
Chinese medicine is a holistic practice that incorporates diet and lifestyle into its regimen. By adding some (or all!) of these easy tips into your life- you may not become less busy, but you will notice yourself dealing with stress in healthier ways!
Chinese Medicine Self-Care Tips
- Drink more tea – Taking time from your busy schedule to slow down and brew a cup of tea can do wonders for your state of mind. This simple act can bring more mindfulness and self-care into your days. For centuries, tea has been an art form as specific herbs need special attention, temperatures of water and brewing times. So, dive in, and learn what the tea needs, spend some time smelling the herbs, observing how the tea flowers in hot water and smelling the healing aromas. There’s a tea out there for almost everything- lucky us!
Green tea or matcha– if you need a little energy boost.
Chrysanthemum and goji tea – for tired eyes, Pro Tip- after the tea has brewed and teabag has cooled you can place onto your eyes and use as a poultice to further enhance the benefits for your eyes.
Chamomile and honey tea– if you need to de-stress and wind down after a long day.
Fennel and mint tea– for a digestive tonic.
Rose tea– can help soothe your nerves and improve your mood, it has also been known to make you more open to receive and accept love.
Rebalance Tea – our Serenity Tea and Calming Tea. Both have been designed to assist with reducing stress. Serenity Tea has been designed to assist with irritation, frustration, anger, and stress. Calming is great for times of short to long term stress and to give yourself some nurturing. These are available for purchase at our webpage – www.rebalancetcm.com or you can contact me and I can make a specific individual tea for you!
- Qi Gong/ Tai Qi– These activities are great to get your blood moving and bring you into the present moment. Look for classes in your local area if you need to know where to start. If you are in the Eltham and surrounding areas – Grasshopper Yoga studio runs Qigong, Yoga and meditation classes as well as Kids Yoga. You can even look online for a short flow that you can incorporate into your daily routine – have a search of YouTube for 5 minute Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi sequences. Even five minutes a day can help lower stress levels and ease pain.
Here is a quick link to a 5 min sequence for beginners Qi Gong –
My favourite Qi Gong Activity is shaking. This activity requires no special workout clothes or fancy mat – you can do it anywhere!
Start off by standing in a comfortable position.
Take a few deep belly breaths and allow your body to relax.
Soften your knees, jaw, and neck, and spread your toes wide.
Lightly start to bounce in place, allowing your joints to be loose. You can coordinate your breath with your movements.
You can shake a slowly or vigorously as you need. Down worry about looking silly, just get into it!
Do this activity for at least 5 minutes at a time.
When you are ready to stop, stop abruptly and close your eyes, notice if there is any movement in the stillness, take a few deep breaths before stepping back into your day.
- Clean out Clutter- Having a messy and cluttered home can lead to states of stress too! So, take some time out of your weekend and try to go through things in your house. Start with piles, if there are things piling up around the corners of your house, go through them and ask yourself:
– Do I need this?
– Do I use this?
– Does it make me feel good?
– Is it useful?
– Is it beautiful?
If most of the answers are no- it goes! You can donate most items to organizations such as the goodwill ones which include the Salvation Army or even shelters around your town. After the piles start in your closet, then move onto the kitchen and garage. You’ll start to feel better with less clutter. I have found from my own experience being ruthless is the best way to assist with decluttering. If you pick up an item and find that you are getting irritated – it might also be time to let it go.
- Walk around barefoot– This simple act can be profound, taking time to connect with nature is very important. There are also many meridians that start and end at your feet, so you can use this activity to help bring balance and calm to your body this way. The first point on the Kidney meridian is located on the bottom of the foot, and the kidney meridian and organ system are associated with the body
source qi, so use this time to refuel your tank!
- Listen to the sound of ocean waves or head to the beach – It has been proven that the sound of the ocean has a profound calming and centering effect on our brain waves. If you can – try and make a trip to the beach once a week in summer or even in winter and sit and listen to the waves. While there – why not take a video and record it on your phone. This way when you are feeling stressed – you can play it back and watch the video. If you don’t live near the beach or are inland – have a look on YouTube for mediation music which has
the sound of the ocean waves in it because this will work just as well!
- Meditation – Together with the above suggestion is meditation. Qi gong and Tai qi are mediations in motion, but you can also take a seat and just be. Use this time to allow the thoughts to quiet down and take some deep breaths. Check out this article if you need some more tips to get started: https://www.wildearthacupuncture.com/blog
- Move – when we get stressed, our whole body becomes tense and our Liver and Gallbladder energy gets stuck. A simple way to assist with clearing this and aid with built-up tension is just to move – this can be as simple as doing 10 jumping jacks on the spot, walking on the spot for 5 mins, climbing a set of stairs. The movement moves the stuck energy, assists with oxygenating your body and generally, you will feel much better. My favourite is also putting on some music and just having a Boogey – great when you have little ones as well as they love this exercise.
- Pressure points – There are some amazing Acu-pressure points located on your body that can help chill your mind and calm your body. Located on point at a time and press lightly into the point, while breathing deeply and imagining your breath flowing into that area. Feel any stagnation or anxiety float away with every exhale. Hold each point for 3-5 minutes.
LI4– This point is located between the thumb and index finger on the webbing of your hand, closer to the metacarpal bone of the index finger. This point is great to relieve stress and muscle tension, even headaches.
GB 20– Reach up and place your thumbs in the tender divot between the base of the skull and the top of the neck, to either side of your spine, let your fingers rest gently on the top of your head. Press lightly or rub small circles here. This can help alleviate headaches and foggy brains.
GB 21 – This found at the top of the shoulder along the mid trapezius muscle. Many of us when we are stressed, notice tight neck and shoulders. Using your opposite hand, reach over to your shoulder and gently squeeze this point, or ask a partner to press this point for you. It has a descending property and is also beneficial for releasing tension through the shoulders. Use GB21 in conjunction with GB20. A heat pack to this area and a quick rub will leave your shoulders feeling looser and reduces tension through the shoulders.
St 36 – This point is located four finger widths down from the bottom of your knee along the outer border of your shin. Applying pressure at this point can help to increase energy, and relieve fatigue, it can even help with digestive upset. It will assist with increasing your immunity, which can become low in times of stress.
LR3 – This point is in the webbing between the big toe and the second toe. This is a great point to use if you are feeling irritable or are tired from running around trying to do it all! Sneak yourself a foot massage while you are at it. Your body and mind will thank you! (You can roll your foot on a spikey ball gently or give yourself acupressure to LR 3 and a foot soak in Epsom salts! Epsom salts are great for replenishing yourself and assisting with relaxing the body and muscles.
Use a foot soak before bed to improve your quality of sleep too.
I suggest massaging all along the liver channel of the foot from the side of the big toe (nest to the other toes, and up along the points. These points combined assist with alleviating stress, irritation, frustration, and anger.
Last but not least – soak your feet at night in some Epsom salts. 1 cup of Epsom salt to about 2L of warm to hot water. Sit on the couch and breathe, meditate, or put a comedy on the TV. Easy self-care!
Written by Dr Julia Bartrop.
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