At the start of the recent lockdown when like so many of us I was not able to keep my practice open I started a regular practice to fill my days; I was practicing yoga, writing, running and cooking delicious and nutritious meals. All of these were positive activities and helped me to feel healthy and happy and content.
As practitioners of TCM we spend our days encouraging our patients to lead healthier lives – to spend more time exercising, to eat more fruit and vegetables, to spend more time going out into Nature…And then when we return from our busy clinics many of us will be too exhausted to do much more than to flop down into our sofas, flick on the tv and eat and drink too much.
Why is it that even though we know what we need to do in order to lead healthy lives we find it so hard to follow our own advice?
As the days turned into weeks and then slowly slumped into an amorphous pile of identikit months, that initial burst of enthusiasm stagnated and was replaced with apathy that I had never before experienced. I found it increasingly difficult to maintain my practice of living healthily. Buoying up my spirits by performing positive rituals became a chore, and eventually the positive lifestyle that I had embarked on with such fervour became a distant memory…
Speaking to many colleagues, I know that I am not alone in having lived through this experience. If this is ringing true for you as well I want to reassure you that you are welcome to join our elite gang!
We are currently enduring a marathon stretch of the pandemic. That we have managed to survive over six months of social distancing and ever increasing uncertainties and changes to the way that we live our lives, is a testament to our ability to survive. We often stimulate acupuncture point Stomach 36, with needles, or direct moxa, to increases Maximum Oxygen Uptake*, or strengthen Qi but if ever we needed to evoke the spirit of St 36 – Leg Three Miles, a point that provides us with the boost of energy that we need in order to move forward just that little bit further, now is the time!
Here are a few lifestyle tips that I thought you might find helpful to reconnect with your centre and help you to make positive life decisions during this time of uncertainty.
Reduce the amount of information that you take in and process
Flicking through news feeds or social media increases our general stress levels, and research from disasters suggests that it leads to worse health and prolonged PTSD. Why not substitute the mindless news feeding with a decent book – filling your mind, body and spirit with positive stories rather than doom and gloom.
Engaging in regular physical activity help reduce anxiety and stress and will help you to focus on your wellbeing. Why not make it fun by connecting with a friend and going for the burn together – the sparks of joy that you get through connecting with another will inspire you to keep going with your exercise regimes.
In spite of physical distancing measures, we all have the opportunity to go outside for exercise, or event for a short walk. Research demonstrates that creating in the fresh air, and looking at greenery, reduces somatic stress in our body, and clears our mind. Hopefully the beauty of the great outdoors will remind you that you can do it!
I would love to hear your tips and thoughts about how you access your inner Stomach 36. How do you keep going, what do you recommend to your patients – and how do you stay inspired to adhere to your own advice?
Please drop me a line, or send in a short clip and I will share this with the whole community. (send to: email@example.com)
Keep healthy and thank you
for supporting our communities.