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 seen as 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 smeling 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 tea has brewed and tea bag has cool you can place onto your eyes and use as a poltice 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 nevres and improve your mood, it has also been known to make you more open to receive and accept love.
Qi Gong/ Tai Qi- These activites 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 Portland Area there are great classes offered at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. You can even look online for a short flow that you can incorporate into you daily routine. . Even five minutes a day can help lower stress levels and ease pain. My favorite 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, 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 atleast 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 good will, salvation army or even sheletrs 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.
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 is associated with the body source qi, so use this time to refuel your tank!
Meditation - Hand-in-hand with the above suggestion is meditation. Qi gong and Tai qi are mediation in motion, but you can also take a seat and just be. Use this time to allow the thoughts to quite down and take some deep breaths. Check out this article if you need some more tips to get started.
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 releive 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.
St 36- This point is located 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.
LR3- This point is located 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 trying to do it all! Sneak yourself a foot massage while you are at it. Your body and mind will thank you!