Navigating months-long Safer at Home orders, working from home, schooling from home and the myriad other new things that are now a daily part of life is stressful. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with each new development and all the unknowns that surround our lives because of Covid-19 and the current social unrest.
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers something ancient, time-tested and grounding to turn back to during this time.
The idea that supporting mental health is a significant factor in supporting physical health is a central tenet of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Beyond acupuncture and herbal remedies, TCM takes a holistic approach to health that includes simple things you can do each day to foster physical health through supporting the mind-body-spirit connection. Here are seven things you can incorporate into your daily routine to mitigate stress and stay healthy right now 🙂
Sleep. Get enough sleep! Your body does a significant amount of healing each night while you’re asleep. It’s easy to lose track of sleep routines when work and school routines have been so disrupted, but restful sleep is a crucial component for health. Consider incorporating a dedicated routine of winding down each evening to get your body ready for sleep. Putting away your electronic devices, drinking a cup of herbal tea or doing some simple stretches are all ways to signal to your body that it’s time to start winding down for the day. Try to go to sleep at the same time each evening, as our bodies crave routine in this regard. While so many things are up in the air, your sleep schedule shouldn’t be one of them, and your body-mind-spirit will thank you for that.
Hydrate. Drinking enough water is another one of the simplest ways to stay healthy. Water helps to maintain healthy body temperature, normalize blood pressure, detoxify your system and moisten joints, among many other important functions. If drinking water is a challenge for you, try adding some lemon, cucumber or mint to your water to make it more enjoyable. Water intake also comes from the foods you eat, so eating things like fruits and vegetables can help too. Some medications or health conditions can affect how much water you should take in throughout the day, so check with your healthcare professional if you have any questions.
Move. Shake your groove thing! Even five minutes at the start of each day will make a difference. Incorporate movement into your day in whatever way is most palatable for you. That might be going on a walk, having a dance party with your kids, gardening, taking an online class or doing some Tai Qi. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, there are more free online exercise resources available than ever. There’s too many to list here, so Google what suits your fancy if you want inspiration to help you incorporate movement into your day.
Eat well. When we’re stressed, it’s really easy to want comfort in any form, including comfort food. This is completely understandable, but please be mindful of portion control and make sure you’re eating vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and lean proteins as well. Again, with everyone stuck at home, free online recipes for your quarantine abound. Making sure your body is well-nourished is one of the best things you can do for long-term physical and mental health.
Acupressure. There are many acupuncture points you can use at home through acupressure, which is simply pressing on certain points on your body with your fingers, instead of with acupuncture needles. Applying pressure to these points activates Qi circulation in much the same way acupuncture needles do! To relieve stress, here are two common points that are easy to access yourself:
- Great Rushing point: this point is located in the webbing between your big and second toes. Applying pressure here helps maintain a smooth flow of energy throughout your body.
- Union Valley point: this point is located in the webbing between your thumb and first finger. Apply pressure here by using your thumb and first finger of the opposite hand. Activating this point helps relieve stress and tension in your body. It’s also particularly useful for headaches of any kind.
For each point, you can apply pressure for between one and three minutes on each hand or foot. Many acupuncture points can help with different kinds of stress relief, and I am a great tool for learning about more points and acupressure techniques.
Meditate. Research studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practice have a myriad of health benefits, among them stress reduction and overall sense of well-being. Even allocating ten minutes of your day to being truly present in a compassionate and non-judgmental state can do wonders for your life. There are free online classes currently available on meditation and mindfulness, as well as free apps such as Santa Monica-based Headspace.com.
Go easy on yourself. Last, but certainly not least, be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to not do all these things all the time. It’s okay if you’re not as productive as before or to feel out of sorts. Do what you can for yourself and those around you. Something is better than nothing <3
Please contact us to book your appointment if you’d like more information or help on how to address stress, mental health issues, weight loss or anything else that we can help you with!
Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html; https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895748/