Ensure you lift your summer spirits and look to the future

JOANNE FAULKNER

Most of us had some plans for the summer. Maybe we were getting married, going abroad on holiday, sitting the Leaving Certificate, or celebrating a big birthday, but now all those plans are out of the window.

Even as lockdown loosens and we feel the ease of restrictions, we can be left feeling flat. Without working towards the hopeful future we had planned, we can feel despondent in the present. Lessons from Traditional Chinese Medicine with its focus on diet and acupressure points can help get us through this period of uncertainty and even guide us into a more balanced, happier future.

Firstly, when you are lacking mental brightness and positivity don’t push yourself. Simply be where you are. Notice what is around you, name five things that you see or hear that are beautiful. This can be hearing birdsong, seeing how green the grass is, or sensing how the breeze moves the leaves in the trees.

When you prepare food, do it with love. Arrange your meal on the plate so it looks beautiful, clear and set the table with care so you eat with appreciation. These are small simple tips that in Chinese Medicine that feed the heart.

The heart organ is the emperor of the body, it stores our spirit and is represented by a flame. Don’t let your fire dwindle. Feed the flame and lift your spirit by seeing and creating beauty, right here, right now.

The season of the heart is the summer, so choosing summer foods such as watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, beetroot, tomato, radish and red peppers benefit the heart physically and emotionally. Try experimenting and put them together in a new way so you see your food as alluring and elegant.

Watermelon Wonder

Watermelon works well in a salad dish and complements a barbeque as in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is the ingredient that cools summer heat. When your inner flame is burning too brightly and you are overheating, red in the face or sweating profusely, juice this fruit or munch on segments to move blood, reducing pain and heat around the joints, making this a perfect food for gout, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

1 medium watermelon

100g feta cheese?

1 red onion

Handful of fresh basil leaves

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Chop the watermelon into bite-size pieces. Slice the red onions into paper-thin, half moons and sprinkle them along with the crumbled feta onto the watermelon. Scatter the basil leaves and drizzle the olive oil over the top to finish.

Tip: Choose a watermelon that has wide spaces between the dark green lines. They are sweeter that way.

Simple Fists and Thighs Exercise

A physical exercise to shift stagnant downturned emotions is to make loose fists and lightly pummel the front of the thighs. Bring the fists up and down over the quads, which are a group of four large muscles at the front of the legs between the knees and hips, for about 30 seconds.

This stimulates the stomach and spleen channels, responsible for harmony and comfort in the body. So rather than reaching for something sweet to raise the spirits try a little light pummelling which after a couple of days, works wonders in lifting despondent spirits.

It can be hard to appreciate the present when the future feels uncertain but being in the heart in the present moment can transform tragedy to inner strength.

Be kind to yourself. I cant assure you there are better things on the way but there will be different things and if we can keep the eyes open appreciating the beauty in life, right here right now it will help glide us easily along the path to a bright, balanced tomorrow.

For more information on Shiatsu Conscious Cooking and to buy the book full of recipes, tips and Chinese Medicine visit www.joannefaulkner.ie

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