Nurture your self-being as you return from lockdown to a life of normality

JOANNE FAULKNER

The world is beginning to open-up, there are more cars on the road, children in the park, hustle and bustle is back. But where is our place in a new world order?

There’s so much information about how to behave and how to act, it can be hard to find what fits for us. It can seem that everybody else is coming out of lockdown, meeting friends, smiling easily and taking everything in their stride and maybe it doesn’t feel like that for you. Perhaps you feel unsure about this new way of interacting. Do you embrace friends, Do you have to share a cuppa outside, or is having tea together inside ok? Can you stop and talk to people you meet in passing? Can you go on dates? Mask or no mask? Even though there are written guidelines, how do they apply to your life? Where does lockdown end and normal life begin?

I miss smiles with random strangers in supermarkets and on the street. I know the masks are necessary I just feel uncomfortable. Everybody else seems fine, head down, no contact, keeping distant, getting things done without connecting and heading home. It feels like everyone is getting it right, easily adapting and slotting right into this new way of being. But that’s just a big case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out ) usually applied to social media, this is where everyone has great kids, tidy house, perfect house and the sun is always shining. However, that’s never how it is. The truth is everyone is finding their own way. So how can we use Chinese Medicine to help rediscover our internal compass?

Don’t multi-task

Doing too many things at once can mean we become overwhelmed and lose sight of our purpose. The ultimate goal is to be happy and at peace. By taking things slowly we can experience our feelings. Are we at peace and happy or are we ticking off a to-do list that we “think” will make us happy? You have to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. So slow down, don’t bite off more than you can chew, as you will become irritable and tense, scattered and exhausted. Touch is often overlooked as a way to feel well but it can simultaneously ease pain, lessen anxiety, promote healing and help you to take the obstacles in life in your stride. Try this point facial exercise.

Yin Tang Point - Helps Calm the Mind & Release Tension

This point is often instinctively massaged by people to relieve headaches and eyestrain. In my book Good Food: Better Sex, I use this point for regulating the endocrine system but it can also be used for any facial pain, including those related to sinus congestion.

Find in the midline of the body between the eyebrows. Close your eyes, rotating and pressing into the area for 30 seconds every day. Combine it with rubbing your checks and massaging your jaw to release tension in the whole area, relaxing the neck, shoulders, upper chest and clearing the mind.

Slow Down Food

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, excessive worry and insecurity is the emotion of the spleen and the stomach, these organs are associated with the earth element. So eating foods that support these organs such as whole grains, root vegetables, fennel, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, sweet potato and peas, will help the body navigate the specific emotions that arise.

Carrot and Spinach Mash

Try a new twist on carrots by cooking 500g in boiling salted water until soft, then mashing them with a fork and mixing in the following

Ingredients:

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp. salt

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 level tbsp. sweet paprika

Finish by adding two large handfuls of baby spinach leaves to the hot, mashed carrots so that it wilts before serving. The stomach and spleen don’t like raw food so even wilting spinach means it is softer on the stomach for digestion.

Practice Gratitude

The grass is rarely greener when we jump the fence so it’s healthier for the mind and body to find things we enjoy right here, right now. Even if we are uncomfortable in this new world, find things that you are thankful for will help. Keep a list, on the fridge, on the table, or even make a gratitude jar, adding at least five things to it every day. Maybe, it’s that you have food in your fridge, air to breathe, fingers to feel, or a tongue to taste, there is always something to feel grateful for. Be easy on yourself, take time for things to unfold and know that everyone is navigating the same sea, just in different boats.

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

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