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Take Time to Listen to Your Body

Take Time to Listen to Your Body

It has been a busy couple of months for me! Like many of you, I’m busy balancing many areas of life: – relationships with family and friends, running a business, taking care of ageing parents, house hold duties and more. What tends to get squeezed out is time for relaxed conversation, and time to observe the signals from my own body. So, although I’ve noticed the weather warming up (occasionally), the blossoms on the trees, and the early spring flowers, I hadn’t really taken the time to listen to my body, and notice my own body’s response to the changing season.

Last week, my partner and I went to see our tax agent and afterwards we sat down for a well deserved cup of coffee and a chat. We’ve both been so busy recently that our conversation has been mostly confined to essentials, so it was a real pleasure to enjoy the sunshine and sip one chai latte, and then another. Before we knew it, nearly 3 hours had slipped by and we were both feeling refreshed, energised, and re-connected(caffiene aside). I went home that evening and looked around for salad ingredients, because that was suddenly what my body was craving. Maybe it had been telling me earlier, but it wasn’t until I took the time to clear out some of the things that were on my mind and then share them, that I was ready to listen to my body.

I was taken by surprise because, to be honest, I was still thinking about soups, and heavy winter foods and habits, and suddenly my body was telling me that it was spring: – time to cleanse, release, and lighten up. You probably know what I’m talking about… Have you ever noticed how much heavier you feel in winter and how likely you are to drink more alcohol, go to bed later because you can’t be bothered moving off the couch, stay in bed longer in the morning, crave warm heavy foods…? That’s your body’s natural response to shorter days, colder weather, and winter conditions and you should acknowledge and honour that (in moderation). Equally, as the days lengthen, the weather warms up, and everything around starts to unfurl, it’s time to welcome that feeling of lightness and growth and pay attention to its voices.

Sometimes we have a tendency to over-analyse our feelings and instincts and evaluate them against what other people are saying and doing. While it’s always good to get advice and do our own research, sometimes we do just need to take time to listen to our own body and do what it’s telling us, even when it goes against the grain. Of course, it’s best to deliberately set aside time to be quiet and just listen, but when life gets too busy, following your instincts is a good Plan B.

As I said last month, “We are not robots.” The cycle of seasons… through the year and through life include times of growth and challenge, times of harvest and abundance, times of conserving and storing, and times of hibernation. Without winter, there is no spring!

Energy Cleansing for Focus and Wellbeing

Energy Cleansing for Focus and Wellbeing

 

People are not machines!

Energy CleansingI know this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people expect themselves to function like a machine and absorb stressful circumstances, conflict, and even minor irritations without any consequences. Of course, humans are amazing, and we often can function for a long time even if we don’t pay any attention to our mental and physical needs, but over time, stress gets into every area of our lives and affects our sleep, our immune system, our moods, our posture, and our response to challenges. For example, studies show that sleep deprivation can be even more harmful to our ability to function well than alcohol (refer to https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oem.57.10.649), so imagine what happens to your reactions when you’re tired, as well as stressed.

On the other hand, imagine what happens when we accept that we are people, not robots, and introduce small daily rituals and short breaks into our busy lives. We don’t just become less stressed. We also become more focused, more aligned with the things that really matter to us, and more present. Maybe you’re thinking that you don’t have the time, energy or resources to take a long enough break to recover… and if you do go away you worry about how things are going without you. Well, I’ve got good news! You don’t need to run away from stress to reduce it.

Recently, I’ve been stressed to the max. I had a crazy couple of months with my mum’s health issues and other stuff going on in my life that sapped my energy and enthusiasm. Not surprisingly, I ended up getting this nasty virus which is going around town, and I felt pretty awful.

When I took time to look at everything that was going on around me, I could see why my immune system had given way, and why I was generally feeling frazzled: I had been acting as though I was a machine and could simply absorb anything life threw at me and ignore the clouds of negative energy that enveloped me. Does that sound like woo-woo? Well, have you ever walked into a room, and suddenly felt uncomfortable, or exhausted, when just a few moments earlier you felt fine? Most people have and if they think about it, it is because the emotional energy of people builds up. That’s why it can be hard to walk into a hospital sometimes.

You can’t always run away from negativity, but you can create little energy cleansing rituals that cleanse your personal energy and the energy in your home or workplace. I believe that becoming more conscious of energy, and establishing little energy cleansing rituals and moments of presence act as a pattern interrupt, so that we can show up in the world as the best version of ourselves. Try creating some rituals for yourself – lighting a candle and feeling the brightness and warmth inside you, washing your hands and really feeling the water cleansing you, breathing deeply… becoming aware of the deep silence underneath the layers of noise in your mind. These are all little rituals that can reduce stress, and help you deal with everyday challenges with more courtesy and focus.

Chinese medicine treatment may be able to assist with your stress.

Some Further Reading:

Looking After Your Qi Energy

Healthy Skin Starts on the Inside!

Healthy Skin Starts on the Inside!

Skin Health and Food

Healthy Skin Starts on the Inside!

Do you suffer from dry, itchy, patchy, or flushed skin? You may be able to alleviate the symptoms with food.

Winter Skin Stressors

During winter many people notice that their skin is especially dry. This can be exacerbated when we alternate between our heated indoor environment and the crisp, cool air outdoors. The cold biting wind doesn’t help either.

You may want to consider exercising indoors in a gym or studio during the winter if your skin is particularly susceptible. Remember to nourish and protect your skin with moisturiser and sunscreen. The foods you eat will help to provide nourishment to your skin.

Foods & Your Skin

One branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves food therapy. Food therapy is part of the self-care regime that enables you to take care of your own health on a day-to-day basis and build your immunity. One of the basic philosophies behind this is that different foods produce differing thermal effects on the body:- cooling, heating, and neutral.

In Chinese medicine, we classify certain conditions as ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. For example, skin conditions that might be caused by too much “TCM heat” may include conditions like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea. Foods that might have a cooling effect on the body might then include tofu, cucumber, apples, bananas, lettuce, watermelon, and peppermint tea. And avoiding foods that heat the body such as deep-fried food, prawns, lamb, curries, chai tea, alcohol, and caffeine. The idea of this example is that if you pay attention to the effect your food choices have on your skin’s health, you may be surprised at what you discover!

Healthy Skin Starts on the Inside!

The Importance of Being Open (to New Perspectives)

The Importance of Being Open (to New Perspectives)

 

Let me start with a story: Recently I paid a home visit to an elderly client who couldn’t get up the stairs to our clinic because she was having severe spasms in her back. For five months she had been having conventional treatments and expensive tests to try to alleviate her pain and discover what was wrong, but her doctors couldn’t find the cause, and physio and other treatments hadn’t helped.

We talked about what was going on, and I asked lots of questions and examined her gently from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holistic perspective. It turned out that 6 years previously she had a car accident and injured her back. She had deep bruising which had slowly moved out along the floating ribs and was causing her pain. Examining her from a different perspective, and with my own experience of bruises which took months to appear on the surface, I was able to identify the pain at its root. The signs and symptoms were all there, but the assumptions that her medical team made had prevented them from seeing the true problem.

Now, I am not suggesting that TCM has the answers to every disease and problem, or that you should only use TCM. My point here is that we are all immersed in our own assumptions, perspectives, and ways-of-seeing and that these all come with inbuilt blind spots. So we have a choice: we can live with our blind spots, or we can be open to other new perspectives and frameworks which might bring healing to our mind, emotions, soul and body.

The problem with seeking independent advice and new perspectives is that we may hear things we don’t want to hear, or can’t relate to.

How is that a problem? It’s not really… or it shouldn’t be. But what do you do when you hear advice that you don’t like, or which sounds trivial or ‘wacky’? If you’re like me, you’ll often disregard it until you are truly desperate for an alternative solution.

When I look at my own issues, in any area of life, I’m always biased by the things I know, or “think” I know. For example, when it comes to my own health I have a tendency to minimise interventions in ways I would never suggest to my clients. This is the reason why most doctors don’t treat themselves or their own family members… because assumptions can be both wrong and dangerous!

I like to challenge myself on a regular basis to change some apparently trivial habit of thought, activity, or routine, as well as looking outside my own discipline of TCM for health information and advice. When we mostly listen to people who think and talk like us, we miss out on the opportunity to look at life from different angles and this may not be ideal for our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Next time you are tempted to think that a recommendation is too trivial or irrelevant to make a difference, ask yourself, “Why not give it a try?”

After 4 Years… finally a Vacation!

After 4 Years… finally a Vacation!

 – Nadia Gazzi

After 4 Years… finally a Vacation!

“Why did I wait so long for this vacation?” was the question I asked myself as I prepared to come home from Queensland after my 1 week vacation feeling rested, refreshed, and energised.

Part of the answer to that was that I had underestimated the value of simply getting away from my usual surroundings. It’s not as though I work 52 weeks a year, it’s just that usually I spend my holidays at home doing home-improvement projects or just lounging around. Planning to go somewhere just seemed like too much of an effort.

In the end we went to stay with some friends(our last real holiday was when we went to Fiji 4 years ago). We spent our time visiting friends and family, fishing (we just caught toad fish, but enjoyed the fresh air and quiet), and hanging out at the Broad Beach Blues Festival (I hate blues, but my partner loves it) where I got to see The Slim Jim Phantom Trio.

I was surprised at just how great it felt to be in a different environment away from any of the distracting projects or unfinished tasks that faced me at home, and, of course, the luxuriously warm temperatures of northern Queensland were a real pleasure after our chilly Melbourne autumn and winter.

More about Nadia