A patient in my clinic in Bristol asked me the other day if I practice what I preach at home with my family. As an acupuncture practitioner, do I follow the dietary and lifestyle advice that I offer my patients? Am I serious when I say ‘avoid caffeine after 4 pm’? Well, yes, definitely on the caffeine front and 90% of the time I do follow my own dietary advice; but I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not going to pass on all the delicious cheese and wine on offer over these next few weeks. Ordinarily I practice yoga twice a week, run as often as I can and walk my dog every other day. But, as this is probably the busiest Christmas we’ve had as a family (we’re literally somewhere different everyday for a week) I decided I needed a strategy to help me cope physically and mentally. So here’s my plan:
1.) Take time to relax every other day. I practice Yoga Nidra which is a form of relaxation where you repeat a ‘sankalpa’ (an affirmation) when in the deepest part of relaxation. You can decide between 10, 20 and 30 minutes of practice meaning this is suitable for even the busiest person. I love it and feel like I’ve had a little sleep afterwards. Have a look here if you have an iPhone yoga nidra app or if you have another operating system just pop in ‘yoga nidra’ into the search button in the App Store.
2.) Run or walk every day. From personal experience, if I don’t exercise my body starts to feel sluggish and weary, meaning I’ll be reaching for sugary carbs at every opportunity just to give me some energy. So I have to ensure I get outside, even if it’s walking around the block, otherwise just hand me the chocolate!
3.) Stretch before bed. Yes even when I’ve had a few glasses of wine. This also forces me to take some deep breaths which not only helps my digestion but also helps me sleep better (dramatically reducing the grump factor in the morning).
3.) Keep drinking water. It’s so easy to drop this one, especially when visiting family or friends. There’s an ongoing debate about the actual amount of water we are supposed to drink, but I find that even 2-3 pints of water a day helps my skin and head feel clear; and sensibly, if I go for a run, I’ll have more.
4.) Try not to think of new year as resolution time. Research from the University of Scranton published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2010 has shown that only 8% of people achieve their New Years resolutions. I talk to my patients about setting goals for the following year instead. There’s so much information about how to do this but the book like most is ‘It’s your life, what are you going to do with it’ by Anthony Grant and Jane Greene. Once I’ve set my goals I write them down spider diagram style with little strands attached as to what life will look like if I achieve them. This practice helps also me make my ‘sankalpa’ for yoga nidra.
5.) Have some acupuncture. I give myself a little session with my needles as often as I can and it’s such a good reminder that acupuncture works but also how it feels when I use the needles on my patients.
If you’re feeling anxious at all over these next few weeks have a look at this from the British Acupuncture Council’s website in relation to acupuncture and anxiety http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-pr-press-releases/3546-anxiety-the-silent-sufferers.html
Email or call me to make an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07525 357816