Seasonal Advice December is one of my favorite months. I love the gregarious holiday spirit. And the food. I love all the food. For some, the holidays are more stressful than cheery. This newsletter is about how to stress less during this holiday season. One of the quickest ways to stress less is to care more about how you think/feel and care less about what others think/feel. Remember, it’s okay to skip events to take care of yourself. It’s okay to avoid people who don’t treat you with respect and it’s okay to not do something just because you don’t feel like it.
The 4 Open Space Principles are helpful to put perspective on stressful events. Next time you are worried about something, see if it’s in alignment with these 4 ideas.
It starts when it starts The right people show up Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened It ends when it ends
Stress is rampant and often encouraged in our society. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is brilliant at regulating your nervous system and balancing your neurotransmitters to relieve stress. Here are a few commonly prescribed herbal formulas that may be appropriate for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or need help picking the right Health Concerns formula.
Adrenosen- burnt out, fatigue, achy pain, digestive issues, foggy brain Calm Spirit - stress related emotions, insomnia, dry mouth, poor memory Ease 2 - muscle tension causing tight neck and digestive issues, emotional disorders Ease Plus - stress causing ulcers, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, or substance withdrawal Escape Restraint - anxiety, overeating causing indigestion Griffonex - depression, insomnia, craving carbohydrates Shen Gem - anxiety, insomnia, racing heart, fatigue, slow digestion
Due to chocolate’s high magnesium content, it’s a natural stress reducer. The chocolate dessert below is a nice break from the standard holiday pies or cookies and it’s gluten free. I like bringing a non-traditional dish to holiday parties and if you show up with a gluten free dessert to a party, you are going to make the GF crowd very happy. Plus, it’s just delicious.
Recipe Chocolate Pear Hazelnut Tart adapted from Cafe Johnsonia
4 ounces organic unsalted butter, room temperature 1/3 cup organic sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 organic egg 3/4 cup superfine brown rice flour 1/4 cup buckwheat flour 1/4 cup finely ground almonds 3 tablespoons tapioca or potato starch 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
4 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 2 large organic eggs 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts 1/2 cup organic heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice, buckwheat, and almond flours, with the starch, cocoa powder, and salt. Add them to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together. In a 9-10″ round tart pan, press the dough evenly at a width of about 1/8 inch. Patch any cracks. Evenly trim any overhanging dough. Chill the dough for 20 minutes while preparing the filling.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, hazelnuts, and cream. Arrange the sliced pears over the chocolate crust and pour the batter over the pears. Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until golden and filling has just set. Let cool to room temperature or chill before cutting into wedges.
Acu Point Tai Yang Great Sun Location: At the temple, in a depression about 1 inch posterior to the midpoint between the lateral end of the eyebrow and the outer canthus of the eye Action: Resolve stress, headaches, migraines, eye issues, toothache, and dizziness
Use the soft padded ends of your first and middle fingers. With very light contact, move your fingers in a tiny circular motion. I recommend to circle in the same direction of the Microcosmic Orbit: moving upward when for the part of the circle closest to your spine, and downward for the part of the circle closest to your eye. Apply pressure to your left and right temples simultaneously, continuing for two to three minutes, or longer, if needed.
Exercise Predict Your Stress You already know what things are going to bother you so make a game out of it. Instead of finding yourself frustrated that you are stressed, predict the moment it’s going to happen. That way you are in more control of it and you get a fun moment of “Aha! I’m doing it-I said I’d do it and I was right.” Traffic makes you nervous? Uncle Bob asks when you are going to have kids? Auntie Jane kind of insults you? By predicting it, turn the incident around so it amuses you instead of triggering you.
Meditation Find Where Your Trigger is Located For some, this is a nice meditation to do before an event to help you understand and predict how you are going to feel later. For others, it might ratchet up the emotion to do it beforehand. In that case, don’t look for trouble. The next time you are triggered, step aside for a few moments to explore it, let it go, and go back to your holiday party.
Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself where do the emotions affect you? Traffic makes your heart race? Uncle Bob makes your skin crawl? Auntie Jane’s comments feels like a punch to the gut? Being able to master your emotions and triggers starts with finding where they are located. Next start asking how did that trigger get into that space? When did it get into that space? Is it a family pattern? Maybe ask your parents or siblings if they have the same triggers in the same places. Once you’ve located it, practice shifting it. Can you move it higher? Lower? To the left? Can you make it a little better? A little worse? If focusing on it starts to get too intense, shift to a body part that feels safe, maybe your favorite body part. Breath and focus on that body part. Then shift your attention to an inanimate object near you and become present in your environment.
Happy December Everybody. I hope you all have a peaceful closing to another year. Dr. Heather Bird
All of the products mentioned can be found on my online store for 10% off.