The run-up to Christmas can be stressful enough but when we are also put in a second lockdown and things seem full of uncertainty it can play havoc with our mental health. Maybe you have had enough of it all? Just feeling sick and tired of the situation slipping into melancholy and depression? Chinese Medicine with its powerful acupressure points that use food-medicine for the body and soul has some simple, easy tips to take care of yourself and raise your mood.

Firstly find Heart Protector 8 by clenching your fist and where the tip of the middle finger falls, give pressure and massage for up to 2 minutes on each hand. This acupoint is called the Palace of Weariness. If you have become tired of lockdowns, the bad news, or exhausted from illness, difficult relationships, overwork, or stress you may find yourself losing heart press gently into this point for 30 seconds with gentle tenderness.

It’s easy to feel powerless in a situation, like a lockdown, where you feel you have no control, but you do have power over how you feel. External situations cannot bring lasting happiness. Playing sport, visiting friends, eating a good meal brings us immense pleasure at the time but what happens when the match is over, dinner is finished and the guests have left, do we cease to feel joy? Our joy is an inside job and we can have control over how we feel.

Use this point to re-ignite your spirit and don’t lose heart. Relax, press and if you like, let memories of past happier times wash over you with the certainty that there will be more to come. As you press into both hands alternately. Feel the point connect with your physical and emotional heart. Take a breath, breathe as deep as you want to feel well, and press into this point. Find your inner palace and take a rest. The Heart is the emperor of the body, when you are feeling restored to a sense of equanimity all the other organs will follow his lead until the whole body feels balanced and well.

The heart in Chinese Medicine is responsible for good circulation of blood around the body, especially to the extremities. Are your feet cold – do your fingers turn white? This is another symptom of low heart energy. A great ingredient that nourishes the Heart is Rosemary. Like most herbs, it is considered bitter in flavour so benefits the heart. For chilblains, Raynaud’s, or cold feet, pop 10 drops of rosemary essential oil into 50ml of sweet almond oil and rub it into the fingers and toes. Rosemary also disperses cold and phlegm so why not make your own steam bath. Fill a bowl with boiling water, add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, rubbing them between your hands to release the natural oils. Then drape a towel over your head, close your eyes and position your face over the bowl. Inhale deeply a few times, take a break for a few moments if needed, then repeat. Feel your lungs expanding and your heart relaxing.

For more information on The Heart in Chinese Medicine buy Joanne’s books full of healthy recipes, acupressure, and advice for a healthy body and mind.

Or stay connected by practicing acupressure and Chi Gong with me live every weekday morning for only €20 per month.  Membership includes 5 classes per week plus monthly health talk and guided loving-kindness meditation evening.

December focuses on reducing stress, regeneration of the body, and repair of the bones.  Join now and practice until Christmas for only €20