If you watch too many ads on TV, you might believe that the Holiday celebrations bring whole happy families together, playing board games and wearing matching Santa sweaters, laughing and spreading infectious joy while tucking into Christmas turkey and sipping mulled wine.
We all know that this might be true some of the time but behind this facade there's a whole lot of cooking, planning, arguments, sadness, exhaustion, loneliness, sibling rivalry, bloating, cleaning-up, and a generalized extra headache-inducing stress.
When it all gets too much and you need to escape to the toilet just to get some peace and quiet, this is what you do.
1 Chinese soup spoon
1 Quiet place
1. TREAT SHENMEN
First things first - time to calm down and for this we need to put some pressure on your ear. Look in the mirror, find the area in this illustration. This is an area known as Shenmen and is used to relax a tense body. You can use your fingernail to maintain light pressure on that area and then massage with your thumb in a circular motion. Breathe in slowly. Hold it. And breathe out. You can do this. You can make it through the day.
2. RELAX YOUR SHOULDERS
Next get that tension out of your shoulders. What? Your shoulders are fine? Poke your finger in them and see. That dull ache in the muscle that stays on after you move your finger away says they're not. So this is what you do.
If you're wearing a thick sweater, take it off. Grab the spoon and over the top of one thin layer of clothes, scrape across your shoulder muscles from your neck to the top of your arms. Repeat and put pressure on the spoon as you scrape. If you scrape directly on the skin, put some oil as lubrication and watch out, there might be some temporary marks left on your skin afterwards so only do it in places you can hide with your clothes (unless like me, you don't mind).
3. RELAX YOUR HEAD
Now take care of your head. Use the spoon again and scrape back from the hairline of the forehead as if you were combing your hair backwards. Cover your whole head and push slightly as you scrape.
4. RELAX YOUR HANDS
Let's now treat your hands. This will really help you to relax and get the blood moving around your body. It's really easy to do but you just need to do it thoroughly. Look at the illustrations for the hand. You start by pressing the wrist area and use your thumb to press and move up your hand. At your fingers, use your thumb to circle up to the tips. Do this on both sides of your hand and press firmly (Click on the slider below to see more photos).
5. TREAT HEGU
There's one area on your hand that, just like you, probably needs a little extra care and attention about now. It is known as Hegu or Large intestine 4 (LI-4) and is easy to find in the web between your index finger and thumb. Use either your thumb or the spoon to press this area, hold the pressure for a few seconds and then rub and circle the area with your thumb. Repeat a few times.
6. RELAX YOUR EARS
We started with the ear so let's continue by getting all the tension out. You can follow with the illustrations. (Click on the slider below to see them).
Gently rub your ear lobe between your thumb and index finger for about ten seconds, the index finger at the front of the ear and the thumb at the back.
Rub upwards along the outside of the ear to the top, then follow the bend round to where the ear meets the head. While massaging, gently pull the ear outwards and upwards.
Move slightly inwards towards the centre of the ear, and massage downwards following the contour of the ear.
At the bottom of the ear, again move inwards slightly and massage upwards along the ridge. Follow the contour of the ear and drop into the dip at the end.
Circle massage this dip.
Drop down into the central cavity and again circle massage.
7. RELAX YOUR EYES
As you can see from the illustration, there are a lot of points around your eyes. Trust me, you need to treat these. Your eyes will love you. So how do you do it? You basically use your thumb and press on these areas. Go from one to the other and press and then circle with your thumb to relax. Keep going around several times.
8. RELAX YOUR FEET
Now, get those shoe s and socks off and let's get your feet in on the act. This is very similar to what you did on your hands. You start at the ankle and press with your thumb while moving along towards your toes. At your toes circle with your thumb until the tips. Do it on both the bottom and top of your foot (Click on the slider below to see more photos).
9. TREAT TAI CHONG
There's an area on your feet which needs some special attention too. It's called Tai chong or Liver 3 (Liv.3). You'll find it in the gap between the metatarsal bones that lead to the big and second toes. When you press between the bones, it usually feels sore. Feel up to where the two bones meet and the area is below this.
10. RELAX THE WHOLE BODY
Stand with your feet close together and your arms hanging down in front of your body, with the fingers of both hands interlocked. Then lift your heels, raise your arms upward, and contract the muscles all over the body, breathing in at the same time. Then lower your arms, move your hands apart, squat down, and bend your head forward naturally to make the muscles all over the body fully relaxed, while breathing out. Repeat several times (Click on the slider below to see more photos).
Okay now you've done all that, you're ready to return to Christmas chaos. Put your party hat on, big smile and try to survive the rest of the day.
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