What your Liver has to do with Self Care
“Self care” has been one of those trendy health terms thrown around more and more frequently. But from what I’ve witnessed, it is being seen more as a superficial excuse or justification, rather than a deep, meaningful, and restorative connection to the mind and body.
Why do we need self care?
In today’s overly depleting world, it’s easy to think exhaustion and perpetual emotional unease are the norm, that struggling with a physical or emotional ailment is an accustomed to standard of living. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sometimes all it takes is a small dedication of time and resources to gain an abundance of good health in return.
Self care from the TCM perspective:
In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the conservation and storage of blood. It is also responsible for allowing the qi, energy, and emotions to circulate freely throughout the body. With high stress jobs, overactive lifestyles, too much high intensity workouts, lack of rest, and even lengthy and intense study sessions, the blood becomes either depleted or stagnated. With this depletion of stagnation of blood in the liver, it loses its ability to maintain harmonious free flow of qi and subsequently emotional energy. Stagnated and pent up emotional energy can manifest as sighing heavily, feeling overly frustrated, and easily angry. Small annoyances suddenly become huge triggers; it becomes way too easy to feel stuck in negative emotions and perpetually stressed out.
How does this impact fertility?
The emotional blockages created by lack of self care can wreak havoc on the menstrual cycle. If the liver qi and blood isn’t flowing smoothly, its delegated tasks such as ovulation and menstruation can be mistimed or entirely impeded. In essence, emotional stress affects the body’s ability to reproduce.
What does self care include?
Self care is more than a once a week face mask or spending the entire afternoon binge watching Netflix, although Instagram may care to disagree. It’s about truly listening to your body’s needs and working out a way to consistently add those needs into your life. Perhaps it’s picking up an old hobby you’ve deemed yourself too busy to continue, or finally committing to an exercise or healthy eating regime, or even getting that low back pain or digestive issue finally checked out by a healthcare professional. Your body is constantly giving you signs on what you need more or less of. Tending to your physical and emotional self requires regular effort, and the amount of time it takes will vary depending on life circumstances, the weather, the season, who you’re around, how well you’ve been eating, how much sleep you were able to get that given week. Allow yourself a check in once or twice a day to gauge how you feel. Are you able to complete all you want or need to get done during the day? Is there something you need to say no to? What would make your day easier to get through? Which area in your life requires an investment of energy? Your job, health, relationships, sleep, diet?
Don’t know where to start?
One of the strengths of traditional Chinese medicine is that it can find the subtle imbalances of the body. It takes into account every sign and symptom displayed to weave together an intricate and highly personal pattern of disharmony, which practitioners and acupuncturists are highly trained in treating and offering corresponding dietary and lifestyle advice.
Remember, self care is an investment. Your body will thank you.
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