Permission To Slow Down
Ask Mother Moon
Q: “I know you’re always encouraging me to slow down but my life is really busy and it’s hard for me. What do you do for self-care?”
A: First of all, it’s really important to acknowledge we live in an incredibly fast paced society that values achievement over everything else including health and well-being. It can be really hard to slow down and relax. When you do take the time to rest, that critical little voice in your head can start to tell you that you’re being lazy or non-productive.
Today I want to personally give you permission to slow down. I know that sounds silly but hey, someone needs to do it! Even as an acupuncturist and a person who teaches others how to live a healthier more balanced life, life gets real. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right balance between work and rest. Keep in mind none of us are perfect and acknowledge that your needs will change based on your circumstances. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite ways to slow down and take good care of myself.
One of the most important skills I’ve learned (and am still working on) is the willingness to say “no." I’m a people pleaser by nature, a healer, and a woman, So it’s no surprise I like to make others happy. As women we naturally tend to be caretakers but it has also been drilled into us from a very young age to “be a nice girl.” There’s nothing wrong with making other people happy as long as you aren’t sacrificing your own happiness in the process. If you’re stressed out, overworked or just not in the mood to do something, give yourself permission to say, "no." It feels good. When you’re true to yourself instead of trying to please others, you'll have more to give when it feels right.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 20 years now. In the past I used to think that I really needed to have a daily practice in order to get the full benefits of the practice and I considered restorative classes a waste of time. I tried again and again to meet the goal of having a daily practice but always failed as my cycle started. I used to beat myself up for being lazy or not being able to keep my commitment to a daily practice but over the years I have become much more in-tune with my menstrual cycle and the natural ebbs and flows of my energy levels each month. Now I take a much more relaxed approach to my yoga practice and keep my focus on listening to what my body needs each day rather than setting strict goals for myself.
I currently practice yoga 1-3 times a week depending on what my energy level is and where I am in my cycle. On my high energy days (usually after my period has ended through a few days before my period starts) I choose more intense vinyasa style classes. On low energy days I choose restorative or yin style classes. If I feel really tired or I have my period I allow myself to rest instead of pushing myself to go to class. When my appetite increases around the beginning of my period I eat lots of yummy nourishing foods and never count calories.
Meditation & Breathwork-
I love meditation and breathing techniques because anyone can use these practices, they’re free and you can do them anywhere. If you’re new to meditation and breathwork I recommend starting with a guided practice. A great local resource is Common Ground Meditation Center or a local yoga studio that offers guided meditation and breathwork classes. I’m always amazed at how transforming a few minutes of intentional breathing or meditation can be. This is a practice I will use for the rest of my life.
Let me just say, I take my self-care seriously! Haha! It’s really important to me because it helps me be the best partner, mom, friend and acupuncturist I can be. When I let my self-care slip everyone suffers the consequences! I’m less present in my day, my stress level goes up, my sleep gets out of wack and my mood gets worse. After years of putting others needs before my own I am now a proud self-care junkie and I hold absolutely no guilt about taking good care of myself! Here’s my monthly routine:
I get a monthly Mayan Abdominal Massage, which helps keep my menstrual cycle and digestion healthy. I absolutely love this therapy and highly recommend checking it out. It’s great for menstrual irregularities, fertility, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, digestion and getting in touch with the awesome power of your magical uterus! I go to Sarah Wilkinson at Take Time For Yourself Massage on 48th & Chicago and I love her.
I LOVE this concept! Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Nordic word that means “a feeling of coziness.” The Nordic region experiences the same kind of weather patterns we experience here in MN. Long, cold, dark winters call for warmth, joy and light. Hygge is about laughing and eating with family and friends, connecting with nature year-round, and intentionally enjoying the little pleasures in life. We’ve been intentionally bringing more hygge into our lives and it’s been really uplifting. Here are a few ways to bring more hygge into your life:
I hope these self-care tips inspire you to slow down, listen to the wise voice within, and honor what your body needs each and every day.
Mother Moon is thrilled to welcome Crystal as our new Administrative Assistant. Crystal will be helping our clinic run smoothly by assisting patients with scheduling, processing herb orders and implementing other important behind the scenes work.
Crystal is kind, compassionate and all around wonderful. She's the perfect addition to our team and we're very lucky to have her!
Ask Mother Moon
Q: I’m 35 and I’ve been breaking out every month just before my period. I had amazing skin as a teenager. What's up with that?! I’m also starting to get fine lines and wrinkles. Do you have any advice for healthier skin?
A: There are many things that can contribute to breakouts and premature wrinkles. Diet and lifestyle habits play a huge role in the overall health of your skin. Hormonal imbalance is another major contributing factor, especially in women who are experiencing adult acne.
When it comes to skin health, you obviously want to focus on the surface issues (acne, wrinkles, rosacea, etc.). But we also need to take a deeper look at your overall health to understand why these issues are happening in the first place. The goal is to address the specific concerns with the skin while also healing the body from the inside out.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for healthy glowing skin!
Get Plenty of Rest-
Eat the Right Foods-
Know What to Avoid-
Address the Underlying Issues-
If you’ve got a skin issue that you’d like to improve head to the Contact page to set up your Initial Consultation + Treatment. During your first session we’ll discuss your specific skin concerns and take a detailed health history to determine the root cause of your skin issues.
I love helping your friends and family! If know someone who’s struggling with their skin please share this article with someone who could benefit from this information.
Thank you for reading!
PS. Do you have a question about women’s health? Click here to submit your question and watch to see if it gets answered in my next newsletter.
Matcha Green Tea Latte
Matcha Green Tea Latte-
1 tsp matcha powder
1/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup steamed almond milk
Local raw honey to taste
Benefits of matcha: antioxidant rich, immune boosting, promotes healthy weight loss, enhances concentration, fantastic for skin health, half the caffeine of coffee, calm focused energy
Water Is Life
Art by: VICTORIA VILLASANA
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that we are, without a doubt, undeniably connected to and influenced by the world around us. If our sacred mother is not healthy how can we ever be? It is our duty to stand up and protect what cannot speak.
Trump plans to move forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline
Let's make the fight real and stronger than ever
Donate money to Standing Rock Reservation
Educate yourself, family and friends
Talks By The Fire
One of the greatest gifts of being an acupuncturist is that I have the time to really get to know the women I work with. Taking the time to hear each patient's story and take a detailed health history helps me to understand the whole person. As we talk we begin to understand how emotional experiences contribute to physical experiences.
When we have a traumatic experience the body creates a muscle memory. Trauma can even alter our genetic makeup and be passed down through generations. Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that trauma disrupts the flow of Qi and is a major cause of disease. Acupuncture treatments move the Qi and gives us the ability to process and release those old stuck emotions.
When we take the time to genuinely heal ourselves we are able to look back and realize that the hardest, most heartbreaking times we've been through hold precious gifts within them... When we struggle, we are forced to let go of the things that no longer serve us, we grow stronger, wiser, and kinder in the process. We have earned the ability to heal ourselves and empower others by sharing our stories.
Ask Mother Moon
Image: "The Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine" by Jane Lyttleton
Q: How Does Acupuncture Help to Improve Fertility?
A: This is a great question and one I get often. Chinese medicine acknowledges 4 distinct phases of the menstrual cycle. The duration of each stage can range dramatically from woman to woman depending on the overall health of her cycle. Taking a close look at the menstrual cycle gives us clues as to where there may be an imbalance in the cycle. An unhealthy or imbalanced cycle can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Let’s break each phase down and explore what’s happening in the body during this time and how imbalances in each stage can affect a woman’s ability to conceive.
Phase 1- Starts with the first day of the period (cycle days 1-5 in acupuncture talk ;) and lasts until the bleeding stops. During the period the uterus is shedding it’s lining, getting rid of old tissue and making way for a new fresh lining to develop. Having an “effective” period is extremely important in setting the stage for pregnancy later in the month. If the lining doesn’t fully shed there will be old (stagnant) blood and tissue that can lead to painful or irregular periods and the embryo may have a difficult time finding a suitable place to implant.
~Acupuncture and herbal treatments during phase 1 ‘Regulate the Blood and Qi.’ If the period is to light or starts with spotting we will work to nourish and invigorate the blood. If the period is too heavy or long we will focus on regulating the blood to a more healthy and moderate flow. If there is pain or clotting we will work to smooth the flow of qi and blood to relieve pain. *Remember your period doesn’t need to be painful! Click <here> to read my article about what a healthy period should look and feel like.
Phase 2- This phase starts just after the period ends (cycle days 6-12 in a healthy cycle). During this time the endometrial lining of the uterus is thickening (future home for baby), the dominant follicle is developing in the ovary. Toward the end of phase 2 the cervix begins to produce mucous. An imbalance in this phase can lead to poor quality cervical mucous mid-cycle, delayed ovulation, or even a non-ovulatory cycle.
~Acupuncture and herbal treatments during phase 2 ‘Nourish the Blood and Yin.’ We nourish the blood because it has just been lost through the period and we need strong blood to build a healthy endometrial lining. Yin is a substance that helps the dominant follicle to develop and the cervix to produce good quality fertile mucous (imagine a protective express lane that help the sperm to reach the egg).
Phase 3- Ovulation (cycle days 12-16 in a healthy cycle). The egg matures, is released from the ovary and begins to travel down the fallopian tube. If the sperm reaches the egg and burrows its way in we have fertilization!
~Acupuncture and herbal treatments during phase 3 ‘Regulate the Qi and Blood.’ We want to feel calm during this phase of the cycle. There are tiny muscles in the fallopian tubes; stress can cause those muscles to contract making it difficult for the egg to travel smoothly down the tubes.
Phase 4- This part of the cycle lasts from a few days after ovulation through the start of the period or a positive pregnancy test (cycle days 17-28 in a healthy cycle). If fertilization has occurred and the embryo successfully implants in the endometrial lining a positive pregnancy test is soon to follow. If the yang energy is weak the pregnancy may not continue to develop. Many women who experience multiple miscarriages have weak yang energy.
~Acupuncture and herbal treatments during phase 4 ‘Warm the Uterus and Strengthen the Yang.’ Treatments are focused on warming the uterus, encouraging the lifting and holding energies to secure pregnancy. If the period comes we continue to work toward a healthy and balanced cycle for optimal fertility.
If you’re struggling to conceive or know someone who is, head to the Contact page to set up your Initial Consultation + Treatment or share this article with someone who could benefit from this information. During your first session we’ll go over your fertility and menstrual health history and discuss how we can bring balance to your cycle and optimize fertility with acupuncture treatments, herbal medicine, food therapy and lifestyle adjustments.
Thank you for reading!
PS. Do you have a question up your sleeve? Click here to submit your question and watch to see if it gets answered in my next newsletter.
Live In Harmony With Nature
PHOTO: LEHI THUNDERVOICE EAGLE
Honor the sacred Mother Earth, honor the sacred spirit within. We are now in the very depths of the YIN energy (winter, darkness, female energy). Here are a few ways to live in harmony with the season.
Warm foods + warm beverages
Practice yoga + meditation
Self care~ Acupuncture + Maya Abdominal Massage + Energy Work
All Are Welcome Here
Wise Woman Spiral
We all suffer pain and loss. It is part of our human experience. True healing comes when we are able to lean into the pain, accept what is and greet ourselves with unconditional love and compassion. I share with you the wise words of Susan S. Weed and a beautiful image by artist Mary Herrera. Link to MYSTICMAMMA.COM for more beautiful images and healing words.
PHOTO: MARY HERRERA
“I begin at the center, says the wise woman seer."
“I come from the chaos and the completeness at the center of the spiral.”
“I am vital, moving, growing, unrestricted in resources, as I am born in the Wise Woman tradition.”
“In the natural flow of my expansion and enrichment, I encounter pain; I lose control; I die.”
“In the natural flow of my curiosity and play, I discover joy and wisdom. I am born.”
“Pain is inevitable, suffering optional in the Wise Woman tradition.”
“When I hurt (when my heart hurts, when my head hurts, when my shoulders hurt) I nourish myself: I nourish my heart, my head and my shoulders. I nourish myself and am strengthened, transformed and deepened; my vibrational rate increases.”
“I expand. I open my spiral. I ask myself, ‘How can I make this problem my ally? What is the gift of health / wholeness / holiness here?'”
“I gain energy with each sickness or problem. My range of resonance and my capacity to receive and to share increases every time I encounter pain and loss and make it my ally.”
“I ally myself with all that I resist and thus become whole. I regain my holiness. Every time I nourish myself in my pain, honor my distress, and love my uniqueness, my vibration is vitalized and the spiral gets bigger, and more open, and more forceful.”
~Susan S. Weed from Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)
Meghan E. Berg
Mother Moon Acupuncture
4059 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407