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    So please to have our 1st guest blog from a local therapist to the retreat




    Supporting Teenagers

    From a Chinese Medicine Perspective


    Raising teenagers can be challenging at the best of times, lockdown I imagine has brought a whole new set of challenges for them and for you as a parent/carer.

    This blog is aimed at children coming towards the end of their second Jing cycle of life; 14 years old for a girl and 15 years for a boyHowever, you may still find this of use and relatable living with a child/adolescent of any age.


    At this stage of life teenagers have a surge of Yang energyYang in Chinese Medicine (CM) is the hot, restless, transformation, active, external side of the Taiji symbol.









    For a teen this surge of Yang energy may appear as; moving away from the family, having an outward focus, fuels sensitivity and gives them the drive and ability to separate. Everything becomes magnified: feelings, responses, and emotional reactions.

    Whereas a rise in Yin energy we would expect to see more; hiding away, more sleep and time spent alone in their room.

    To support these Yin-Yang energies outside of the treatment room they need to be able to; express their feelings, have space, time, opportunity to retreat and protection whilst going through this developmental change.






    Lockdown is a good time for teenagers to catch up on much needed sleep that the school routine deprives them of.

    Melatonin is the hormone that encourages our sleep cycle to beginIn teenager’s melatonin is released approx. 2 hours later than it is for children and adults approx. 11pm onwards which is why your teen may struggle to fall asleep before this timeIn young children it is released at approx. 6pm and between 9-11pm for adults.

    Cortisol is responsible for waking us up, it is not activated in teenagers until about 9am which on a typical school day sees them up, dressed and in school ready to learn when they should in fact be just waking upEach day these young people are losing essential sleep and ability to build Yin energy (to further support their emotions).

    To support their sleep outside of the treatment roomlet them sleep during lockdown and catch up on building up their YinEncourage as difficult as it can be healthy sleep hygiene; do not study late into the night, have time off social media/computer games before trying to sleep, time away from a screen particularly a tablet that emits blue LED light, energy/high sugar drinks should be avoided at the best of times but especially late into the night.


    The Five Elements in Teenagers

    One of our tools of diagnosis in CM is the Wu Xing theory also known as the Five elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood.


    The wood element in our teens brings them vision and the need to break away from family and the desire to follow their own pathThe wood energy needs to be expressed, if not they will feel every constraint in their livesYour teen may be finding that they cannot express themselves as they normally would during this period of lockdown, and they may be feeling very frustrated by this.

    How to support the Wood element outside of the treatment room; let them vent, anger is not a taboo emotionEncourage exercise to keep their liver qi moving, allow independence, watch their diet especially cravings their having and caffeineEnsure your teenage girl is eating a blood nourishing diet (ask me for a copy) to support their periods.


    The fire element in teenagers is all about their self-expressionto test out identities of who they want to be in the future, passion, relationships, and friendshipsBelieve it or not our Fire element needs stillness and not melodramasFire also needs laughter as the emotion associated with it is Joy.

    How to support the Fire element outside of the treatment room; pick your battles – is your argument worth it or is it too damaging? Take time for intimacy with your teen – stop and be present with themEncourage where possible your home to be as peaceful as possible to protect your teenStop and have fun, laugh with your teen. Encourage social connections with friends whilst they cannot socialise physically.


    The earth element provides grounding, stabilityconcentration, and nourishment and is especially importantrole for the teenager, they are having strong feelings to find their tribes outside of the family home.

    To support their earth element outside of the treatment room; encourage them to take on more self-care, encourage them to find mothering/nurturing roles such as cooking, gardening, life skills etc. As the earth element is associated with digestion try where possible to support a healthy diet.


    The metal element is all about our feelings and attachments to the physical world around us, finding meaning, value, inspiration, and purpose.

    To support their metal element outside of the treatment room; model that it is ok to feel sad about this lockdown situation, to cry if needs be and grieve to help you move forward and through such intense feelingsAllow them to express themselves, give them space and let them retreatEncourage breathwork either through exercise such as yoga, Pilates, qi gong or simple breathing exercises (ask me for suggestions).


    This element is a particularly important to support a teenager’s hormonal and developmental changesThe water element is a time of introspection and slowing down.  It is associated with wisdom, stamina, and endurance.  When our water is out of balance you may see higher levels of fear and anxieties especially if your teen normally lives a fast-paced life.

    To support their water element outside of the treatment room;encourage them to find out what their downtime is (that is NOT adrenalin fueled), encourage grounding activities such as walks outside and ways of how they can learn to calm themselves down.


    Remember that although we cannot always see it, there is a lot going on under the surface.  Your teenager is probably going to feel more constrained by current circumstances than any other age group as it is hindering their natural developmental processRemember that maintaining their friendships is a necessity for them-not a luxuryGive them space to both retreat and expand (yin and yang)Finally, your rapport and connection are more important than anything else.

    Contact Kristina Parker@ Harwood Wellbeing

    [email protected]

    T. 07891524940


  2. 10 tips for keeping on top of your emotional health and well-being whilst coping with infertility.



    As someone who went through 6 cycles of IVF and years of investigation I know 1st hand how much of an impact infertility can have on our emotional health. 


    Coping with infertility can be a stressful and confusing time. The thing you have always taken for granted you would one day have – a family – when it doesn’t go to plan can cause all sorts of emotions and feelings of grief and loss. You may feel preoccupied, constantly worrying, waiting, watching for any sign of hope.  You might feel you have somehow failed, that you’ve lost your identity, and your self-esteem can take a nose-dive. You can also feel angry and isolated, and like you have nowhere to turn. As each month goes by the downward cycle of despair continues. 

     fertility cycle


     Keeping on top of your emotional well-being when going through the various stages of infertility and treatment is so important, and in today’s blog we are going to cover 10 ways you can try and combat these sometimes overwhelming emotions.



    1. Be your own best friend. Show yourself self-love regularly and don’t punish yourself by stopping doing all the things you enjoy. Keeping your hobbies and enjoyable moments will keep your mind focussed on more positive things, and in turn will help your mood. Living your life whilst keeping a place for your baby, but not putting everything on hold. 


    2. Get fresh air and/or regular exercise. Getting outside and enjoying nature and the outside world can really help get you out of your own head. If you find yourself cutting yourself off from everyone and everything because you feel you can’t cope, in the long term you will only feel worse. Getting out and doing some exercise – whether it be walking, running, cycling, swimming or a sport you enjoy – whatever you can manage – it releases chemicals that in turn will affect your brain in a positive way. Even just putting on some music and letting yourself go for 5 minutes can change your whole mood. 


    3. Keep connected to your friends and family. It may feel tempting to cut yourself off from everyone because everything feels too hard, especially if they have babies and children, but don’t isolate yourself. Sometimes when you focus on what’s going on in their lives not just yours, it gives you something else to think about and the things that seem so huge in your world are brought back into line.


    4. Keep talking. Don’t bottle it up. Talk about it with a loved one, partner, GP or health professional. Or if you’re worried you’re just going over the same ground and your friends and family are losing interest, or they don’t understand, then there are so many support groups out there. Find a group with people who are going through what you are and who can really relate.


    5. If you find talking about it too hard, write everything down. Just to get it out of your head. It helps to process your thoughts, and makes room for other thoughts. It doesn’t have to be an articulate piece of writing. Even just a list or bullet points can help.


    6. Practice positive self-talk and mindfulness. Try and be in the present, focussing on the now – not what’s happened before or what might happen in the future. Enjoy the moment you’re in. This might mean changing the way you think. Using yoga, meditation and other mindfulness practices are a good tool to help with this. Join a class, or access them online. There are loads out there.


    7. Stay busy and active, and don’t put your whole life on hold. Keep doing the things you love. If you love your work, focus on that. If you have some hobbies you love, focus on them. At the same time don’t try and take on too much. Control the things you can control. It could just be you clean out a cupboard you’ve been meaning to for a while. The sense of achievement will really make a difference to how you feel. You’ve taken control of that one thing. Make sure you have something to look forward to as well, like going on holiday or an upcoming event.


    8. Accept it won’t be easy and have strategies in place to help you cope. Don’t put yourself in situations you know you won’t cope with. i.e. a friend’s baby shower or christening. If it is a situation you can’t get out of then decide beforehand how you will cope if things get too much. Maybe you can speak to the friends and family involved and let them know where you’re at so they will understand if you have to leave suddenly or take some time out. Remember you don’t have to say yes to everything. Think about how it will affect you and make a decision that is best for you at that time.


    9. Create a list of coping strategies. It could be that you’ve tried exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing etc. Some of those methods might work for you and some may not. Keep a note of what works and what doesn’t so you know what to do next time you get into a situation where things feel too much to handle.


    10. Pause for a total of 20 minutes a day. It might not be all in one go. You could spread it across the day. Stop what you are doing. Put down your phone. Turn off the TV. Go somewhere quiet and just be. Reset your mind.



    Not all of these tips may work for you, but think about how you’ve been feeling. Assess where your emotional health is at on a regular basis. Some questions to ask yourself are…



    • Are you struggling with things you usually find easy? It could be the smallest thing, you put something down and you can’t find it anywhere but when you do it was right in front of you all along. 


    • Are you struggling to make decisions? Not the big decisions that are always taxing but even just what to have for lunch seems like a huge deal. 


    • Are you feeling less independent and more like you need others to take care of the things in your daily life that you used to enjoy? The things that you used to love and do without thinking, now feel like a huge drag? 


    If you answered yes to any of those, then they are signs of psychological overload. If you try the above tips and you’re still feeling anxious, depressed or stressed constantly then it’s important to seek help and support.


    Make your emotional health a priority.


    This is the type of support I offer now as a freedom fertility specialist and myself and my other colleagues have had great success using the mind body approach enabling people to live fuller and happier lives and in lots of cases realising their dream of becoming parents. 


    If you would like support or more information on the freedom fertility formula please get in touch.




    Mandy xx