I was talking to a friend yesterday about how cataclysmic our world is right now.
The loss, the wars, the languishing as a result of the pandemic, cascading climate disasters – all of it seems to be happening at once and it’s heavy.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned growing up in the close quarters of New York City, is that we need to be good to each other, especially in the face of stress and hardship.
But we’re no good to each other if we’re exhausted, depleted, living on junk food, or if our nervous systems are too jacked to keep ourselves going.
This is why we need to be brainstorming how we can take better care of ourselves right now.
I’ve put together a list of ideas that might help – they are things I myself need to do more of to keep my chin up in all of the madness:
Give yourself a “Power Up” session first thing in the morning
If you’re fortunate enough to have a daily schedule, your consistent regimen will support you in warding off the snowballing fatigue and weariness we’re all experiencing.
I love a good morning routine that sets a positive tone for the day.
Set aside at least 30-90 minutes first thing in the morning to devote to your own body, mind, and spirit.
Examples of things you could add to your morning regimen:
- Oral and skin care (Tongue scraping, salt water rinse, coconut oil pulling)
- Hydrating and taking supplements (Fill up water bottles for the day and fill up a weekly supplement organizer in advance)
- Do a seated practice of meditation, pranayama, gratitude and/or visualizing the kind of day you wish for
- Move your body (get your cardio and strength training on, preferably with some outside time if possible)
Get outside and breathe some fresh air
Even if it’s just a brief walk around your neighborhood, a stroll along a public hiking path, or a moment outside in your garden to see what’s happening in the nature closest to you, get outside. And not just during the day. Step outside to look at the stars if you can find a bit of sky without light pollution.
Get ready for spring
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is just a few days away.
- Now is the time to buy or trade seeds, broadcast spring cover crops and grasses for bare areas on your property, plant seedlings and create sweet potato slips for your garden. Now is the time to plan how you will tend to Mother Nature closest to you.
- If you can, join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) now before shares get filled up so you’re sure to be supporting your local organic farms and have a season or two of access to highly nutritious, healthy food.
- It’s also a time for spring cleaning, so purge your closets, drawers, garage, office, and line up some boxes to donate using Freecycle or drop off at your local Salvation Army.
Combine household chores with things you enjoy
Last month I was finding myself resentful of the time it took to tidy and clean the house because it was taking away from my own self care…until it occurred to me that I could multitask! To do this, I put on a face mask while I was cleaning the kitchen and kept a mist nearby to keep the mask moist while I worked. Instead of wasting water doing the mask in the shower, my need for skin care was met, as well as my need for a tidy house!
You could also put on headphones and rock out to your favorite playlist, audiobook, or podcast while tidying up or making the bed. Better yet, talk to a family member or bestie on the phone for a catch-up.
Groom your pet (preferably outside in the sunshine)
If your pet enjoys being groomed, it is so relaxing and satisfying to brush and comb an animal.
I keep a little kit with our dog’s grooming tools nearby at all times so it’s sure to be a daily activity. Our dog Mocha loves it, and I get a ton of satisfaction from looking at his fluffy self, during and afterwards!
Push yourself to be social (safely)
One of the features of the pandemic is the normalization of being anti-social and a homebody. But human beings are social creatures and our brains function better when we interact in person.
Presuming you’ve taken precautions that will help prevent the immunocompromised folks in your sphere from being in danger – get yourself around other people!
I’ve been making a point to have friends over for dinner, to schedule hikes, afternoon tea at nearby friend’s homes, and of course, daily visits to the small dog meet up where I can converse with human dog parents in the open air.
Pushing yourself to be social might involve taking in-person yoga classes again, going back to the gym, taking a trip, or visiting with loved ones you haven’t seen in two years.
Eat more vegetables
Who doesn’t need to eat more veggies?
Consuming more vegetable fiber leads to better digestion, a healthier gut, and less inflammation.
One way to get more vegetables into your system is to have a yummy sauce or dressing on hand to make eating them more delicious.
You can either make a sauce in advance from scratch or buy a few jars pre-made. Having some cans of coconut milk and curry pastes on hand is great for vegetable curries too.
I adore Elena Brower’s 3-ingredient lemon miso dressing. She has served me up countless nourishing buddha bowls when I’ve come to visit, drizzled with plenty of this dressing.
It’s so easy to make it’s ridiculous:
- Equal parts lemon juice and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) – roughly 5 oz each
- 3-5 Heaping tablespoons mellow miso such as chickpea miso
- Mix with your hand blender until smooth, or put all the ingredients in a bottle and shake vigorously
- Serve on top of a variety of optional ingredients such as roasted sweet potato, millet, finely chopped steamed kale, broccoli, roasted asparagus, olives, avocado slices or cubes, grilled tempeh, sliced Sicilian olives, pine nuts, pistachios, Eden Shake (black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, dulse flakes)
- Finish with a healthy splash of high-quality dipping olive oil and Himalayan Pink Flake Salt
This goes for salads too – make your dressings in advance or have a few store-bought jars on hand. (Elena’s recipe works for salads too.)
Lately, this has been my go-to salad dressing:
Equal parts olive oil and white organic balsamic vinegar
A dollop of light dijon mustard
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Shake vigorously in a glass jar
My salads consist of plenty of red leaf lettuce along with radicchio and endive (a great source of prebiotic), shaved carrots, jicama, kraut, and pistachios or pine nuts.
I hope this list of ideas is of service to you as we continue to navigate the waters of change and struggle. Join us on Instagram to share how you take good care of you!