I have been thinking about you and what I can offer you for now and the coming months. As we start the new year, I thought it might be helpful to share some things I do to keep myself centered, at home in my heart, at peace, at rest, steady. I don’t want to prescribe anything to you so I will just let you know what I do. You can take what is useful to you and leave the rest.
Just to let you know ahead of time, I get nothing from the products and practices I suggest. For all I know these people have no idea I even use their stuff.
The body likes simple (well all except the tongue maybe 🤔 ). We use a lot of energy digesting food. Keeping it simple allows us to save that energy for other things. I ate out of my garden all summer, and well into the fall. I have access to good quality beef. I don’t do sugar, dairy, alcohol, or processed foods much at all. This simple diet keeps my body happy so it isn’t also fighting me along with the rest of the world.
- This may be the single best panacea of all, especially if you can do it outside. I walk between 2 and 5 miles a day, depending on the weather and work schedule. The change of air and scenery helps me see a bigger picture.
- If I don’t have time to walk much, I will do an exercise program from YouTube. These are the ones I like. Quick. Effective. The leaders don’t make you feel stupid or out of shape. They don’t require a lot of equipment, and they can easily be modified to be harder, or easier.
- And if you’re just starting out or that sounds daunting. Here’s a yoga practice I like a lot. I started yoga years ago when I was too injured to do anything else and found out I liked it.
I use my walking time to connect with other humans. When we can’t have our usual quantity of friends, quality friendships are important. Not long ago I took one of my 5 mile walks and talked to an old high school friend. She was in Arizona, me in Colorado, yet it was like taking a walk together. Somehow the world felt a little warmer. We need connection. It’s the fuel for life.
A Cold Shower
When my naturopath first suggested this I thought he was crazy. “Start with just 10 seconds.” Because he has been my only doctor for 35 years, we know each other well. If he suggested it, I would try it. His practice is to wait for the ice to run out of his garden hose.
Me? I take a really hot shower and blast myself at the end with icy water. I yelp and hoot, and the more I do it the easier it is, and the more I like it. I definitely notice a difference in my state of mind on days I take a cold shower and the days I don’t. Here’s an article with more info.
Limit Bad News
I care deeply about others, about our nation, about our health and our future. I can get caught up in every little nuance, as if I can hold things together by my guts. I always know when it’s too much when I can’t quit thinking about it. That’s when I turn it off. Instead I focus on connecting with real humans (not Facebook humans) and with my God by making more time for prayer and meditation. I can’t fix any of it, but I can connect with The One who can. I can calm my nervous system through meditation. Here’s a research based article on meditation. It includes tips.
I put sleep last on this list because it’s so important yet sometimes hard to come by. I have a many-faceted nightly ritual that starts about 30-minutes before I want to bed down. It starts with Sleepy Time Tea steeped in warm hemp or coconut milk with an added mL of melatonin. I like this one. Then I will watch something funny or inspiring or possibly read something that won’t get me thinking. If it’s cold out I will take a hot bath. If I wake up in the night and know I won’t be going back to sleep I just get up knowing I will sleep better the next night.
Practice Radical Self-Care
Not just self-care, that is important always, but times like these require radical self-care. Over the top caring and health practices that at other times might seem extreme. Maybe they would be at other times, but they aren’t right now. Right now, allowing yourself any good thing is good and right and necessary.
Next time I will share my favorite practice for bringing my heart home.