Shelter at Home, Tip for Sanity: Nourish Yourself

I’m going to tackle a very unpopular topic today.

Choosing foods to nourish oneself as an act of self-kindness.

Facebook is crawling with memes about binging on junk food as a coping mechanism for the stress of uncertainty and the discomfort of being stuck in the house. There are also self-fat-shaming memes about the results of this behavior and pledges to count carbs and fat grams and workout harder.

I’m here to propose another way.

What if we chose our food based on the nourishment it will provide? Not the 10 minutes of comfort we feel while eating it, but the long-term results of providing our bodies with the necessary building blocks for healthy brain chemistry. What if we shopped like wise adults seeking to support our mental, emotional, and physical health rather than like teenagers who found a $50 bill on the sidewalk?

I know for an absolute fact that there is no dessert that will make forget my misery for more than a few minutes (trust me, I’ve done extensive research for decades!) and that junk food leaves me feeling crabby, bloated, jittery and achy. I’ve come to the conclusion that the rewards of brief oblivion are not worth the persistent consequences of inflammation, irritability and a weakened immune system.

I’m not talking about deprivation, martyrdom or denial. I certainly am not trying to take your sweets or snacks away! I’m merely suggesting that you take a step back and question how you’ll feel after eating that doughnut or brownie or family sized bag of chips. Can you find another, less destructive, way of soothing your frazzled nerves? Can you find a creative way to satisfy your taste buds and not overload your body’s detoxification system? Can indulgence be the exception rather than the rule?

I’m working on how to support my unique nutritional needs with the staples in my pantry and the fresh foods available locally. Nobody enjoys pretzels or ice cream more than I do, but given that I could literally die by popping into the convenience store for some, is it worth the risk? Can I find a way to satisfy myself with the dried figs in the back of the cupboard or the pumpkin butter from the farmers market? As it turns out, yes, I can!

This situation is challenging enough without having to deal with unbalanced hormones, stiff joints, and sugar crashes. Don’t think for one second that I wouldn’t rather be eating a pizza followed by freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. But I will feel much more nourished and steady after the Buddha bowl I made with oats, sliced radish, homemade arugula pesto, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Sure, you won’t be finding that on any restaurant’s menu anytime soon, but it was tasty and satisfying and comforted me on a deeper level than briefly pleasing my taste buds.

I’m not here to judge anyone. We’re all doing the best we can with this messed up situation. Rather I’m here to promote self-kindness and to encourage everyone to think about the choices they make and the long-term effects they have. Nourishing myself wisely is one of the kindest things I can do for my well-being. In this climate of uncertainty, it one of the few things I have a fair amount of control over.

And that’s why I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this cup of tea and a spoonful of pumpkin butter. And then I’m going to roast some vegetables for dinner.

Shelter at Home, Tip for Sanity: Unplug Occasionally!

It’s been a busy week of connecting and participating in community via the web. I’ve enjoyed a Reiki circle, a yogini prayer ritual, a dance party, an energetic healing ritual, meditations galore, amazing Kundalini yoga classes, an active imagination journey, monthly astrological and energetic updates for April, a play date with my favorite kiddos, a chat with a friend on another continent, a chat with a friend and neighbor who might as well be on another continent, more chats with friends and family, and surely I’m forgetting several other events.

It’s amaaaazing how interconnected we can be these days. I’m so appreciative for all the quality content available from all over the world and the access I have to spiritual and sisterhood communities regardless of my inability to leave the house.

It’s also overwhelming. My nervous system just can’t handle all this connectivity all the time!

Today, I’m taking a break and unplugging. Allowing time to turn inward and acknowledge the array of emotions and spectrum of energy within me that needs to be sorted, processed, some of it released, some of it integrated, much of it welcomed and tended to with kindness.

You might not be able to step away from your electronics for an entire day. I get that. Yet there’s likely something you can dial down, some information you can let lie, a website or two that could be safely ignored, or a brief time out from constant social media connection that would benefit your mental and emotional health.

I’d love to read about how you’re managing this constant barrage of engagement. Just not today.

Shelter at Home, Tip for Sanity: Acknowledge ALL Your Feelings

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster the past two weeks. Much of the time I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the tools and skills that help me navigate the intensity of this global crisis. Frequently I am overwhelmed by grief for the suffering that so many people are enduring. And in between there’s an entire of array of confusing, yet equally potent, feelings.

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I experience a lot of joy due to the freedom of a blank schedule. I feel frustration sometimes at being stuck in the house or not having access to the places I want to go. I feel anger when another effing jogger sneaks up from behind me and violates my personal 6′ radius. (Seriously joggers, you are not moving fast enough to escape rival contamination!) I can easily sink into a pit of despair thinking of the debt I will incur if I’m unable to work for months.

This second tier of emotions is easy to explain away by comparing my situation to others. My relentless inner critic wonders how I can be happy, sometimes even thriving, at a time when so many are sick and dying? How can I be so insensitive when others don’t have a house to be stuck in or a credit card with which to buy the food necessary to fill their bellies? What of the hospital employees who willing go to work, the epicenter of contamination without proper protection?

I’ve come to realize that yes, it is absolutely true that millions of others are suffering much, much more than I am. Yet this does not invalidate my emotional response to a very difficult situation. By denying or suppressing my own feelings, I block the flow of life-force energy in my body, putting myself at greater risk for illness and most definitely inhibiting my ability to help those in my community whom I am able to help.

So I’m allowing the full range of emotional expression to work its way through my system. Pretending not to be joyous when I am joyous doesn’t help anyone who is sick and prevents me from receiving the heart healthy rewards of exuding joy. Pretending not to be worried about my bills wreaks havoc in my digestive system when simply acknowledging that I’m worried and that I’ve already done everything in my power supports greater assimilation of nutrients and elimination of waste.

Somewhere there is a balance of accepting and experiencing my emotions and allowing them to move through me without distracting, numbing, avoiding or wallowing. I aim for that balance. Even if I never master this art, every step in the right direction is beneficial to my health and well-being. And that’s good enough for me to continue my efforts.