LocalHarvest Newsletter, February 24, 2018|
The Different Paths to Health
Welcome back to the LocalHarvest Newsletter.
A Tibetan proverb tells the secret to a long life is:
This has been my mantra the last few months as I embark on a new chapter in my life, focusing on cultivating more self-love and personal health. I think a lot of us here in the Local Harvest community are interested in health, both on a personal level, a community level, and a planetary level. But you always must start from within. You can't save the world while you are crumbling inside. You can't show love to others while you secretly loathe yourself. It may appear selfish to work on yourself, but indeed is it the most generous thing you can do. We want you around for the long haul. You are the agent of change that is most important.
Everybody's journey to self-care and mental health is different and as diverse as there are shades of skin. These are the practices that are working for me right now and perhaps could benefit you as well.
1) Take time to pause and tune out the monkey-mind. For me it is meditating when I wake up and right before I go to bed for about 10 minutes each sitting. I used to think there was no way I could meditate because my thought process is incessant. It turns out I was wrong and now thoughts come and go like waves on the shore. I focus on my breath and the open space of the mind.
2) Spend time outdoors everyday, rain, snow or shine. Everyday I try to go for a walk, run, or hike for 30-60 minutes, but sometimes it is just sitting on my backporch for 10 minutes with a warm mug of tea in my hand. I also try to watch the sunrise and sunset more deliberately and just sit by a window while I am reading.
3) Set limits on your screen time and stick to it. My new rules are no screen time after 8pm and don't read emails or social media right when I wake up. You don't want to start the day with anxiety nor end the day with it. Give yourself a break from the incessant noise.
4) Eat a healthy breakfast everyday, no matter how busy you may think you are. My usual is two eggs scrambled with leafy greens (spinach or arugula are my go-tos), along with some homemade salsa on a warmed corn tortilla, plus two cups of coffee with cream and a touch of maple syrup. Try more protein and less carbohydrates for breakfast, which will provide longer-lasting energy until lunchtime and not spike your blood sugar.
5) Embrace idle time, even schedule it if you need to. I try to leave my weekends pretty open and limit the amount of commitments that I make. Usually once a weekend, I go on a walk with my toddler and let him lead the way. Sometimes we go out for 30 minutes, sometimes two hours. Sometimes we sit by the river and throw rocks for a long time. Other times we hunt for interesting leaves. I let him lead and I don't pull out my phone because I am bored. I try to stay present with his curiosity and joy. I used to think everytime I was eating or sitting still, I had to have my phone in front of me to occupy the time and make sure I was reading something. Now I pull out a book, a magazine, or just look at my food and enjoy each morsel.
6) Give gratitude daily for something, no matter how small it may seem. After I meditate and then do a short round of yoga in the morning, I sit with my coffee near the living room window and think of something I am grateful for. I either say it out loud or write it down. Somedays it is as simple as being thankful for the coffee and the food I will have for breakfast. Other days it is because of a great conversation I had with my mom or spending time with friends. Other days it is the nourishing rain falling from the sky or the eagles making a nest in my backyard. Giving thanks regularly will increase your positivity and help you better cope with the things that may be less positive in your life. They help you see a glass half full rather than half empty.
7) No matter how frazzled, upset, or sad you may be, there is always good food to lift the spirits. For the longest time, I used to think of cooking as a chore. If I was too busy, or depressed, or anxiety-ridden, I would barely cook at all. Boxes of macaroni & cheese with some frozen peas thrown in was starting to dominate my 'cooking'. It took a yelling episode from my tween daughter to awaken me to the fact that my attitude towards cooking was bringing everyone else down. In short, my cooking 'sucked'. I resolved right then and there to shop for more fresh produce, purchase more frozen meats from our winter farmers market, and more frequently look up new recipes. Not only are my children a little happier with what I feed them, I am feeling more nourished and inspired. It's a calm, stress-reducing activity now rather than a chore. I find pleasure in eating rather than just wolfing down a bowl of fake orange mac n' cheese just to fill my belly. I am trying new recipes (like the one below) that bring some level of excitement to my life and challenge me to break out of self-defeating habits. This is good.
There are a few more positive habits I am working on cultivating, such as calling friends and family more often, making time for laughter, reading spiritual texts, and keeping my house de-cluttered. I hope you too will make time for your own healthy habits and continue to cultivate self-love and inner peace.
From the LH Store
CSAware and CSA Manager
Recipe: Broccoli-Cauliflower-Potato Soup