Welcome to a new decade my friends and welcome to self care January.
…or so I thought this blog would begin when I started writing it a few weeks ago. But wow! That sure did not happen. In fact, crafting this blog post became that nagging chore I kept avoiding because I refuse to write about something I’m not authentically living. So here we are, on the first day of February, and I just began to practice some much needed self care.
Just a few minutes ago actually, while on a walk with my puppy Groot.
We paused on the path to take in the winter sky, full of grey and peach clouds, the occasional sprinkle dappling our noses. I drew in a large breath and slowly exhaled all the responsibility of the day. Then, from the tree top, a bird began to sing. I smiled, awww how sweet, for me? My next inclination was to turn and continue home to accomplish more work before the end of the day. But this time, I paused. And listened, letting the song fill my mind with a bit of wonder for the changing winter landscape. I breathed in the fading sunlight, allowing it to fill up my spirit with a soft glow and exhaled the damp, wet air. I listened intently to the music filling the trees. That is self care.
Self care means that you chose yourself first, even for just one more moment. It is taking time to nourish your body, mind and spirit. You are choosing a reset button that allows your world to fall into calm perspective. And I will be the first to admit that self care can feel like a guilty pleasure, but I’d like to offer up a different perspective.
I suggest we shift our perception that self care is somehow self indulgent. Instead, let’s define self care as essential to being healthy. It’s not a luxury, but rather an integral part of wellness both for us as individuals, and for our society as a whole. When we are healthy, we are happier. Keeping ourselves healthy and happy is essential to keeping those surrounding us healthy and happy too, and self care is integral to being healthy. When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, we turn to self care as a last resort to restore and heal. Unfortunately, it is rarely a priority in our busy, fast paced world, until we break down or set aside time to care for our own well-being. I’d like to offer suggestions for more ways to invite self care into your everyday life.
Sacred Elements tips for self care throughout the year
1. Design a sacred space in your home
It can be a small kitchen window or an entire room dedicated to creating a space that nourishes your mind, body and spirit. I dedicated a portion of my book Sacred Elements Guidebook to helping you identify your sacred element(s) and lead you through a step by step journey to create a personalized space.
I am a living example of how creating a space in your home with the intention of connecting with the natural world can make you a healthier person. It feeds your spirit, calms and inspires your mind and de stresses your body. I encourage you all to give it a try this year! And if you have already created a sacred space for yourself, nice work! And now I encourage you to visit it daily in to soak up all the benefits it has to offer.
2. Get Outside
Even for just a few minutes a day, walk outside with the intention of absorbing the elements of the natural world. Wind, rain, sun, trees, birds, flowers, rocks, moss, insects, clouds, whatever is surrounding you. Let it give you a free lesson is slowing down and to simply notice and be present in the moment. I have found eco therapy, or nature therapy to be a highly affective way to rejuvenate the senses and calm any anxiety I may be experiencing. This is where my connection to plants began, many years ago and why I head to the nearest tree covered street or dig my hands into the garden whenever I need a dose of nature medicine.
You may find it comforting to reference medical sources and studies to back up real life experiences too, and I just stumbled upon a web md article you may enjoy: https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/nature-therapy-ecotherapy#1
3. Eat with awareness and intention
What we put into our bodies affects the way we feel. I encourage you to join me in choosing food that beautifully nourishes our bodies while having the least impact on our environment. We are fortunate to live in a society that offers countless plant based options and I encourage you to join me in trying more vegetarian and vegan options in 2020 if you haven’t already made that shift.
The more my family learns, (especially my oldest who comes home with weekly reports from his AP Environmental Studies class with horror stories of US Agriculture practices, whoa 😳) the more we move towards a plant based diet and support small farmers who raise animals with sustainable, humane practices.
And! As promised, I’d like to share my favorite recipe for the vegetable that gets featured quite regularly on my Instagram feed for it’s stunning spirals and fractal art forms--- Romanesco Broccoli!
Also known as Roman Cauliflower, this nutritious and delicious brassica is a cousin to kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Romanesco broccoli is believed to have originated in the 15th century near...you guessed it, Rome! It has a slightly nutty flavor with a more delicate taste than broccoli and cauliflower. Romanesco comes into season during the late fall and winter months here in Portland, Oregon as it is a cool season crop. This makes it a delicious and aesthetic addition to any holiday meal or a hearty side dish at the dinner table.
My favorite way to prepare Romanesco Broccoli
-Rinse the crown and gently towel dry. (I say gently because I love keeping those magnificent spirals intact and picture perfect...totally not necessary, but I do it out of respect for the aesthetic)
-Cut into sections, or florets and toss into a large bowl
-Sprinkle generously with olive oil, salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
-Mix well with your hands to coat all the surfaces
-Spread on a baking dish, I use a glass pan and sprinkle with parmesan or romano cheese, nutritional yeast, bread crumbs or all of the above!
-Bake for 20 mins at 425 degrees fahrenheit
-Serve hot with your meal or throw it in the fridge to serve cold on a salad the next day, yum!
Buon appetito amici!