It’s Okay to Slow Down: an Affirmation for Winter. | elephant journal

It’s Okay to Slow Down: an Affirmation for Winter. | elephant journal

I want to tiptoe into stillness. I want to learn what the trees know about seasons, about phases, about the steely force of change. Affirm. Affirm. Affirm the need to slow down and find balance.
— Read on www.elephantjournal.com/2018/11/its-okay-to-slow-down-an-affirmation-for-winter/

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Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

 

 

Here me now- I am not claiming total head monkey control.  However, there are ways to quite them and get them mananged.  This has been HUGE for my daughter and I.  We have monkey riots in our heads often and they just needed to settle the hell down.

When the head monkeys are out of control they need to be fed.

First in a head monkey’s diet is sleep.  Lack of sleep makes them louder or controlling them harder. I am not sure which. Either sucks.  Set a iron clad routine.  For adults, around 10 P.M. and up around 6 P.M. following the rhythm of nature. If that time frame not possible, seven to eight hours where you are able.  Uninterrupted.  My kids and I are still in negotiations on that part.  Settle into a non engaging activity thirty minutes before bed time.  I absolutely CANNOT read  before bed.  Book are engaging and insomnia inducing for me. My daughter it’s the opposite effect. As a  matter of fact it can put her to sleep in the middle of the day, so she claims.  Find a relaxing activity you can walk way from.   Listen to your body. I have been sleeping in an extra when possible due to my iron deficiency and children.  I need the extra sleep.  I am not against sleep aids and if you need them use them with care.

Head monkeys love food.  What you feed them either fuels crazy or appeases them.  Avoid high fats, sugar, dyes, chemical/processed foods.  It reeks havoc on your nervous system and incites head monkey riots.    Caffeine needs to be on a short lease.  There are some studies showing restrained amounts of coffee in the A.M. help rev those brain engines, possibly- POSSIBLY- helping those with ADHD.  It’s not conclusive.   However, in small amounts I find it helps.  The best thing you can feed yourself is water. HYDRATE. Don’t give them a fighting chance.  Head Monkey grub should rely on protein and not just meat protein.  Even  good-for-you lean meat protein in high amounts taxes your kidneys.  Nuts, beans, lentils should be mingling with your chicken, turkey, and lean beef. Frequently. YOU NEED CARBS. Actually, the head monkeys do.  But carb responsibly.  Whole grains like oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa, barley are the bread/pasta ingredients to look for.  Avoid processed, refine, and white flour.  Especially bleached. Saying “bleached flour” out loud just literally tasted nasty.  Bleached?! Whole fruits and veggies are smart head monkey carbs and nutrients. Eat them. In abundance. Then watch those head monkeys quiet down.

What you eat is as important as how and when.  Breakfast needs to be a protein punch and the afternoon follows suit.  Afternoon is when you start to drop in your energy rhythm and wish for those kindergarten naps.  Eat a light protein snack.  Small meals space about two to three hours apart regulate your blood sugar, showing those head monkeys who’s boss.  Drink water all in between.

You may want to consider supplements depending on your head monkey issues. LISTEN CAREFULLY KIDS AND HEAD MONKEYS.  Supplements are not for all ages and can negatively interact with other medications.  Check and double check with professional input.  Vitamin Bs (“S”-plural) in a multivitamin for kids, multi or just B complex form for adults is great. The Bs work the nerve system with magnesium, its a head monkey massage.  Omegas are for all ages, stages, and reasons.  We are plant based omega takers but cold fish omegas are VERY helpful in head noise reduction.  If you deal with anxiety, depression, focus issues, etc safely used and effective supplement can help your extra head monkeys. Even if you take medication.

Now that the head monkeys are rested and fed.  Give them a run.  You need to get active- daily and through out the day. Simple stretches, standing up and down a few times when you have desk duty makes a difference. Commit to getting that heart pumping.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do. Then get hands on.  Head monkeys like creativity.  Everyone is creative and not everyone is a Picasso.  Coloring books are just as effective as a Pollock inspired endeavor.  Cooking is creative. Yay food! Working on cars. LEGOS! Just be open and get something in your hands.  If the monkeys are especially loud then meditate while hands on- shameless previous post plug on meditation .  A daily meditation practice is a great preventative for crowd control.  You need to empty the junk drawer but you may worry about the ability focus for so long.  Take five minutes as a starter and if you can go longer great, if not, that’s great.   It’s all about being intentional to help you focus on what you are creating for animal head control.

As of now my head monkeys are on a leash.  While I embrace their quirks and noise at times, the clock is ticking so I am going to go cook something.

My head monkeys namaste your head monkeys.  Find mental peace friends.

Aside

Health Foodie on Those Pains in the Neck.

It’s my birthday!! 🎂 At one time I thought 35 was really, really old. But here I am. Old. Ish. 🤣😉. It’s not so bad and most days are great. I have more wisdom and proud battle scars. Plus a deep appreciation for fuzzy blankets, time with loved ones, warm tea, and sleep. There are some realities of adding another year. Horrible knees since my teens, iron deficiency that impacts my muscles, and my spine is a degenerate. It creates some literal pains in the neck. Ouch. My lifestyle of wellness is to prevent as much as possible, to heal as much as possible, and to manage as much as possible.   For those pains in the neck, literal or not, we do have tools  in nature to cope, manage, and heal.  It is important to note as we continue that seeking a medical professional may be necessary.  In the case of my spinal degeneration, I sought a diagnosis and treatment plan.  My doctors works with my desire for a natural path and diminishing needs to for prescriptions.  With a tweaked food relationship, active lifestyle, and continuous at home therapy- I am slowly finding my groove again.

Food. It’s always been food.

Painless eating requires a dedication in intention and deliciousness.  Antioxidants, lowering inflammation, good fats are among the goals in your food relationships.  Whole veggies and fruits are the potent antioxidant providers.  Get lots of them and mix it up.  They all play a role in providing  your body is missing and reduce inflammation. Green tea is amazing in your daily routine for LOTS of reasons.  For the sake of this topic- its another antioxidant in the battle. Omega rich foods help increase best body function all around. Cod, Tuna, Salmon, Olive Oil, Flax seed, and Chia seeds are all the right Omegas you need in your food life.   The spicy in your food relationship is rather easy and it takes two.  Cayenne and Ginger.  Cayenne added to recipes is a powerful anti inflammatory especially to joints.  Ginger tea and in food is a stomach soother, muscle and joint relaxer, and head massage.  Drink and eat for ache healing.

It’s Essentially In Your Hands

Essential oils are an excellent way to utilize your largest and most absorbent organ for pain reduction.  There are companies that offer ready made oils for pain. However, you may want to customize with these basics.  One of my favorite essential oil blends right now for cramps and tight muscles is Vetiver and Eucalyptus with carrier oil in a roller bottle.  About 3 drops each does the trick.  Eucalyptus is potent and should be taken with caution if you have high blood pressure.  Other excellent options for tight muscles or cramps or painful joints are lemon grass, ginger, peppermint, and cayenne.  Cayenne is a fantastic for joints in food and oil. But it brings some heat, take caution.  Sore muscles and headaches/migraines benefit from similar essential oils as those for pain.   Some times a migraine/headache cause sensitivities to scents.  Test them one at a time to be sure one scent doesn’t irritate you.

Get Active. Sort of.

If your able, activity is beneficial to aches.  A light walk at any time, any length that you can handle is an excellent way to boost blood flow for reducing inflammation and working out kinks.  This increases oxygen, increases cell growth, and removes waste.  Adding a warming pad can have a similar benefit if you are not able to move.   It’s important to note that inflammation needs cooling like an ice pack (no more than twenty minutes).  Under medical care, get a consultation on what is best for you.  Light stretching is an gentle way to pull oxygen into your muscles.   Yoga is my favorite way to do this. Largely because yoga is so versatile and can be individualized with no equipment or lots of accessories. It’s up to you. A studio offering yin yoga or restorative yoga would be of benefit.  Yin yoga is the slowest – less poses being held longer with props to support your body.  Restorative is my constant to heal and build muscle that isn’t strenuous.   Yet, getting to a studio may be difficult.  There are plenty of yin videos on YouTube and the Down Dog app has a restorative option.  I am not linked to either of these companies;  however these are easy at home options.

My hope and prayer is that you find healing in these simple daily changes for a healing lifestyle.  Certainly throwing in a massage or acupuncture further the benefits.   Lots of love in your journey to healing and growing wisdom.

Please share. It would be a great gift!🙃

Namaste 💕🧘🏼‍♀️

Aside

#Internationalselfcare day for the Caregiver

I had it all set. Gut healing ideas with delicious recipes.  Something was holding me back, what was it I truly needed to say? Those recipes are meant for next week.  It started in my A.M. routine with a celebration of #internationalselfcareday and it hit the hardest after leaving #ghostchild weekly speech therapy appointment as #redreignofterror was screaming over a perceived wrong of seating in the car.  Lots of deep breathing as I parent and process our new information.  We will not be able to complete therapy in the short term with the addition of further testing and, hopefully, the additional of occupational therapy.  Being a parent or caregiver is serious work.  Being one with people with disabilities, disorders, syndromes, etc is over whelming.  Finding balance between extraordinary needs, family dynamics, and just life is over whelming.

I have to put my mask on first.

Self care is crucial to my survival and my family’s gears moving.

For us and for those we care for. You need to make a commitment for yourself so you can make the most of you and your caregiver self.   It takes intention, creativity, and setting priorities.  It’s not impossible.

Care for your body.  The physical toll affects more than the physical self. Sleep is priority one. Best case is sleeping a good eight hours or more as needed.  If that doesn’t happen, naps. They are not just for preschoolers. Sleep deprivation infiltrates EVERYTHING- from how your body functions to brain functions.  EVERYTHING.  You need as much sleep as you can get.  It may mean no’s to extra activity, committing to a set routine, back ground noises, and more.

What you eat is priority. Low fat and sugar, high protein and veggies. Unhealthy fats and unhealthy sugars negatively impact your ability to function- body and mind.  There are good fats that are imperative like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, etc. Those in appropriate amount give your body and brain the boost it needs.  You need the right sugar from complex grains. Quick energy. A small cup of coffee is life changing. Add that too.  Sleep and good nutrition is better for your overall health and will be a major contributor to your success as a caregiver.

…Your mind. Sanity may be in short supply or non existent some days. Or all days.  We need to be intentional in care for our minds as equally as we are with our bodies.  In pouring to your physical body enhances your mental health.   It affects our decision making, emotions, and stamina. Your mind is immensely powerful. When not cared for, it can be your enemy. Your pact to your mind is to declutter it. Meditation, prayer, coloring, journaling, support group or friend. You need at least one of these things. I use all of them! We need some where to exhale our love, frustration, exhaustion, victories, and so forth. We need a safe place to inhale grace, comfort, strength, and pebbles of sanity. Release and renew your brain. Part of this pact is acknowledging and setting limitations. We are humans. Super humans, yet very human. We have limitations. A rubber band can only go so far. It does snap. Ask my family when my rubber band snapped. And who did it. Know and advocate your limitations.

Honor your spirit or soul. Whichever you choose. We are designed to be connected and caregiving has a way to isolate us. We must be intentional to connect for our health and caregiving. Seek and accept help then take opportunities outside of your caregiving space to connect with community(ies). Share the burden. When you are isolated your head has a way of getting stuck. It takes effort and strength to get out and connect. Gives you perspective.   It is possible to do something. Especially if you are accepting help. We must connect ourselves to other selves. The more you connect, the more support you find and discover value in your unique purpose.

Set a self care intention.  A few minutes a day on prayer and meditation is often what I have and I take it.  Grooming is efficient but a necessary part of my morning to tell my brain and body I matter.  I choose my food carefully most days.  I am active within my limitations.  In all my self care, I am working on grace the most.  That’s the hardest.  When things like today hit, I feel so small and never enough.  Am I giving enough? What could I do better? Feel me?  Inhale. Exhale.  I need to allow grace and affirm I am doing everything within my means.

Acknowledge your fear.  Find grace.  Affirm yourself.

Namaste and celebrate self care everyday

Meditation for the Distracted: How an ADHD Mom Declutters her Brain

Meditation for the Distracted: How an ADHD Mom Declutters her Brain

I didn’t think that was possible.  Decluttering my brain.  Most of the time my brain is like those annoying rubber balls let loose in a steel cube competing with the speed of sound.  A lot going on with not much room to go anywhere else.  It was like this before kids.  Now there are lots more of additions, noises, schedules, and distractions.  Sitting down is hard enough but sitting to be quiet and focus seems like a joke.  Even after establishing a meditation practice.  This week has been rough.  As I watch Ghost Child take an interest and begin to meditate to calm, it becomes real.  Our meditation practice is as important as breathing and sleeping.  For our brain survival and surviving our emotions, we need it.   If you have a thriving meditation practice, then Namaste my friend and all power too your practice.  If you struggle to focus or have distractions, then Namaste my friend, we completely understand this struggle.   It isn’t out of reach for us and this is how we jump those hurdles to have a healthy meditation practice.

1. Pre- practice: Sleep and Eat

  • Sleep deprivation will set you up for failure.  Most people do meditate in the morning but if later in the day or at night means better sleep then do it.  Get those 8 hours.
  • Eat and Hydrate. This is a continuous cycle for your well being that impacts your meditation practice in either direction. For your best success, lean proteins and a variety of veggies.  Adding supplements like Vitamin B Complex, Omega 3’s, Fiber, and Probiotic enhance total body including your brain.   A dehydrated brain contributes to lack of focus and disrupts other brain functions.  Stay Hydrated.


2. Pre practice: The Set Up 

  • Be time conscious without being conscious of it.  Start short, 5-10 minutes and set a timer.  A timer can allow you to forget about time. You can work into extending your time.
  • Be guided.  Allow someone to talk you through it or use a script.  Script doesn’t work for me but may allow you to focus on the words. Listening to a guided meditation does wonders for me. Check out more on my pinterest meditation page  for some ideas.
  • Use classical music or nature sounds.  
  • Recite a prayer, verse, proverb, mantra, or phrase.  
  • Be touchy.  Use a  mala, bracelet, rosary, or mudra
  • Be nosy.  Use scents- candles, oils, etc. Lavender calms the brain, Orange engages it.  Those are two of many scents that will help your brain and body. 
  • Use an App.  A dear friend recommended Insight Timer and I love it. It has a timer with guided, music, lectures, and community.  
  • Pencil it in. Put it on the calendar, set a task reminder, etc. 

3. Practice

  • Get comfortable. The positions I would suggest are Lotus (cross legged, spine straight), sitting in a chair with feet on floor and spine straight, or Savasana (corpse pose, lying down).  The important thing is your spine to be straight for optimal blood flow, energy flow, and maximize your breathing.  
  • Breath deep and slow.  Controlling your breath controls your body thus your brain.
  • Accept your thoughts.   It is okay to have thoughts.  Become an observer and let them go.
  • Have grace. It is called a practice and takes practice.  Even after establishing a habit, some days feel more like practice than flow.  Have grace.

Alternative Options

Try:

  •  coloring in silence or calming music
  • walking with in silence while concentrating on breathing,  or listen to calming music or guided meditation,  or use a recitation
  • Yoga- Yin Yoga is great for this.
  • In listening to a guided meditation, use headphones or ear buds.
  • Journal: thoughts, gratitude, anything!
  • Tea mediation: using senses to focus during your tea time. I don’t think this works the same with wine.

My personal practice starts between 6:00 am to 6:30 am most days.  Some times I walk before hand. I always drink lukewarm water with lemon juice before starting yoga.  From there I move into my favorite position, Savasana, and use a guided and/or timer meditation. All my senses are engaged and I keep my supplies in a dedicated space. This might sound daunting but it is very quick. My yoga is twenty minutes.  On a good day, I can meditation 20 minutes.  Sometimes I split between timer and guided or just do one of them. Bad days-  just yoga with a short 5 minute guided meditation.  There is power in emptying the junk drawer up there but there is more power in having grace when it is difficult to do so.  For attention sake, I kept this relatively short.  You may have a lot of questions- message or email me.  I want to help!

Empty the junk.  Take in the grace. Namaste.