Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Hope this Sunday finds you well. Given the state of my hip (many of you know I am facing a replacement), I have been thinking a lot about self-care. No matter how much we know intellectually that sometimes it is good to slow down, it can be incredibly challenging. It is hard to “give in”, but perhaps we need to change our way of thinking. Is caring for your physical or mental health giving in or is it empowering? Perhaps if you can recognize when pushing yourself to do more will result in physical injury, mental fatigue or feeling overwhelmed, exhibits strength? Skipping that daily run, or meeting, or cancelling a date that is spreading you too thin can be positive, helping you be healthier in the long run.
Recognizing when we need a time out is essential for living our life healthfully and productively. I sometime must say to myself, what would really happen if I walked 2 miles today instead of 4? What terrible consequence would it be if I called in to a meeting and said I could not make it. When my children were small and I had tons of extra commitments in addition to work, I would hit the wall about once a quarter. I would call my boss and tell him I was taking a mental health day. That day I would read, relax, recharge. So powerful and made me a better wife, mother and employee!
This week I suggest we all take a moment to check in with ourselves, physically and emotionally. Whatever is restorative to you - taking a walk, doing a guided meditation, lighting candles, taking a bath, cooking and eating something delicious and healthful, I suggest you do it. Call in the time out or mental health day. Your self-care rituals may be completely different than someone else’s; find what feels good for you and treat yourself. Make self-care part of your daily life, even if some of your rituals are only 5 minutes. While I am sure a full day at a spa or hiking or hang gliding or fishing would be the ultimate in self-care for some of us, finding meaningful ways to include it in our every day, consistently, can provide stronger and more meaningful benefits than the one “event” that you never seem find time to schedule.
Our Practice - Restorative Poses and Practice
This week as we explore self-care I think about restorative yoga. While yoga is fabulous for building strength and flexibility-and as a moving meditation-it provides so many more benefits. Restorative yoga, which is a style just as is vinyasa, ashtanga, yin, can help us relax and restore a body and mind that may be stressed physically or mentally. Sometimes, restorative yoga is exactly what we need. I try to fit some in after a particularly stressful day, or if my body is telling me simply that it needs some love. There are many poses that are particularly restorative, five of my favorites are (1) reclined butterfly (2) happy baby, (3) child’s pose (4) supported fish and (5) supported bridge. What is restorative for one person may be not comfortable or restful for another. Find what feels good in your body.
Restorative Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
To do this pose you will need two blocks or a block and a pillow.
Lying on your back, place a block lengthwise between your shoulder blades (although some people like it horizontally) and a block flat under the back of your head (or a pillow). You could also put the pillow on top of a block and rest your head on that for extra comfort. Adjust blocks so that you feel comfortable and supported and can put all of your weight on your blocks.
Legs are long, feet are relaxed, and arms are down by your sides with palms facing up. Another option is to put your legs in reclined butterfly.
Breathe deeply and hold for 5 to 10 minutes.
Possibly consider doing each of the five poses for 5 minutes for a truly restorative practice.
Check out the article below from Yoga Journal linking yoga and self care and its benefits.
Meditation on Self Care
“If you feel "burnout" setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself”. – Dalai Lama
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others" – Maya Angelou
Nurturing with Food – Zucchini and Tomato Stew
So if you are like most people in New England with a garden, you are overflowing with zucchini. Desperate to not throw them away, you hide them in peoples cars and mailboxes! 😊
I have published this recipe before, it is my favorite way to use fresh August produce that can become overwhelming. It freezes well also. This was inspired by one of my old banking clients who sadly has passed on. He told me his recipe over the phone (after giving me some) and I replicated my own version minus the bits of pepperoni! I named it after him, Joe’s Zucchini and Tomato Stew.
Link to recipe:
See you on the mat.