self-care: a brief ode

Self-care (n.) : an activity one performs solely for one's own nourishment, pleasure, and overall well-being. This can be treating yourself to a day at the spa, dinner out with a loved one, or simply curling up with a book instead of tidying the house, taking 5 minutes to meditate before bed, or listening to a favorite album.

Self-care is one of the healthiest, most deeply nourishing things we can do for ourselves. For some--those compassionate souls who are always in service to others: teachers, parents, women, caregivers, volunteers, activists, etc.--it is the most challenging.

From a wonderful zine published post-election: 

"When we take care of ourselves, we can rebuild the strength we need to guide the changes we so passionately believe in."
a guide to SELF CARE in Uncertain Times by Maribeth Keane
 

New to self-care? Start by brainstorming a list of activities that came to mind while you were reading this. This exercise itself can be a wonderful self-care practice! (It's really fun to sit down and think of all the things that bring you pleasure, peace, and inspiration.) Your list can be posted on the wall, set as the desktop background of your computer, or kept in a frequented journal or book--anywhere you will see it regularly.

If you're having trouble coming up with your list or finding time to incorporate self-care into your life, please don't hesitate to reach out for ideas, advice and encouragement... I'm happy to help!

Love Your Lymph!

I believe a great part of tackling winter immunity is giving extra loving to your lymphatic system. This system helps our body get rid of waste, toxins, and transport white-blood cells (infection-fighting heroes!) throughout the body. (So, really important for building and maintaining good immunity!) Did you know that our lymph consists of a beautiful, system-wide network of vessels similar to those that carry around our blood? :

"Unlike blood circulation, the lymphatic system does not have a pump. Lymph is moved through its vessels slowly, sent along when it is squeezed by surrounding muscles--in other words, good old exercise! ...Pressure changes in the thorax during breathing also help to pump the lymph; here is another cleansing effect of deep breathing." (from Pip Waller's Holistic Anatomy, an engaging and awe-inspiring book on our miraculous bodies that I highly recommend to anyone who is intrigued!).

We often are more sedentary in the wintertime, which I believe contributes to lessened immunity and more sickness!

Some simple ways to encourage lymph movement:

  • massage (from a professional, partner/lover, or self-massage)
  • Yoga
  • dry skin brushing
  • exercise & movement
  • deep breathing
  • alternating hot + cold in the shower, bath, sauna, etc.