i've been tagged by zoe to write about five things i do each day to "keep my mind healthy". hmmm. well, i'm certainly never consistent in what i do and i can't say i have five specific things i do each day to balance myself, but i have noticed a few things that definitely keep my mind healthy when i choose to do them. here they are:
1) be outside.
take a walk. or a hike. or a jog. or even sitting outside, cloud-watching can work, but the exercise is a huge bonus as it gets the blood flowing, etc. but in general, if i am feeling overwhelmed or depressed or anxious or anything like that, my mind and body seem to respond very well to even the quickest of walks outside in nature. even the urban nature that i am surrounded with. being outside is good. it always works for the kids too. always.
2) be in the moment.
it's true. for me, it means stopping what i'm doing and consciously focusing my energy on whatever is going on around me, with me right now and appreciating it. half the time, i'm somewhere else, thinking about what i need to do tomorrow or in ten minutes, or what i didn't do earlier, etc. i've actually caught myself stressing out about, oh gooodness i don't know, something that doesn't really need to be stressed about while i'm knitting by the fire and i've had to stop my self and say, "hey, wait a minute, i'm sitting here knitting by the fire and i'm not even enjoying it, by god!". ridiculous. so, i will literally take a moment and look around and just enjoy the fact that i am knitting by the fire or doing whatever it is that i'm doing and just be thankful for it. it was the same going on a walk with the kids on sunday. it was so nice and griffin really didn't want to go, but once we got outside it was just beautiful and we found this amazing caterpillar that was huge with bold yellow and black stripes and we just sat there and stared at it and rather than think about what i needed to do when we got home, i made a conscious effort to just enjoy the looks on my kids faces watching that caterpillar and finding sticks and singing and just the glee in them and the light of who they are that makes them glow, filled me with such intense happiness. it was amazing. i was nearly giddy by the time we got back home. it was fantastic.
3) eat healthy food.
around here, we focus a lot on eating our "glowing, growing and glowing foods" because we just feel better when we do. period. lately for me, that also means staying away from too much caffeine, which tends to make me feel irritable and edgy. so, no more coffee. instead i steer toward yogi tea which is packed with ginger and cinnomon and cardomon and things that help my blood circulation and build my nervous system up (i will post the recipe soon) and then that raw cacao shake i posted last time, for when i need a pick-me-up that's filled with antioxidants and other forms of nutrition instead of things that will ultimately drain my adrenals.
this relationship we have with healthy food is leading to us wanting to grow our own food as well, which has a learning curve, but we are excited to be starting the process (right now we are growing mangos, passion fruit, artichokes, snowpeas, papaya, lemons, oranges, tangerines, bay, asparagus, apples, kiwi and pomegranates!).
4) remove clutter.
i have read that there are two things that can overwhelm us and that is the amount of "stuff" that we accumulate and the pace of our day. i wholeheartedly agree. and what is that other famous quote? something about not keeping anything which you do not use or do not believe to be beautiful... something like that.
i am on a mission to change my patterns of accumulating junk and to simplify my life. it honestly feels better when i take a pile of crap to goodwill and clear off a shelf and organize it beautifully. the kids feel it too. when they have less "stuff" yet organized in a beautiful way, they start to play with it and take care of it and appreciate it, i've found. when they have a huge pile, it just sits there collecting dust.
there's a book i need to track down that was put together by a photographer who went around the world photographing people standing outside of their homes with all of their material possessions. some families stood outside their straw huts with a handful of kitchen utensils that were obviously very much loved and appreciated and other families stood in front of their mansions with their yachts and their jet skis and their mountains of "stuff" that they don't seem to have that much appreciation for. i'm not ready to give up my toilets or anything, but i really would love to be surrounded only by things i find useful or beautiful. i really don't want a lot of extra stuff lying around. it truly does clutter up your life and your head. it really does feel good to let go of the stuff you don't need.
diaphragmatic breathing can do wonders for all sorts of things, including anxiety, restlessness, sleep disorders, nervousness, etc. even if there's no time to make it to a yoga class or find a eurythmy therapist or shoot over to a cranial sacral session or get a massage or all the other wonderful things we could be doing to nurture ourselves, there are always five minutes available to take some deep breaths, and sometimes that five minutes during a busy day can make all the difference in the world.
take care everyone! be well.