“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise”
So, clearly it has been a bit of a rough time over here. But it is precisely because of these external factors that reminded me to take a bit better care of myself. I’m learning to carve out more time for myself so that I am not running on empty. Here are the things I have been doing to make myself feel extra good after covering the eat, sleep, function bit.
1. Buying food out.
I generally only eat food that I make and prepare for myself. This is for health reasons, and simply because it saves a ton of money. But when I am down, a enjoy treating myself to foods that I enjoy (mmm fries), or foods that are too bothersome for me to make myself (hello raw vegan deserts). While it is easy to fall into a trap of “treating yourself” it is good to nourish the body with the best foods when you are emotionally down. Sometimes it’s emotional nourishment. I’m only human.
2. Using body lotion.
I am not terrrrible at the body moisturization game, but it is easy to neglect exfoliating and moisturizing on a semi daily basis. Although, using natural, non-stripping soap does really help. Keeps everything balanced. Anyway, I have enjoyed keeping my whole self in a constant state of softness. Feels quite luxurious.
3. Being better with my nails.
I hate chipped nails. Looks very unkept in my opinion. My hands are my livelihood, as a personal chef and artist. Keeping clean, neat hands is essential. Also, I am being better with hand cream (see point #2).
4. Making time for friends.
Always always always important. Keeping yourself busy and surrounded by people that make you laugh will always be the best medicine.
5. Being an extra good plant mom.
Sometimes life gets busy, and you start to neglect anything that isn’t essential to your own functioning. Don’t forget about the plant babies! Not only are they beautiful to look at, they’re soothing to care for.
6. Restarting the exercise.
After giving your mind and body a well deserved break, it is time to get back to it! My body does truly feel better when it is in motion.
7. Changing my sheets and towels.
Of course my first thought after emotional trauma is to completely clean my apartment. Scrub, vacuum, new sheets, new towels. Out with the old, in with the new. Time to start fresh.
When you feel completely broken there are two options- burn down or rise beautifully.
What is self care?
This buzz word has been tossed around recently, usually to justify purchasing an expensive bath bomb. While little luxuries can lift the mood, we shouldn’t forget that at the root of it, self care is just that- caring for the self.
Sometimes self care is simply eating. As a non-eater in times of high stress, taking a sip of water may be that first step forward. Then comes smoothies, then comes a mountain of food once the shock has worn away and you realize you are super hungry.
Sometimes self care is sleeping. Thoughts may haunt you, and don’t allow you to sleep, or have you get up every hour to check your phone. Sometimes self care means telling yourself when you wake up mid night- “No, I will not check it. I will not let it interrupt my sleep.”
Sometimes self care is surrounding yourself with friends. The people that love you unconditionally and make you laugh through thick and thin are a big part of why this life is so beautiful. Always be grateful for good friends.
Sometimes self care is doing nothing. Letting yourself just feel what you need to feel. Clear the day. Take responsibility for what you need to do, but if you can, take a break from your work. Cancel that appointment or class. There is no point of doing it right now if you will be distracted. Quietness may be the remedy you need.
Sometimes self care is doing something for the body. Often we begin to neglect our physical selves in times of emotional distress. Nope, I have a body that needs me. And it is a good temporary distraction. Hair mask, check. Face mask, yep. Manicure yes please. And when I feel strong enough, back to yoga.
Sometimes self care is talking to yourself… a lot. Reassessing priorities, or simply telling yourself everything will be okay. Looking inward is important. Are you happy with what you have done? Do you know that you did the best you could? Find peace in that.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”
-Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Strength grows in the moments you think you can’t go on but you go anyway”
Sometimes you wake up to realize something really shitty has happened. You may be surprised, or not, hurt, sad, or just tired. Whatever it was may make you feel like not wanting to go on with the day. That’s okay. Not every day will be a happy one. But if you can find something to be grateful for, it is a good start. A deep breath and some tea always help. And a hug from a puppy. Good friends to support you, and a warm shower.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to be happy. The probability that you were born (according to several top hit google searches) is about one in 10^2,685,000. Even if this isn’t exactly right, it’s still so teeny tiny. Got a roof over your head? Food to eat? Your health? You’re already doing amazing. Don’t waste tomorrow on sadness too.
Here is my puppy because I don’t have another appropriate photo that represents “joy” like he does.
New York City isn’t the most compost friendly place. While more and more programs are popping up, it is hard to store extra plant garbage when there is barely room for a separate recycling bin in a tiny apartment. Instead of throwing out all kitchen scraps, or even composting them, why not try regrowing them? Even if you don’t eat them it is fun to watch them grow!
Some common veggies to regrow in water include:
-romaine lettuce (maybe hold off on this one for now?)
-avocado pit (houseplant)
There are many more if you search online but these seems to be the easiest.
Just place them in a bowl with a bit of water. Place the bowl somewhere that gets good sunlight and change out the water a couple of times each week. After a few days, you will notice roots beginning to appear, and new leaves. At this point you can transplant your plant to soil.
I have had success regrowing romaine lettuce, celery, and bok choy. I just grow them in water. The romaine is actually edible, while the celery and bok choy are fun to watch grow. My carrot tops failed. Also I just replanted an avocado plant! Under pressure one day I named him Jerry, when someone asked. I am so proud when he grows a new tier of leaves ^_^
A near truthful recording of internal thoughts during a first performance. And why you shouldn’t care what other people think.
April 14, 2018.
“Yep.” (Now or never… It’ll be fine. We’ve done this a million times beautifully)
Narrator voice: *but everything was not fine*
The music starts. I take his hand. I realize where I am. My heart rate skyrockets. My heart muscles are contracting stronger than ever before. The stress hormones — adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol course through me. My blood pressure must be through the roof now. Bright lights are on us, so everyone sitting on the perimeter of the dance floor fades into darkness. I close my eyes and try to breathe with him. Because I realize I need to stop analyzing what I feel like is an impending heart attack and just dance.
I know how to do this. What the hell.
Why does my body feel like it’s contracting. My left arm is going to fall off it’s so tense.
OH DEAR LORD WHY ARE WE GOING INTO OPEN EMBRACE, COME BACK!!!
Hee hoo. Breathing. Breathing is good.
Oh that was a nice cross there, good job. Keep it up.
Oh nice, that was so lovely and musical. Mmmm.. *opens eyes*
Errrmagosh people. *closes eyes*
Internal tear. Okay that wasn’t so bad. Just do what you’ve practiced. It’s no different here. You even have a nice floor.
Stop talking to yourself. Listen to the music dammit!
Last Saturday I had my first Argentine tango performance. It was one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. It made me realize the immense pressure we put on ourselves when we know someone else is watching. This crippling fear of judgment was just that- crippling. My body felt like it was contracting inwards. I couldn’t move freely. Watching footage of the performance I felt like I was performing at 40% of my capacity. I’m disappointed in myself for being so affected. But I am also so proud of myself, for doing something that terrified me. Something that took hard work, persistnence. Something I never dreamed I could do. After my ankle surgery I wasn’t sure I would be able to walk without pain again. Through hours of rehabilitation, diet changes, love, and belief that it could be better, I am dancing in heels again. It is a learning process. As I learn to let go of my fears I remain thankful to all of those who have supported me along this journey. Now it is time to dance like no one is watching.
A special thank you to the wonderful human being I was dancing with, Tomas, who always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. My words cannot express how grateful I am for your care and support, and for this wonderful opportunity.
It took a few times to like it, but coconut yogurt really grew on me. This was fine at first because it was so expensive, but then I just couldn’t justify the price of the favorite brand of coconut yogurt. So I took to the Internet to figure out how to make my own. It only takes two ingredients and some patience!
– Can of full fat coconut milk
– Scoop (few tablespoons) of plain Greek yogurt or other plain non-dairy yogurt of choice.
I boil water and rinse out my glass jar and plastic spatula. I let the water sit for a little bit then drain, and let the glass and spatula cool.
I pour the can of coconutmilk into the glass and mix out the lumps. Adding less of the liquid part of the can results in thicker yogurt. I use the whole container though. Stir in a good scoop of the yogurt.
Add a piece of cheese cloth over the top so there is airflow but the container is covered.
4. Rest in a warm place.
I’ll briefly heat my oven to a low setting and warm up the jar a few times (being sure not to cook it). Let it sit at least 12-24 hours.
5. Cool in the fridge.
I let my yogurt cool overnight another 8-12 hours.
My yogurt on a banana flax pancake and chia jam.
Note 1: I tried making it with both kinds of “starters” (dairy and non-dairy) and the scoop of Greek yogurt works better. Experiment to figure out how what works for you!
Note 2: I do not use an extra thickener in my yogurt, using high quality full fat coconut milk gives me the consistency I like. There are recipes that call for thickening agents if you like the consistency thicker.
“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. ”
My hands get pretty beat up on a daily basis. Working with knives and standing over a stove pretty much guarantees an accident here and there. But the biggest reason for my dry sensitive hands is constant washing in hot water. Here are my tips to keep your hands healthy!
Any gentle exfoliator will do. About once a week I exfoliate my hands being sure to be gentle on my palms and get in between my my fingers and the tops of the hands.
I now keep a light hand cream in my bag at all times and try to use it as much as possible during this never ending winter. Lotion samples are a great way to carry around lotion without bringing a huge bottle. Before I sleep I use a thick cream.
My favorite hand cream:
Jurlique Hand Cream, Jasmine, 1.4 Ounce
These absorb nicely:
Crabtree & Evelyn Ultra Moisturising Hand Therapy Evelyn Rose, 0.9 Oz
Because my hands get so dry from washing, my cuticles noticeably suffer. I use this ointment to keep them from being sry and cracked.
Lotion gloves for sleeping.
This step is optional. I don’t do this every night, but when I think my hands need some extra TLC I use gloves after I let my thick hand cream sink in for a minute. They usually slip off (or I take them off… Not sure.) some time in the night, but I do notice a difference when I use them.
I feel like this is often overlooked. Admittedly I don’t use sunscreen on a daily basis, but if I know I will be out for a while if it is very sunny I will be sure to not miss the top of my hands when applying sunscreen.
Take care of your hands!!!
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This past month I have spent trying to be kinder to my body, both in how I treat it physically, and how I talk to myself. I tried to speak more kindly, pushed my body to its limits of strength (hello biceps), and allowed myself to rest when I really needed it. At the end of each day I wrote something that resonated with me.
The photos are followed by the quotes as text.
Feb 28: Speak kindly to yourself, someone very important is listening.
March 1: a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes the smile on your face.
March 2: take care of your body, you only get one.
March 3: believe you can.
March 4: take nothing for granted. Period
March 5: sore today, strong tomorrow.
March 6: tomorrow will thank you.
March 7: if what you are eating is beautiful you will become beautiful.
March 8: The strongest action for a woman is to love herself, be herself, and shined amongst those who never believed she could.
March 9: Surround yourself with people who talk about visions and ideas, not people
March 10: dances the hidden language of the soul of the body.
March 11: I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.
March 12: look how far you’ve come, then keep going.
March 13: I am better than I was, I will be better than I am.
March 14: music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
March 15: you have permission to rest
March 16: it was only in the theater that I lived. – Oscar Wilde
March 17: creativity is intelligence having fun. – Albert Einstein
March 18: the greatest therapy is spending time with friends.
March 19: I don’t think outside of the box I think of what I can do with the box.
March 20: make your dreams happen
March 21: home it’s not a place it’s a feeling.
March 22: don’t listen to your brain telling you you can’t.
March 23: you are worth looking after.
March 24: life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
March 25: you’re not rich until you have something that money can’t buy.
March 26: it does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius
March 27: I was quiet but I was not blind. – Jane Austen
March 28: be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.
March 29: if you dance with your heart your body will follow – Mia Michaels
March 30: A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
March 31: when you love what you have you have everything you need.
April 1: enjoy the little things for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.