We cannot deny that this ever-evolving pandemic has changed the course of our lives. I know I find myself constantly in a state of flux and shifting how I respond or react the the various ebb and flows of my day to day.
Most days, I feel stuck, confused, or uncertain of what's next--so much that I can barely figure out what to do each day, much less, muster up the strength and clarity to take action. It's all just so busy, complex... and too much! Sound familiar? Know that you are NOT ALONE. We are all in this together, and the only way we can get through this, is one moment, one day at a time, and by supporting each other.
While I am still processing my own journey through it all and still finding the right words to articulate it--the one thing I do know for sure, is that we cannot get through this alone. And, the more we can resource our community, the better off we all are.
All that to say, while each day is so different, there are two things in particular that have been so helpful in navigating this crisis so I wanted to share.
#1- Slow it down and pause when you can. One of my favorite meditation teachers, Tara Brach, talks about how the sacred pause is the best tool to unlock our freedom or awakening and, ultimately, our pathway for healing. She sees pausing "as the gateway to Radical Acceptance. In the midst of a pause, we are giving room and attention to the life that is always streaming through us, the life that is habitually overlooked."
Often times when you are in a state of 'fight, flight or freeze' or panic, you're so full that you don't even know you are in a state of mental hijack, much less, able to entertain the question, "what do I need right now in this moment?" When we pause, we invite in stillness. And in those moments--albeit foreign, awkward, uncomfortable, or scary--we open up the space for what's there, or what needs to be attended to.
To be clear, being still and remembering to pause is freaking HARD! It takes practice, and at first, it may not feel like it's doing much. But over time, you'll be surprised what a breath, or pause (if even for a second) can do to help you create a shift.
Pauses are powerful and deep breathing and meditation is a good place to start. Below you will find some new short 2-5 meditations that I posted to help you get started. Remember, you don't need much time, every little breath counts and helps create that moment of release.
#2 - Give yourself some grace. As a recovering perfectionist and my #1 critic, I am constantly doubting and/or beating myself up for all the things I do, and or don't do. Early on as all the COVID19 fray was happening and the ripple effect of shelter-in place orders took hold, I came across this article in the Washingtonian on 7 Mindfulness Tips during COVID19. Tip #4, suggested picking a mantra and reciting it each day, which has been invaluable. My mantra has been "do what you can, give yourself some grace."
For once in my life, I have told myself that it is OK. It's ok to not know right now and it's ok to feel whatever it is that I'm feeling. And it's been so FREEING. Reciting this mantra daily (and throughout the day) helps me when I feel like can't press on or just don't want to, and especially when I start to revert to my negative habits of beating myself up or playing my never-ending blame/shame or comparative suffering games with myself. Extending grace and self-compassion is so important, especially now. So 'do what you can, give yourself some grace' and pick a mantra that works for you.
Lastly, you'll notice I also created a new COPING WITH COVID Resource page on my site. This includes some new service offerings to support communities and our people in a time of need as well as some free resources. Check it out!
Why I made this smoothie:
I was looking for sometime to spice up my daily green smoothie and thought dragon fruit was the perfect addition. Dragonfruit is full of fiber and magnesium and goes well with citrus flavors, hence the pineapple, lemon, and lime additions.
Pineapple Dragon Fruit Smoothie (Dragon Fruit, Pineapple, Kale, Ginger)
Serving Size: 16oz smoothie
As a kid, I absolutely loved getting a mango lassi every time my family went out to eat indian food. My grandmother never made this a home, so we only got it when we went out. It was always so refreshing. I remember thinking, 'they must sit there juicing and pureeing the mangos with great care' (it always took so long to get after I ordered it - I guess everything always seems long as a kid).
It was always well worth the wait. Each time it was my turn to order I couldn't wait to tell the waiter, "one mango lassi, please!"... that was until I learned many Indian restaurants pour it from a processed bottle (at least in Tucson, AZ they do). It totally broke my heart and took the nostalgia out of it, but I still love the drink!
This is a my healthy take on one of my favorite childhood drinks, Indian Mango Lassi. A Mango Lassi is typically made with mango, milk, sugar, and yogurt. I've substituted with yogurt with greek yogurt for more protein and added turmeric, not just because it's orange too, but because 1) we know, I am obsessed with Turmeric and it's health benefits, and 2) I put it in every smoothie or recipe any chance I get. This smoothie makes for a great breakfast or dessert shake.
Mango Lassi Smoothie Recipe with Mint & Turmeric
Why I made this Smoothie: I love mangoes and needed a new smoothie!
Most days my go-to is a simple daily green smoothie with pineapple, but every now and then I need to switch things up. At times making a completely new smoothie can take up a lot of time, and on days that I am in a rush I just keep it simple - It has to be sustainable in order for me to make it a habit! So I just switch out my fruit and keep the greens the same. Mangoes are a great option because they are high in vitamins A and C and good for your skin. Fennel is also a great cooling veggie that is fragrant and great for digestion.
Mango Greens Smoothie (Mango, Cilantro Kale, Romaine Fennel, Mint)
Serving Size: 16oz smoothie
Turmeric is one of my favorite herbs of all times. Turmeric contains curcumin, which exhibits significant health benefits, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. You can learn more about turmeric and its amazing health benefits here in Turmeric and Its 20 Amazing Health Benefits You Didn’t Know About by BeHealthy. This has a lot of great information.
I use turmeric primarily for anti-inflammatory properties and as a digestive add. If I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, I typically take a turmeric pill or turmeric shot to settle my stomach. Additionally, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric milk or tea is a great drink to soothe a sore throat. When we were young, my father would give this to us claiming it was an old Indian recipe is family passed along for colds and congestion. Back then, I never fully bought into any holistic recipe or remedies that my mother and father pushed; I always thought they were just being crazy parents telling me to do too much (ooh, to be young!) But now, I can’t get enough of turmeric.
Below is a recipe for Golden Milk (Turmeric milk). I typically drink this when I feel a cold or sore throat coming on. I have been traveling quite bit for work lately, which makes it even harder to maintain a strong immune system, so I have been living off of this recipe that last few months. (Umm and why does it still feel like winter in April!? :-p) That said, it’s also a great treat when you’re looking to warm up, or need a comforting tea to wind down the night. Enjoy!
Gold Milk Tea (Turmeric Milk Tea Recipe) - Powder based
Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add turmeric, ginger, and cardamom. Stir well if you are using the dried spices. Let the milk begin to simmer to incorporate all the spice. Serve and add honey to taste. Sometimes I mix it up and just use the spices above and sprinkle them in any green tea of my choice.
You can also save yourself sometime in the long run, by spending some time upfront to make batch of turmeric paste (recipe below). Once you make paste, you store it, and then add it to warm milk, or hot water like you would with any tea. Enjoy!
Golden Milk Tea via Fresh Turmeric Paste
Place ingredients in blender or food processor. I use the pulse button a few times to ensure it mixes around evenly first, before I turn it on thigh. Store paste in an airtight jar and place in the fridge. When ready to serve, scoop 1-2 teaspoons of paste into hot 8 oz of hot water or milk of choice.
Who am I and do why write this blog? Each time I ask myself that question, I find that I have so much more to learn and discover. "Who am I" is an ongoing process, and just when we think we've figured it out, life has its way of throwing us a ton of curve balls-but that's why its called a journey.
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