Updated: Jun 23, 2020
“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you?”
- Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
Self-Care in Times of Change
In times of great change on Earth, one of the wisest things we can all do is to take a little extra time each day to nurture our own bodies, heart and minds.
Here are a few simple tips for self-care in these times:
Try to make time each day for exercise -- at least 40 minutes per day. Even if your energy levels are lower than usual, a walk around the block or 10 minutes of gentle stretching is still great medicine for your day.
Daily emotional check-ins.
It’s natural that stress levels, emotional overwhelm, and old pains may surface in these times. There is likely nothing “wrong with you”, but you are wise to take some time each day to get in touch with how you’re feeling.
Journaling or simply acknowledging how we feel is the first step in letting our emotions reveal their wisdom to us. If you find you are dealing with strong emotions and erratic behaviour, you may find it helpful to speak with a counsellor or therapist.
In times of stress, the first thing we do is restrict our breathing, which quickly makes us feel even more tired, anxious and reactive. Taking a few long, deep belly breaths as you read this can do wonders for calming the body and mind. Better yet, you may wish to take time each day to make yogic breathing exercises (called pranayama) part of your daily routine.
Pay attention to your digestive fire, and try to favour warm, freshly cooked foods instead of those that are heavy, microwaved or processed. If you feel your digestion feels “off”, try kicharee, a delicious, healing Ayurvedic soup.
Drink 0.5-1 L of warm, water when you wake up in the morning, and keep drinking throughout your day. A cup of tea can also be a beautiful and healing spiritual practice.
Slow down. Rest. Simplify.
Favour the activities that could have been done 1,000 years ago: gardening, art, poetry, drumming, dancing, singing, cleaning your home, napping like a cat, cooking, laughing...
Love & Relationships.
Human contact is invaluable to our overall well-being. As much as possible, try to support yourself with loving, positive relationships with those who inspire you. Recognize that emotions are contagious, and that others may be feeling particularly sensitive, vulnerable, and emotionally triggered in these times. Try not to take this personally, but be aware of what emotions are yours (and which are not).
If you are in a couple, please be sensitive if you/your partner's interest in sex is less than usual; this is normal if stress levels are high. Monogamous bonding time can be greatly beneficial. If you are single or living alone, you are up against the challenge of being your own best lover. Be gentle with yourself, and try to make space for real human contact (or spiritual community) as much as possible.
Beauty is healing.
Spend some time beautifying your home, burning incense, working with essential oils, making an altar, and adorning your sweet self. Keeping your home tidy (without being too uptight about it) will also help you feel grounded and secure. Remind yourself daily that you are beautiful and a good human being, just the way you are.
Find Your Herbal Allies.
Ashwagandha and tulsi are both great adaptogens to boost stress-resilience and natural immunity. You can also take chamomile, lavender, passionflower, cinnamon or ginger. Watch habits to overdo it on alcohol, sugar, caffeine and junk food, and support yourself with positive alternatives.
Focus on self-healing & spirituality.
Although challenging for many, this period may also be seen as an auspicious time to support the transformation of Earth, and to empower your gifts as a healer, helper, space holder, visionary and co-creator.
This is a good time to pay special attention to any inner longings, desires, frustrations or aspirations that arise, and to make extra time for contemplation or self-exploration. There is much work ahead for those who are feeling the call.
Enjoy each day.
In Ayurveda, we say that a day well-lived is the best medicine. Even as the very fabric of how we have lived before is being called into question and dismantled, there is still much to be grateful for, and much that we can do.
It is crucial in these times that we keep ourselves grounded and healthy by focusing at least on the very basics of well-being: eating well, sleeping well, staying hydrated, and nurturing your connection with self and others.
In doing so, we can allow this times to bring us closer to our own hearts and spirits, closer to each other, and closer to the true possibilities of being alive.
I hope you are well.
With love and peace,
About the Author
Briya (Rachel) Freeman is a facilitator specialized in meditation, ayurveda and modern spirituality. She is passionate about exploring the potentials of human consciousness in a way that respects, unites and transcends global culture and tradition.
Briya is a long-term student of Berdhanya Swami Tierra, a female mystic and shaman of South American origin. She also holds studies in ayurveda at Anjali School of Ayurveda (Kerala, India) and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa. She is the creator of Ayurveda for Vibrant Living, an online course which explore practical principles of self-care and holistic self-healing.
If you're interested in learning more about self-care, we have a new session of Ayurveda for Vibrant Living starting in September 2020. Details are here.