Welcome to a new decade! It's been a healthy start, and we are enjoying the cozy nights, and setting new intentions for the year to come. With anxiety about the state of our world, we have been turning to some simple routines to nourish ourselves. Sometimes it feels like time is moving too quickly, and the sense of longevity dwindles with the daily checklists and the demanding reality of our jobs, family lives, and social responsibilities. Living in a world that demands every ounce of your energy and attention requires radical self-care, particularly in the New Year and after the holidays. It builds the foundational blocks for the rest of the year and re-establishes a relationship with ourselves.
January is all about turning inward and refocusing on our personal needs. We will be better people for it. And our world needs strong and fiercely passionate people to be engaged and connected.
Here are a few of the things we've been enjoying:1. Kitchari, and this recipe from My New Roots: If you are looking for a little detox in the new year, doing a Kitchari cleanse is a great way to do it. Cleansing is best during the spring and summer months because, in winter, we are trying to build all the reserves we have and stay warm. In Ayurvedic tradition, Kitchari is seen as a cleansing meal that is easy to digest and simple to make! Meant to be the only thing eaten over a few days to reset the digestive system, and ground the nervous system. If you aren't looking to cleanse, it's a delicious warming and nourishing meal to enjoy on a cold winter night.
2. Kinfolk Magazine, and Esther Perel's thoughts on Intimacy: While this article is specifically about romantic relationships, it sparked thoughts on how we nurture, give back and receive from our community, and how we all genuinely need that in our life, and how in the long run, it significantly contributes to the health of our intimate relationships. A good thing to think about in this new year, and especially with the state of the world.
3. Citrus Digestive Bitters: Our classic bitters formula, with a citrusy twist, making these bright and zesty-- just the thing our bodies are craving during the dullness of winter. These bitters are great for when you overate or need some relief to soothe gas and bloating, indigestion, or occasional heartburn. We have been enjoying these in the morning with our lemon water to wake up and spark good digestive fire first thing before eating.
When it comes to digestive woes or gentle detox goals, bitter herbs are among your best allies, and with good reason: they work, and usually quite fast. Bitter substances stimulate the body’s innate digestive response and optimize digestive function. They trigger the digestive system to produce the body’s endogenous digestive juices.* If you are wondering which bitters are best for you, check out this blog post!
4. Our new travel pouches: These one-of-a-kind, handmade Kantha stitching bags were made for us by the THAR Artisan Collective. (TAC), an economic development initiative from WomenServe that allows for the retail and wholesale of the textile crafts created by the village women of Western Rajasthan, India. Women Serve works to empower women and girls by securing resources that fuel sustainable change: water security, health and hygiene, education, and economic development. Economic development interventions offer training in indigenous handicraft techniques and social and economic support in an effort to improve income generation and bolster entrepreneurial activity.
We are proud to support the women of TAC and the mission of WomenServe and are excited about future work with them. These have become our new favorite wellness pouches that we fill with tinctures, tea, and other things we may need, and they fit perfectly in our purse! We will be giving some away on our Instagram this year, so stay tuned for a chance to win one!
5. Deep Sleep and Hit the Hay : Mid-winter is the best excuse to catch up on sleep. Our bodies crave solitude and downtime. It is when we do our best work to keep ourselves healthy. We know we need it but are often not getting enough. With deep and restful sleep, we are more creative and happier. Sleep deprivation has been shown to alter activity in the brain, where our nerves and body processes are not firing correctly. Our thinking changes, our behavior is altered, and we are less resilient to the stressors that come at us.
Hit the Hay is herbalist-created to give you that extra help for deep, restful slumber. We built the formula around passionflower, which soothes away the stress of the day and allows the mind to relax, California poppy, which calms mental chatter, and kava; the incredible root that supports a relaxed nervous system and melts away tension at the end of the day. We then added a small amount of hops which supports a peaceful, tranquil state allowing us to drift off into a restful sleep.* Give it a try if you are trying to get more sleep this time of year!
6. This hot toddy has been getting us through some of the coldest nights yet! For a little extra love, add a dose of Joy Tonic to it! A mood brightening formula of nervine herbs, Joy Tonic is traditionally used to promote a joyful spirit and positive mental attitude. It is also helpful for occasional worry & tension, and for going with the flow!*
7. Herbal Baths, and dry skin brushing: We start with a good dry brush, traditionally used to support the lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of stagnation, resulting in healthy and resilient skin! Skin brushing also supports the immune and digestive systems, both of which are involved in detox. Get a dry brush (available at most pharmacies or coops), and brush your body all over, in circular motions, moving the direction of your heart.
Then take a nice long soak before winding down for the night. Epsom salts make a great base, along with herbs like chamomile, pine, cedar and rose, and essential oils. If you don't have any of these herbs, even a few herbal tea bags in the bath will do. Immerse yourself in hot water for about 20 minutes and finish with a quick rinse in cold water. The use of water for therapy has been around for thousands of years, as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, and forms an integral part of many traditional healing systems. Switching from hot to cold (hydrotherapy) supports proper blood circulation and healthy detox and awakens our bodies. It’s a beautiful ritual that is easy to do at home, once or twice a week. Practicing hydrotherapy has a way of waking up your entire body, and leaves you feeling alive and bright.
8. Traditional Medicinals Cup of Sunshine Tea : has been a new favorite to drink during the winter months as it is used to promote a good mood.* Kanna, an herbaceous succulent from southern Africa, has been used by native tribes in herbal healing rituals for generations. It's been a lovely ritual to start the day with as it's smooth and sweet with honey-roasted notes.
9. Mindful Breathing: Whether it’s a yoga class, a quick morning meditation, or a 5-minute desk breaks to stretch and breathe some fresh air, do whatever works best for you and your life, but push yourself a little to stop a few times a day and BREATHE. Set an alarm clock if you have to. Not only does deep breathing get more oxygen to our brains allowing us to think better, but it also gives us a chance to remind ourselves to be here and present. We love Insight Timer, or Calm app. Here's a great list for guided meditations. And this article talks about some of the best ways to bring mindfulness into our lives- including mindful eating insights, and projects for kids.
We hope you find some time for heart-filling activities that make you engaged and passionate. We certainly need strong hearts as we head into 2020.