As we seek to find our bearings in this intense time, I am drawn to check in on how people are doing and open the conversation around how we best support each other and ourselves during these times.
As is true in all aspects of life, each of us will react and respond in different ways. I know for me, the more mindful I can be, the better I can respond, and thus avoid reacting from a place of fear. With that as foundation, I spent the weekend fully immersed in the information coming out about Covid 19 and worked to integrate that knowledge into making mindful decisions for myself and my family. Since some of that impacts my Little Tree practice and because some of you have reached out seeking guidance, I thought I would share what I am doing in response to the our current situation. In a separate post, I will talk about online offerings that I will be starting soon.
For my family, we are taking seriously the public health concerns about rapid spread and the impact that could have on our health care system and the most vulnerable. This means that we are home. Both of my children’s classes have moved online and my husband’s work as an IT consultant can easily be done from home. I have scaled back much of my in person work at Little Tree, so I am mostly home as well.
Here are some things I am doing to maintain my wellness – not just physically, but in mind and heart as well. There is a lot here. I have been learning about and incorporating these things into my life over the past 5-10 years, so go easy on yourselves as you look to what you might add that would be supportive.
Maintain a rhythm. This I learned well, over the many years of homeschooling my children. For me, the important place markers for the day are my morning routine, meal times, family time and rest. Within those markers, different activities like work, study, projects, and movement, take place. Each day I write up a “flow” for our days and I share with the family in the morning. If I were home with small children, I wouldn’t share it with the children, but rather have it as a guide for our day.
As some of you know, March is when I usually lead and undertake an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse. My plan had been to start on Monday. However, with a goal of strengthening my immune system, I decided that cleansing right now would take away from that process. That said, much of the cleansing principles are very supportive to our immune health, so I am going to continue with some of those.
My morning routine is the most extensive, and for me, it is the most important part of my self care:
I get up early, like 5am early, when the house is quiet, to get through these essentials for my wellbeing. I DO NOT look at media until I have gone through this routine.
For meal times, I am focusing on healthy foods that support the immune system. Lots of whole foods, warming spices, and minimizing processed and high sugar foods. Part of my cleanse is to cut out all sugar, this I will continue for now. From an Ayurvedic outlook, in the Spring it is supportive to limit mucous producing foods like dairy and gluten while increasing bitter foods like the dandelion greens I am seeing in the yard as well as arugula and other greens. Bitter roots like dandelion and burdock root are good as well – those I am getting in tea form.
My family and I are also prioritizing getting out of the house and into nature every day. Be it a neighborhood walk, a hike or some gardening. Cool weather seeds for lettuce, greens, beets, radish and snap peas will go in the earth this week.
I am one of those blessed individuals who can easily get adequate sleep. But pay attention to that. Most of us are best served with 7-8 hours per night. It is also supportive to have a daily bowel movement – that is part of my morning routine.
Maintain connection. This is particularly difficult as we practice social distancing. I saw a patient earlier this week and it felt so awkward to not share a handshake or hug. I am paying attention (and using a timer every 50 minutes) to step away from my computer and connect with my children and husband. I am calling elder friends and family who are isolated at home to offer support and connection. And I am thinking about how to maintain and create connection with my clients. Those who know me, know that I am energized when teaching and facilitating groups. I will find ways to continue that work online and am planning Bowspring classes, Parent Chat and Telehealth visits within the week. Stay tuned for details in a coming post.
Finally, and this is specific to the Covid 19, when I go to Little Tree to see my pregnant clients, I am doing many things differently. First, I mentioned the abhyanga oil in the am. I have also mixed up some coconut oil with antiviral essential oils that I rub into my nostrils when I leave the house and at least 3 times per day. I have a roller with the same oils that I apply to my neck whenever I think of it. I am gargling with warm salt water 3 times per day. I am drinking my “Spring Tonic” tea. It has Tulsi in it as well as the bitter roots I mention above. I am also taking some immune enhancing and respiratory supporting herbs.
When I am at Little Tree, I have increased my cleaning and disinfecting. Sadly I am not sharing tea or much face to face time with clients. I am shifting the bulk of the care I provide to Telehealth with the exception of brief office visits to check on pregnant people and their babies. I have am screening all clients prior to in person appointments and I am not seeing clients at Little Tree who have symptoms of Covid 19. If you have symptoms, please reach out via phone and we can come up with a plan based on current public health recommendations for testing, treatment and where that care can take place. When I get home, I gargle and wash my face and nose and reapply the coconut oil with essential oils to my nose. I repeat this before bed.
As most of you know, I strive to make recommendations and incorporate into my care approaches that are safe and evidence based. Some of what I am doing is not evidence based, but rather based on traditional knowledge or theoretic rational. None of it carries risk of negative side effects and all of it feels good.
In closing, this is an intense time that stirs anxiety and fear. So many are being impacted in many ways. My deepest aspiration is to be of help to those in need. Finding ways to contribute to the greater good for our communities and world is front and center for me. I have lived the truth that starting with my wellness, making sure that my foundation is solid, means I can be responsive and act from a place of wisdom and compassion. Wishing each of you some calm in the midst of this storm so we can each respond in a way that supports our communities and world.