Family of tomatoes is out for a walk… Baby tomato is falling behind, Papa tomato goes back and steps on the baby tomato and says “Catch Up”.
Heh. I don’t exactly know why but this joke gets stuck in my head a lot. Do you remember what movie it’s from? One of my favs and I remember watching it against my parent’s wishes when it first came out. I gave myself away when I told the joke in the car…. but I don’t think this is why the joke gets stuck in my head.
I think what’s happening is that I say the punch line to myself so many times a day that I often feel like the baby tomato. No, my dad doesn’t threaten to squash me to smithereens anytime I fall behind… that’s not the point. My dad is super supportive of everything I’ve ever tried. The point is that I often feel like I’m always trying to Catch Up! Catch up with friends, with family, with housework, with homework, with errands, with bills, with life. Even this blog post is a Catch Up post. I have been so immersed in school and all of the information I am learning that I’ve completely overwhelmed myself. I caught wind of it this weekend at a tipping point (tears) and realized I had the joke stuck in my head….. hellooooo Inner Wisdom! Weird. And really, really cool if you think about it. I’m learning to listen to myself!
Here’s the thing… I’m not behind. Nope. I’m right in the thick of it, just like everyone else. Here we are; living every single day just like it is. We can’t make it like yesterday, and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, it’s just today. I make choices every single day that help each future day be better. I don’t know everything yet, and I can’t possibly practice everything I am learning on myself at the same time. I’m not behind. I’m on a path. That was the biggest hurdle; getting saddled up and beginning the journey! I’m right where I’m supposed to be at this very moment. This whole idea of having to Catch Up has got to go. The joke isn’t even funny, it’s sad. It’s told by Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction… that character isn’t exactly the epitome of health and happiness if I must state the obvious. From now on, when it gets stuck in my head it means I need to take a good look at what I’ve been doing and how I can bring it back to the here-now.
Therefore, let me share with you some of the ways I check in with my Self Care to find strength and balance. Just like Primary Foods, I’m often surprised how much they affect me. When I feel like I’m in a rut I usually blame my diet….and my diet is usually not all that bad. Reality is I haven’t given myself enough attention. Pampering doesn’t have to mean a trip to an expensive spa, people. And it’s not just for people without jobs or families. It’s not selfish to make it a priority to take care of ourselves. Our body is our vessel for this journey – we need to take good care of it, we don’t get a second one!
1. WATER. Water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water….. I can rant about this forever. Just trust me. Drink Water. I aim for 3 liters a day and I don’t count the stuff that doesn’t come out of the bottle I carry EVERYWHERE. A good estimate is a liter of water for every 50 pounds you weigh. Soda, coffee, juices don’t count! They DEHYDRATE you! (Not to mention the added sugars and toxins, especially the “diet” ones!!!) DRINK WATER. Headache? Dehydrated. Chapped lips? Dehydrated. Dry skin? Dehydrated. Munchy? Dehydrated. Afternoon sluggishness? Dehydrated. Bags under the eyes? Dehydrated. Fatigued? Dehydrated. Constipated? Dehydrated. Diarrhea? Dehydrated. Yellow pee? Dehydrated. Do I need to go on? If you don’t know what to do…. drink water. Water heals. Life Juice.
2. Sunshine & Fresh Air. Nature does wonders for the soul. Vitamin D is best absorbed through the skin but now it’s getting cold and I know some places get overcast in the winter. Just know that getting outside and breathing fresh air is important! With my total immersion into information last week I caught myself a couple of times not having enough…. walking to and from work/car/home doesn’t really do the job. Go for a walk, focus on breathing it in, let it feed you!
3. Greens. I know, I said it usually doesn’t have to do with diet, but this one always applies. Greens provide nutrients we don’t get from much else. Add a side salad if you find yourself eating out a lot, or even better just eat a salad for the meal. I commented just this morning how much I love the green breakfast we make… I’m pretty sure that’s the only “recipe” I’ve shared with you so far. If I can only have one meal a day greens and eggs would be it…. preferably with avocado and fresh sprouts, but even the leftover greens cold on the go would do the trick. Greens – in order of nutrient density – Mustard/Turnip/Collard Greens, Kale, Watercress, Bok Choy, Spinach, Broccoli Rabe, Chinese/Napa cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, Arugula. This is based on what’s known as the ANDI score – you may see it at Whole Foods, it rates the Nutrient Density on a scale of 0-1000. The Greens and Kale are ranked 1000, Arugula is still in the 500s, so other common greens still work!! You will feel better if you have a green meal – I promise.
4. Alone time. This one can be difficult, I know. It’s in our nature to want to be around others. Being alone can be confused with loneliness, and no one likes to feel lonely. I’m talking about dedicated time to YOU. Turn off the noise, find a quiet place to sit and breath. If a couple of minutes is all you can manage, fine, but do it. I used to go into the stair well of the office building and take 5 deep breaths if I needed it. We are actually alone more than we realize, so try to utilize the time you get… focus on breathing deep, visualize your future, be grateful for the peace surrounding you at that very moment. Even if it’s while you sit in traffic, just try it. It’s all about integrating a few healthy ideas into our busy, stressful lives. The small efforts really do make a difference. If you are fortunate enough to have more alone time (try scheduling it in and committing to it) and can take more than 5 breaths, then practice acts of Self Love. Do something just for you. Practice some yoga in the living room, read a book, journal or sketch, try a new recipe, take a bath, daydream. Giving ourselves time to fuel our inspiration tank is often at the bottom of the list of things to Catch Up on. If we let our tanks go dry what happens? I know I get cranky. I feel sluggish, unmotivated, I crave sugar and alcohol and want to nap all day on the couch (doesn’t count as alone time). Fueling our inner self fuels the entire body, inside and out. Again, we only have this one vessel for our journey…….
5. Sleep. It’s hard sometimes to get to bed at a reasonable hour, I know. With the time change and the darkest days of winter creeping upon us, our bodies are all out of whack. Even though it’s getting dark earlier, I have a harder time going to sleep. And with the sun rising so early I wake earlier than I should and have difficulty going back to sleep. Sleep is regenerative. We need it. It’s when our organs get to do their magic and we heal and process the day’s toxins. Find something to help you sleep. I do a calming cup of tea in the evening when I am ready to wind down. Often I need a calming yoga session (Tara Stiles has an awesome Insomnia routine I follow) and laying with a heating pad (or hot water bottle) in Corpse pose and focus on breathing deep belly breaths. Turning off electronics before getting into bed helps. So does a hot shower or hot towel scrub. Darkness and some “white noise” like a fan or noise machine also help. I have an eye pillow/mask for the mornings when the sun wakes me too early. Getting enough sleep is essential to having a healthy happy body and outlook on life. I always aim for 8 hours, but if I can’t get that much it’s important that what I do get is good sleep. Drinking too much liquid before bed can backfire, making you get up too often to pee (I suffer from this all the time). Find balance in your own self. We are all different. Some people don’t need as much sleep, some people need more. This is important, just like water, fresh air, sunshine, greens, and getting some time alone. If you improve your sleep you will see improvements in your whole world.
Listening to our intuition and the signals our body is giving us is an often overlooked practice. What I’ve laid out for you here is in no way new information. On the contrary, it’s pretty darn basic. Our bodies are very amazing organisms. Ancient wisdom tells us to treat our bodies like a garden… with the proper nurturing and care they grow, when left to manage on their own they still grow – over with weeds. We can’t hire anyone else to tend the gardens of our bodies. It’s our job to keep the weeds out. When we do our job well, we find clarity and balance. We are able to heal and depend on our bodies to take us along this fabulous path we follow. It is pointless to dwell upon what we haven’t done yet. It’s silly to feel like we need to Catch Up. We are on the path exactly where we need to be and we have all the power in the world to make tomorrow even better than today. Don’t get stressed thinking you’re the baby tomato… no one is coming to squash you and tell you to Catch Up. Promise.