Nourish Yourself Through the Elements - it's Free!
As much as I could spend endless hours experimenting and crafting in my home kitchen, I’ve come to realize that my creativity actually flourishes once I return from my other safe haven: the natural world. Add to it the soup of emotions coming out of this unusual time and it’s even more important to clear out what might be seeping into your cooking experience.
As the fleeting days of late summer (does time even exist anymore?) drive us into a busy fall, we must continue to nurture ourselves as a way to give more fully and be of service to others.
You might equate this idea of “self-care” with the now commonplace spa visits, infrared saunas, yin yoga classes, chiropractic adjustments, meditation apps, and other practices that require precious time and money.
But how about we look instead to the free and bountiful natural elements to inspire us? This, my friends, is true simplicity and resourcefulness.
Have you ever observed your pet savoring those magical moments in the sun, fully stretched out, sniffing the air and simply observing its surroundings? My dog Finn loves nothing more than sunbathing (he's a native Californian!) and laying in the grass, his nose catching the subtle whiffs while his eyes gently follow a buzzing fly. Sometimes, he’ll even chew on nature's delicacies: a fallen pinecone, sticks, or leaves - yum.
We certainly have plenty to learn from animals with being still in the present moment, free from technological distractions. Again, simple but not so easy.
In our fast-paced world, we oftentimes forget to access the beauty and nurturing quality of the outdoors that’s literally all around us. She has plenty to share if we respect Her immense power and grace, rather than deplete Her resources. As human beings, we were meant to spend the majority of our lives outdoors, not behind glass and other building materials amidst artificially circulating air.
Here are some fun, cost-free ways to get outside and reset. Take note of how much more grounded you feel after one of these experiences.
WATER: Roll up your pants and walk through a stream or creek, taking in the sensation of the water against your skin. Your feet will appreciate the reflexology stone massage too. Jump into a lake, ocean, or saltwater pool - no easing in, just plunge! Put on your rain boots (or opt for barefoot) and walk through a rainstorm to savor Nature’s outdoor shower – no other gear required.
AIR: Lie on the grass, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and truly feel the breeze on your skin. Or sip your morning coffee in your favorite outdoor spot (even from a chair on your patio) while watching the vibrant colors of the sunrise unfold and listening to the chorus of birds.
EARTH: Let your hands connect to the soil – plant flowers, help in a community garden, anything to access the richness of the underworld. Or kick off your shoes and simply walk barefoot (known as “Earthing” or connecting to the Earth’s natural energy charges) which activates the many muscles in our toes and helps restore us back to our natural state - usually blocked by the materials in shoes and in buildings.
SUN: Find a sunny spot to indulge in sunscreen-free for up to 20 min a day, preferably when the sun is lower in the sky (early morning or late afternoon). Try to let as much of your body soak in the vitamin D as possible as you take in the healing warmth and nutrients of the sun. More than that and you’ll want to protect your bare skin from burning.
So get out there and expose your body to the elements. Sometimes it takes a mindful moment away from the busy-ness to reset our mental and emotional states and come back feeling vibrant and recharged.
Another great resource for accessing a treasure chest of self-care tools in the modern world is this free masterclass : "Tools to Help the Sensitive Thrive in a Chaotic World." Julie Bjelland's heart-centered work for sensitive souls has been instrumental in my own self-care journey.