With the political tide changing so abruptly, the only thing I feel like I have any control over is my own well-being. So I’m making a conscious effort to make self-care a priority this year. It’s interesting how I’m feeling myself being drawn naturally into a healthier lifestyle, and I’m finding this period of discovery to be quite enthralling. Here are a few things I’m thinking about embracing in 2017.
1. Qigong. While browsing the health and wellness section of my local library, I discovered a book called Women’s Qigong for Health and Longevity: A Practical Guide for Women Forty and Older by Deborah Davis. I had heard about Qigong but wasn’t really sure what it was. Turns out, it’s an ancient Chinese practice that combines breathing exercises with a series of physical movements, as well as mediation, that invigorate the life force energies within our bodies. By doing this, we’re empowering our bodies to be able to withstand the common ailments related to aging, including those associated with menopause in women. But Qigong is also supposed to be great for relieving tension, regulating hormones, helping with insomnia, and of course increasing energy. While I haven’t figured out how it will fit into my weekly routine yet, so far I’m enjoying the practice.
2. Yoga. Of course I’ve known about the benefits of yoga for ages, but I haven’t ever made it a regular part of my exercise routine. In the last two weeks, I’ve taken two classes at my YMCA. The first one was a Hatha Yoga alignment based class and it was super easy. I was feeling very confident about my ability after that class, let me tell you. The second one was a Vinyasa flow based class. I barely made it out alive. This is a great example of how important it is to try a variety of classes before deciding on which one to incorporate into your lifestyle. While the Vinyasa class was incredibly challenging, it was also very empowering, so I’m planning to continue taking that class weekly, unless I find something I like better. I think it will offer a nice counterpoint to my Monday NIA cardio-dance class.
3. Essential Oils. Over the holidays I stopped into a shop here in Berkeley called Lhasa Karnak where I picked up some lavender essential oil to add to the soap I was making. I was intrigued by their long list of essential oils. A few weeks later I met natural health and wellness guru Rainbeau Mars while on vacation in Hawaii. The highly energetic healthy living expert incorporates essential oils into a variety of aspects of her own life (and I noticed she smelled really good), so I was delighted when she called me for a personal consultation. She offered tips on essential oils like peppermint to help me stay focused when I’m writing, frankincense for its calming and grounding properties, and lemon for invigoration. it’s exciting to think about how these precious oils are each so unique and how they can nurture and nourish both our bodies and our souls. I’ve been using the remnants of my lavender to help me fall asleep at night, and I’m looking forward to trying out a few others.
Are you guys jumping on board the wellness train too? I’d love to hear about how you’re incorporating self-care and wellness into your own lives, and I look forward to giving you the update on how it’s all working out for me in the weeks and months to come.