Without a doubt the events of 2020 have shown changes many of us have not ever seen before.  The Pandemic has revealed moments of pain, loss and tragedy’s.  Not only from the aspect of our current health care crisis but also from the racial injustices we have seen. Yet for many of us we have discovered new parts of ourselves that the silence, solitude and peace has brought to us. The challenges and unknowns have made us stronger. We have grown closer to families, friends and communities. Our pets even love the fact that we are home more. For some being home more is a blessing whether it be working from home, finishing projects or cleaning house.  For many parents it has been a juggling act of trying to help children learn virtually while still working or maintaining a household. 

Mother earth has had a break from the endless driving, flying and overall toxic burden us humans place on the planet. 

The elderly in assisted living and Nursing homes have particularly been impacted by fear and loneliness and this touches my heart as my Mother was in a memory care facility and passed away early March prior to the pandemic.  I can still see the many faces of those residents and wonder how they are doing. 

I have heard some amazing heart warming stories from many of my families of how the pandemic has created opportunities for togetherness. Stories of making meals together, taking bike rides in the middle of the day, creating more projects together are just a few examples.  Stories of getting back to simpler things is becoming more important. Changing work schedules to prioritize family.  Cleaning house and letting go of items no longer needed and how they can benefit others.  

The changes of this year have helped myself personally create better self care so that I can be a better person and provider.  Honestly without our health we really have nothing.  So I wanted to share with all of you some of my best Health/ Self care tips.  

1. I happen to be a coffee drinker and when I drink my coffee in the morning I infuse it with Reishi Mushroom.  This is a great immune system support.  There are several brands out there one I personally use is Organo. www.organogold.com
2  Changes to my morning routine. Since I am no longer attending the YMCA I started to develop a morning routine including 30-45 minutes of exercise which is either YOGA, walking, stretching and/or a form of high intensity.  
3. The second part of my morning routine is to have 10-20 minutes of meditation or spiritual time.  I have used Head Space and the app Calm. Both of these are great resources for meditations.  
4. In the morning I begin by splashing my face with cold water.  This stimulates our vagus nerve. When we do this it slows down our breathing and our heart rate to get us into more of a parasympathetic state, which is our rest and digest phase. 
5. Write in my gratitude journal daily for 3-5 minutes.  I love occasionally going back and reflecting on this.  It has given me many insights. 
6 Every day I practice balancing on one foot for 15-20 seconds.  I have started to add a challenge to this that I recently read from Dr. Tom O-Bryan’s book “You can fix your brain” Once you are balancing on one foot close your eyes and try to do for an extra 15 seconds. You will likely sway a little but if unable to balance at all it is a sign to strengthen our cerebellum so keep practicing!
7 Practice breath work daily.  The power of breathing is helping us to relax and return to a parasympathetic state. The key is to breath properly by breathing in through your nose.  Inhalations should be shorter than exhalations.  I recently read a book by James Nestor called “Breath” I highly recommend it and learned items in research I was not aware of. This is one of the best self care practices I developed this year. You can do anytime of day even when you are stopped in traffic. 
8. Read a book.  Since the start of the pandemic I have read several books.  Reading gives us knowledge and knowledge is power. 
9. Place your WiFI on a timer so it goes off at a certain time at night and comes on for you in the morning. This I have been doing most of the year but has helped a great deal with sleep. 
10. Practice periods of intermittent fasting.  Allowing 3 hours prior to bedtime after dinner without food can improve sleep and helps our brains rest and re-charge for the following day.
11.Grounding daily.  I realize that putting our feet in the grass is getting a little cold right now but there are other ways to decrease EMF exposure and to incorporate a grounding practice.  Sitting on a grounding pad while working on a computer or putting on blue blocking glasses. I purchased a pair of glasses off Amazon, Dulco brand for $20.00.
12. Supplements that I take on a daily basis include Vitamin D with K2 and a good Omega 3 supplement.  The vitamin D is especially important during the winter months as it is difficult to get the amounts we need with less sun exposure.  
13. Grow your own sprouts. Broccoli sprouts happen to one of my favorites. They are anti-inflammatory food and can help protect against certain cancers. Follow these steps 
a. Add 2 Tablespoons of broccoli sprouting seeds to a wide-mouth jar that has a lid with small holes. You can purchase a sprouting seed jar.  Cover with a few inches of water and let soak overnight.
b. Drain off the liquid in the morning and rinse with fresh water, make sure to drain all the water off.  I place the jar upside down at an angle in a bowl. Repeat this twice a day 
c. You should keep the jar on a counter where it gets some natural light. After a few days the sprouts will start to break open and grow.  The process takes about a week. 
d. Take the sprouts out of the jar and store in container in refrigerator.  They will keep for several days. 
13. Less is more. Learning to say no to certain items means saying yes to other things. If you set aside time to meditate, breath or if taking your walk in the morning is important, be sure you continue to do those things daily. When we regularly practice self care our health improves and we can better care for our family. 

Ten Simple Sustainable Steps for a Balanced Brain

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