all things in this edition of “Things that will help” are geared towards transitioning into Fall!
Elderberry Syrup ~ Last year our family started taking elderberry syrup preventatively in the fall and winter months. I think it really keeps away the cold weather sickness! Matt and I take 2 tsp and Otis takes one every morning. It is pretty expensive to buy it when you use it every day, so this year I am researching how to make my own. Stay tuned!
Weekly Check in ~ Lately, we have adopted a weekly check in on Sunday nights. After Otis is in bed, we sit down together with a cup of tea to discuss the week that just happened and the week coming up. It usually leads to powerful conversations that strengthen our partnership, helps us each self reflect on how we felt about our personal goals, and it gives voice to anything that needs to be said. It has become a mainstay. These are our questions: How did your week feel, and was there anything that is left unfinished or that you want to discuss? Did you feel supported? How and how not? In the upcoming week, can you anticipate how you might need my support? Then- we share anything that feels like bright spots of the week, having to do with one another- or not.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara ~ A long novel and a little dark. But just breathtaking so far…and a perfect one to start as the cooler weather begins to roll in. I am not close to the end, but feel confident enough to recommend. It is exquisite. * EDIT * trigger warning* in the original post I recommended the book “A Little Life”. I wasn’t very far into reading it, and loved the language and the story. Last night I got to a part in the story that is incredibly dark and potentially triggering in terms of the physical and sexual abuse of a child. While the book seems to be beautifully written so far- I would say it belongs with a strong disclaimer and warning tag. As of now- I plan to keep reading, but I’m suggesting here that you pick this book up with discernment and eyes open to the trauma inside.
Foam Rolling ~ Get a foam roller to roll out your low back, hips, thighs, and calves. I have been doing this nightly, and what a difference it makes! My body feels less bound up, I ache so much less, it seems to iron out the skin and make it smoother, and it flushes out what needs to be unwound. If this is not already part of your routine, I highly suggest it!
Legs up the wall ~ Put your legs up the wall for at least 5 minutes a day. It is such a healing and grounding pose, and settles you down almost instantly. This time of year when the wind picks up, the anxiety is high and the air is super dry, it is like a salve for the nervous system. Don’t miss this little sweetness in your day. Easy.
Pranayama ~ Most public yoga classes/teachers do not take the time to include breath work. If they do, it’s usually bookended at the front and back of the class and not taught in depth. If you don’t have the chance to study the breath in depth with a qualified teacher, start to explore some techniques on your own. There are plenty of resources out there to learn, and you could pick a different technique each week to discover. This week, try Nadi Shodana. (alternate nostril breath). It’s an incredibly balancing breath, reduces stress and anxiety, and calms as well as rejuvenates the whole system. Practice every day this week, and notice the difference at the end of 7 days. Wow!
Favorite fall soup ~ This soup, which is a combination of some of my favorite recipes blended together over the years and then making it my own, is a fall and winter staple in this house! It’s warming, cozy, nutritious and mouth watering good. Check it out! It’s very freezable too. https://www.buffybarfoot.com/wellness/2019/9/29/favorite-fallwinter-soup
Mantra ~ Lately, I have really been feeling the effects of the changing season, and how it can knock me off balance- not just in body but also in spirit. I have gone back to a very simple mantra this week: “I am peaceful” It is working and after a week or so of repetitive use, I do feel much more peaceful and at home with myself. If that one doesn’t feel relevant to you, choose a different one. But it’s nice to have some simple language to hang your hat on and replace some of the mind gunk that plays in our brains so often.
***Things That Will Help backstory:
More than a decade ago, my big brother, Benjamin, died from a drug overdose after struggling for years to survive the stranglehold of addiction. My mom and I found a small, spiral notebook next to Benjamin’s bed with the handwritten title Things That Will Help. Inspired by his, I have been writing my own list all these years. I decided recently to begin publishing them.
This practice has always been an homage to him—something that has gotten me through the hardest things in my life and has now blossomed into life medicine that I hope to keep sharing.