Nourishing Life (養生) in Isolation
As a community, we're being asked to physically distance and at the same time cultivate social solidarity. The center where I rent an office asked all the practitioners to answer the following questions and since a number of others have asked similar questions, I thought I'd post my responses here.
What do you do to boost your immunity?
· Eat a whole-food, plant-based, Spleen Qi nourishing, seasonal diet; restrict foods that engender dampness and phlegm (dairy, alcohol, sugar especially). Add Spleen Qi supportive and damp resolving foods to the diet: mushrooms especially.
· Utilize local produce and local honey
· Intermittent fasting (3PM-6AM); I often recommend that people who have not done this before practice from 6PM-6AM. The Spleen Qi is strongest in the early morning hours, and following this, my largest meal of the day is breakfast, lunch is my second largest and dinner is minimal. This is done without skipping calories or nutritional requirements.
· Supplement Vitamin D
· Drink herbal teas
· Manage stress levels
How do you avoid feeling overwhelmed/despondent?
· Quality, customized self-care for prevention, and self-directed kindness and compassion, when I do feel overwhelmed.
· Ask for help.
· Take stock of the things I have to share with Beings (human and otherwise) in my life, and allow myself to do my part in caring for others.
· Pick a few reliable resources, stay informed, and take action if need be without over-consuming news.
· Watch a comedy.
· If you can, let yourself walk away from what is causing you to feel this way. Allow yourself to regroup before you reengage.
· Shower and get dressed as you would on any other day.
· Cultivate gratitude and open yourself to receiving support if need be.
Any simple acupressure techniques (breathing or qi gong, etc) people can do themselves?
· 4-7-8 breathing technique
· Contact your acupuncturist to discuss which acupressure points might be of benefit to you to do at home. Acupressure needs to be customized to your specific presentation.
· However, if you would like to do acupressure on your own to help cope with stress, without consulting your acupuncturist, I would advise you to close your eyes and ask yourself where in your body you feel stress? If you feel comfortable, palpate this area of your body. Are there any tender points? If you press on these tender points, what do you feel? Do you feel better? -- As an acupuncturist, I understand the significance of the area holding stress, which tender points are active and the specific reaction to doing acupressure on these points. So, if you'd like a deeper understanding, please contact your acupuncturist.
Go-to recipes you love?
· Oatmeal, fresh apples, goji berries, walnuts, cinnamon
· 50% Steamed varied, organic, non-GMO vegetables, olive oil, salt, pepper, black sesame seeds, 25% rice or other grain, 25% adzuki (or other) beans
High vibe things you do while you're sheltered in?
· Read Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart; all of her books are wonderful.
· Tara Brach podcast.
· Listen to Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche's lecture on "Practicing in Times of Adversity"; audio, video and readings are available online through MindrolOselLing.org
· What things do you love? What things naturally bring you joy? Do you usually miss out on these activities because “you’re too busy”? Take this time to reconnect with those activities, if you can.
· Is there anyone in your life who you “haven’t had the time” to connect with? You have time now. Strengthen bonds with people/animals/plants you love and care for.
Take good care.