It's been a while since my last blog post, several months to be exact. Thankfully, after a couple month pause in acupuncture services at the hospital due to the pandemic, we were able to be begin again this past June. Since then, it has seemed like summer was moving on fast forward. Full speed ahead and now here we are in mid-September. Is it really almost Fall? Anyways, pumpkins or not, here we are.
This post seemed appropriate as I welcomed my self back to writing. We continue to be somewhere in the middle of a pandemic and most recently have just seen one of the worst beginnings to fire season here on the West Coast. No better time than the present to ramp up your self-care routine. This summer has highlighted the importance of cultivating strength, resilience, and acceptance, both to me, but also my kids. We have been thankful for sunshine, daily walks, and our moments together as a family. The garden has kept us grounded and the ducks have kept us entertained. We are grateful. That being said, some days are just hard. I have come to accept that some days it is ok to not be ok, and that too is ok! This is where you pull out your self-care toolbox and dig in.
What does it mean to you? It's so important, yet so easy to forget. As a health care provider and practitioner of the healing arts, it is my job to "take care" of others and I love it. Thankfully, this is my nature and I truly enjoy what I do. At the end of the day, week, or sometimes month, it is important to find ways to recharge and replenish. For me, this comes in different forms. It might be a plant-based dinner full of bright colors and packed with phytonutrients. It might be an early night to bed and a full night's rest. Other times, it might be a half hour after the kids are asleep to do yoga or do an online workout. Sometimes, it's as simple as a few minute walk in the backyard reflecting on the day and calling to mind the things I am grateful for. What is it for you?
This year for my birthday, I asked for a couple of things to support my goals of self-care...a plant and a light. This might not sound like self-care, but bare with me...here's why. For the purpose of this post, I even added one of my favorite essential oils.
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata or laurentii)
Houseplants are a great way to improve indoor air quality. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen as a byproduct. As if that process in and of itself isn't cool enough, some plants even absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals from the air. Typically, plants with more leaf surface area are better at air purification so think bigger leaves. Check out this famous study from NASA in 1989 which studied indoor plants and their ability to clean the air. Snake plant made the list! While it's ability to do this in the grand scheme of things is perhaps small, it's ability to absorb cancer-causing pollutants, like CO2, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, is particularly appealing and greatly appreciated.
Himalayan salt lamp
Himalayan rock salt comes from salt that was formed millions of years ago when a sea evaporated at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. It is thought to be the purest form of rock salt, free from contaminants, high in minerals and trace elements. Himalayan salt is great for eating and cooking, but the proposed benefits of salt lamps work a little bit differently. Salt lamps are thought to have certain health benefits mainly due to their proposed ability to emit negative ions. How this works is the salt absorbs water and positive ions from the air, heats the water, and releases the water vapor and negative ions back into the air. The idea is that the positively charged impurities like dust, allergens, and pollutants are pulled from the air while negative ions are emitted improving the air quality. Negative ions are thought to relieve stress, improve energy, and benefit the mood by improving depression and anxiety. That being said, much of the benefits from salt lamps have been argued and are unproven by research. Furthermore, research on their ability to emit negative ions in a high enough amount to be beneficial is scarce. For me, I like them. I like the soft warm glow that they create adding to a calm space at bedtime, during meditation, or maybe just supporting a quiet moment to pause in my day. For me, that it the benefit and if there are any benefits beyond that, well, I will gratefully accept those too!
The one I chose for this post is "Peace and Calming" from a company called Young Living. This essential oil blend is a combination of ylang ylang, orange, tangerine, patchouli, and blue tansy. In traditional Chinese medicine, the peels of citrus fruits are frequently used to move qi, particularly the qi of the Liver. To keep it brief, Liver Qi Stagnation often occurs as a result of stress. One way to treat this is to move qi. Citrus oils are often used for their energizing and mood-enhancing effects. The other essential oils are used to uplift the mood, support grounding, and aid in stress relief. There are cautions and contraindications with the use of essential oils so be sure you are aware of these if you choose to use them. Diffused as a combination, this blend offers a great excuse to stop and take a deep breath in the middle of your day.
So, in closing, I encourage you to remember your self-care too. Whether that be a meal, a walk, or something else that fills your tank, go get it! For me, I'm just gonna sit here for a moment next to my plant, in the glow of the salt lamp, breathing in calm. Take care.
The information contained on this website is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment.