When challenged, we bend, but don't break. Looking back, 2020 has stretched us all in so many ways. When faced with stressors we can build resilience by getting creative and learning to be more like a tall oak tree swaying in the wind.
The basic tenant of resilience is simple; we are ultimately a series of habits aka rituals. This is simple, but not always easy, so remember to be gentle with yourself as you build new habits.
Here are tips to help your entire body build resilience on all levels–physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Exercise a minimum of 20-30 minutes at least three times per week will help build healthy habits and decrease stress.
- Feed important social connections - loneliness is the number one predictor of negative health outcomes. Find creative ways to connect with your community during social distancing. A few examples include creating text groups with friends or family, schedule regular calls with loved ones, take part in a virtual book club or recipe exchange.
- Get adequate sleep. Ideally, go to bed soon after dark as prolonged exposure to light decreases melatonin production which reduces sleepiness and has a negative impact on important mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. For additional sleep support integrate nutrition advice and herbal remedies–we love @farmacopia’s sleep formula.
Small choices add up! The basics elements of a resilient diet include:
- Hydrate! Extremely important - drink ½ your weight in oz of water or herbal tea daily.
- Stabilize blood sugar with healthy fats & quality protein to prevent the irritability that often occurs when blood sugar crashes. Note: Include protein at dinner to support melatonin and serotonin production, both of which support sleep and mood.
- Nutrient dense foods help reduce cravings. i.e. use broth in recipes instead of water.
- Diversity - healthy meals are colorful and aligned with the seasons.
- Fresh/vital, local & organic is ideal -- it builds resiliency for both us & the environment.
- Intuitive & mindful eating to determine the best diet for you.
Specifically, adaptogens and nervines. Note: it is very important to choose high quality herbal products as the spectrum of quality on the market is huge!
Adaptogens: safe, gentle long-term tonics that support the body’s ability to handle stress through normalizing physiology, enhancing vitality & building reserves/resilience.
- Reishi mushroom: a classic and revered tonic once reserved for royalty to extend life and improve health. Modern research has found it to contain more than 400 active constituents that lend to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Reishi Roast elixir includes additional powerhouse herbs, creating a formula that balances energy, nourishes the nervous system and supports adrenals, immune system and detoxification.
- Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera): calming, nourishing tonic that supports sleep, calms nervous tension and is specific for individuals with deficient blood patterns. Daily Dose: 3-6 grams powdered dried root/day with milk or food; Tincture 2-8 mL per day.
- Jujube seed (Zizyphus jujuba var spinosa): calms the mind, heart and nerves, nourishes the liver, calms irritability and elevates mood. Daily Dose: 6-15g decoction, 3-5g as powder or pills; ½ tsp tincture 3 x day.
Nervines: excellent teas that support, calm and tonify the nervous system.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita): Mild relaxant for nervous excitation with muscular tension and digestive upset. Dose: 2 tsp per cup of tea / 5 grams daily.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): anxious depression with sense of loss. Dose: very safe, consume to taste.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Quick acting, gentle. Both grounding and uplifting, perfect for sad individuals with mild anxiety/depression. Dose:
Scent has a uniquely powerful effect on the brain. Introducing a scent + a certain mental state encourages reproduction of that state whenever smelled AND balances & tonifies the vagus nerve = less reactivity and increased ability to self soothe.
Being present to one's own mind allows us to be aware & actively shift state of being.
Our brains have a negativity bias. This process is about taking positive experiences & turning them into traits/hardwiring experiences.
- Identify: clarity about what you want to grow. Patience, confidence, happiness, etc.
- Experience: Seek experiences & notice ones you already have.
- Internalize: When having experience, take it in & help it land. STATES → TRAITS:
- Pause & stay with it for a few breaths (duration)
- Feel it in the body (embodiment)
- Be aware of what feels good (reward)
The above are tips that the majority of individuals find deeply supportive to increase their health and resilience.