And it’s going to sound too easy, but trust me: you aren’t doing enough of it, and you’re getting in your own way when you try.
This week, be kind to yourself.
Seriously, go out of your way for yourself. Be excessively, outrageously, unbelievably nice to yourself. Forgive yourself unconditionally. Be your own best friend and advocate. Put yourself at the center of your universe. Attempt to enumerate the innumerable things about you that are beautiful and valuable. Do nice things for yourself; eat well, buy little presents for yourself, do exactly what makes you happy as often as you can. Practice that for a full week, and then keep practicing it.
It might sound silly, but I have no doubt that it is only when we love ourselves and are kind to ourselves that we are able to easily give love and kindness to others. Love and kindness are just resources, like any other resource, like water or air or food, that we have to have enough of before we are able to share them.
Let yourself have all the love and kindness you need, and be watchful of the moments you are being unkind or punitive to yourself. Don’t worry about how other people perceive it–when you are good to yourself, you will automatically be good to others.
Good luck. Let me know how it goes!
This is my go-to incredibly quick and easy meal. It contains a bit of good protein (via the peanut butter), mung beans (which have a beneficial cooling and clearing effect in traditional Chinese nutritional therapy) in noodle form, and if you tend to keep the few necessary ingredients on hand all the time as I do, it’s faster than the fastest fast food. For those with dietary restrictions, it’s also vegan and gluten-free.
Easy-peasy: Put two cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, use a fork to scoop about a tablespoon of peanut butter into a bowl. Pour about a tablespoon of soy sauce and a liberal splash of sesame oil over the peanut butter. Squirt some chili-garlic sauce (e.g. Sriracha) into the bowl. By now the water is probably boiling; throw in a bunch of mung bean threads. They will be cooked in about two minutes, or as soon as they are completely translucent and soft instead of stiff. While they’re cooking, take the pot of the burner for a second to splash about a teaspoonful of the boiling water into the bowl with the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili-garlic sauce. Mash the mixture in the boil together with the fork till it forms a smooth paste. Strain the cooked mung bean threads and toss them in the bowl with the peanut butter mixture. You’re done! Enjoy.
*For a nutritional boost, add some spinach or chard to the mung bean threads in the last 30 seconds or so of cooking.
I’d love to share with you this beautiful testimonial to the efficacy of acupuncture in treating bipolar disorder, written by Kristin Hersh, lead singer of the band Throwing Muses.
Finding yourself kept awake at night by a mind that resists being restful? Self-acupressure can be an effective way to quiet your mind and allow both mind and body to get some much-needed sleep.
For maximum benefit while pressing these points, you should simultaneously do a breathing exercise. I’d suggest 4-7-8 breathing–inhaling for a count of 4, holding your breath for a count of 7, and exhaling for a count of 8. If this feels difficult, try speeding up the count. The speed isn’t important; keeping the ratio of 4:7:8 is. If it’s still difficult, switch to just inhaling for 4 and exhaling for 8, skipping holding your breath.
Hold each of these three points on each side of the body, in the order written here, for one to two minutes while doing the 4-7-8 breathing exercise.
1) Nei Guan: Make a fist and locate the two parallel tendons that pop up on the underside (palm side) of your wrist.
3) Yong Quan: On the very bottom of your foot, this point is at the deepest point of the “cup” your foot makes when you point your toes.
If you’re anything like me, the “monkey mind” sometimes threatens to get in the way of a night of solid, restorative sleep. The solution is (literally!) in your hands: spending five to ten minutes before bed holding these points while doing your 4-7-8 breathing can make an enormous difference in how rested you feel in the morning.
Here’s a good home remedy for a really sore throat and cough: boil the juice of two limes, the zest from those limes, a big handful of mint leaves and brown sugar with a cup and a half of water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, strain and drink. This remedy is delicious, and surprisingly soothing besides!
And consider scheduling a session with an acupuncturist, who can definitely shorten the duration of that bug and help you get better more quickly.