Friday, September 16, 2016

FARMACY: THE BLUES


F A R M A C Y  |   T H E   B L U E S 
a guide on how to beat the blues + reignite your energy . . . 



b a t h s |  My mood has been on a teeter-totter recently, suffering from tennis elbow; I'd be beaming a moment then furrowing my eyebrows from pain in another. Taking a bath has made a grand shift in not only my physical wellbeing but my mood levels. 

A bath should be a prescription for all bodies—not only those suffering from injuries like tennis elbow. All of us carry physical tension in our bodies—whether we are aware of it or not due to subtlety—and muscular suppleness plays a direct impact on our mood. When muscles are tense, circulation and consequently oxygen absorption is restricted. This can lead to foggy brain, anxiety, and headaches, i.e. low moods. 

You can tailor your bath to whatever benefit(s) you'd like from it, whether it's easing aches or re-energising the body. Since the former was my intention, I take a bath regularly with a cup of epsom salt; 1/4 cup of Dr. Singha's Mustard Bath; 1 cup of baking soda or apple cider vinegar for muscle soothing and skin softening; 7 drops each of lavender essential oil for relaxation and cinnamon for circulation; and 4 drops of Texas cedarwood essential oil for vitality and strengthening. I also add in crystals, such as quartz. Make sure that the crystal(s) that you use tolerate being exposed to hot water and oils. 

I have also been enjoying the incredible new Japanese bathing ritual company Amayori's shower mochi as a fragrant meditation when I need a more energising wash.

Make sure to properly hydrate inside and out post-bath by drinking plenty of water and moisturising your skin. My forever favourite body oil will always be Jiva Apoha—its scent is intoxicating and, like a chameleon, assists me in achieving whatever energy balancing I need, whether it's to ground or elevate my vibrations. I cannot commend the maker Angela enough for these honestly transformative oils. Amayori also makes a body oil I love using in the morning to gently awaken me which you can find here.

I recommend looking at the always enlightening Melissa Parke's post on Herbal Medicine Bath for extra inspiration.

r o u t i n e |  I'm a creature of habit, but I've come to realise that parts of my routine cause rigidity. When we create a routine, we often create a static set of actions and thought patterns to situate a safe anchor on which we can depend in our fluctuating lives. Shaking this routine up and making it dynamic to mirror that of the flow our lives will then open space for a stronger ground for emotional stability when s*** sometimes hits the fan.

a b h y a n g a |  This is a fixed recommendation for almost all physical and emotional imbalance on Thirlby. I notice a big difference in both my overall health  and that of my emotional body when I perform this ritual. Gently rubbing warmed oil is an ancient and deeply healing practise in Ayurvedic medicine. It is touted to combat dry skin, regulate the sleep cycle, increase circulation, + promote lymph drainage and circulation. When our physical body is at ease, it allows for energetic movement and space for our emotional bodies to consequently be at ease, too. To perform an abhyanga, simply pick the oil that is appropriate for your constitution or  doshasesame for vata,  sunflower for pitta, and  coconut oil for kapha—gently warm it up, and massage it in upward strokes.  Here is a wonderful instructional video from the Ayurvedic leader Banyan Botanicals.

t o u c h i n g   o u r s e l v e s |  If you cannot make the time for an abhyanga, make sure to at least have contact and connexion with your own body. Massage lotion all over your body but do so with care and intention, like you would if you were moisturising a newborn baby. In a world where we judge our bodily shapes, sizes, and being so critically, let's take the time to be kind to it . . .

s u p p l e m e n t s |  Above all, a proper and adequately nourishing, whole foods diet is key for mood regulation. That stated, high quality supplements are a great way to supplement such a diet. Those who experience mood swings, low mood, or anxiety can benefit by checking with their physician about testing their vitamin levels. Usually, most of us are low in Vitamin D, which plays a critical role in hormone regulation and thus our mood. I recommend taking a liquid Vitamind D3. For anxiety, insomnia, or sleep troubles, GABA powder is also helpful. For energy and to increase antioxidant levels (stress causes oxidation), liposomal Vitamin C on an empty stomach is helpful. 

 In terms of plant medicine, cordyceps greatly shifts my overall mood for the better and also provides increased immunity, which can be low when we're stressed. I love using 1/2 teaspoon of Sun Potion's cordyceps mixed in almond milk with their 1/2 teaspoon of their rhodiola, which is the most potent anti-stress plant intelligence I've used.Another favourite on-the-go version is Four Sigmatic's packet in water. I sweeten it generously with either Omica's stevia—the only non-bitter stevia on the market—or, my current obsession, Lakanto Golden, which tastes just like brown sugar! Made from monk fruit, it's low glycemic and the additional erythritol provides prebiotic fiber, which is necessary for the uptake of any probiotics we consume.

e x e r c i s e  |  Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, but only so when we enjoy the form of exercise we're doing. Make sure that the exercise you choose to do in any form—from running to walking—is enjoyable. Exercising affects levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When pleasurable, which does not have to mean slow unless that's what you'd like, cortisol is balanced. If you don't enjoy your form of exercise, you'll only be causing your body increased stress and, consequently, elevate your level of cortisol. 

Hormones have a significant impact in the health of our mood. Try incorporating meditation as  well to maintain a homeostatic balance of cortisol. I see the most benefit out of kundalini meditations or my recent favourite, Art of Attention by the ever-radiant Elena Brower.

b r e a t h |  One of the easiest yet forgotten ways to elevate our mood and beat the blues is through the regulation of our breath. Most of us suffer from shallow, short breaths that originate in our chest rather than long, deep breaths that take seat in our diaphragm. Read Poppy & Seed's Three Easy Inhales to Improve Overall Health for some easy-to-include tips. 

n u t r i t i o n |  I cannot stress enough the nourishment that healthy fats provide for the whole body, beyond just mood regulation. It frustrates me deeply that most people are not only fat-phobic but consume unhealthy fats when they don't restrict their intake. This not only deprives the body from functioning at its prime—our brain is composed of 70 percent fat—but the unhealthy fats strip the body further of the steam its running on. It creates toxins in the body + puts it on reparative overdrive. Skin consequently gets dry or oily [to compensate], which even applying pumpfuls of oils will not cure. We must feed the skin internally with nourishing fats. 

Supplementing with + regularly consuming healthy fats such as 
raw organic coconut oilhigh-quality olive oilgrass-fed ghee or butter, + wild-caught seafood [oysters, which are packed with zinc, are a great option] is essential. Snacking on raw, sprouted nuts + seeds if tolerated also feeds hair, skin, + nails: think chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, + macadamia nuts. Sprouted pumpkin seed milk is an easily-assimilated mylk to support hair growth as it is an abundant source of zinc, sulfur, + vitamin A. It is deeply mineralising. I also always keep coconut products at hand, such as packets of raw + organic coconut butter/coconut oil or snacks with shredded coconut, for a quick source of high-quality fats. The saturated fats in coconut also support healthy hormone levels which in return support healthy strands. These foods high in healthy fats stabilise blood sugar levels, so we don't get hAngry . . .

Look at my post on what oils to use and when for additional tips on fats.

y e s   /  n o  |  For the tender-hearted and soul-searcher, here are some inquisitive articles on uncovering patterned behaviours in the subconscious that may be leading you into a rabbit hole of negative emotions or physical energetic depletion: