Rachel Barbaro

We are in the busy weeks leading to the holidays and I was looking at the calendar earlier this week and felt that holiday anxiety set in. So much to do, so many commitments. And then yesterday I found myself eating a  protein bar in the car for lunch. Sad for me, because food makes me so happy usually!

I thought to myself, time to amp up my self care and food prep…I want to enjoy this season and not feel run over by it. I don’t know about you but eating well and taking care of myself seem to be the two foundations to stay calm and present. To be able to enjoy the sparkle in my boys’ eyes when I turn on the Christmas tree every morning or reading a book cuddled under a blanket. It’s the really simple mundane everyday moments that I love the most, not the high pressure ones. Here are a few rituals I’ve found so useful year round, but especially this season. 

Meditate 

I love to find some stillness between my thoughts before I start my day. I practice every morning and have for years. 

Here’s what I do: as soon as I wake up (before caffeine) I take a few minutes usually between five and ten to sit in stillness in my bedroom. (Yes I drink some water and visit the bathroom first..very very quietly to not wake the kids!) I don’t use a fancy meditation cushion or an app. This is old school zen meditation.  I sit cross legged on my bed and shut the door. If the kids are asleep or awake I still practice. And Neil protects those few minutes of the day for me because he knows how important it is. It just resets my mind to a place of stillness before the stream of thoughts and busy starts. Jon Kabat Zinn has a few amazing talks that you can watch on youtube. This post from Mindful.org helped me so much when I started my practice.

Self care/self love

Caring for yourself, honouring yourself is whatever fills up your cup. It is not usually going to spa for me or getting my nails done…after having two kids that isn’t realistic. I need actions that can be done simply and usually at home.

Here are my faves: chai or peppermint tea and watching a foreign movie or doc on Netflix (leave the chores for another day),  doing a mini facial and using a scrub/mask and my best face creams before bed slowly and mindfully, or making it to a yoga or bootcamp class to sweat out the old energy and breath in new. The point is to honour your body. 

Pure fun

Leave all screens in another part of the house and pile onto the couch or bed under a blanket with a magazine solo or with my kids and a dozen of their silliest books.

Walk outside in the trails and parks near my house with or without the little ones, noticing the change of the seasons.

Take myself for lunch or a coffee solo, my friend Tamara reminded me this is called an artist’s date and I love that.

Turn on music (like some 90’s rock or pop) and cook or bake usually super seedy banana bread or a soup that will be used for a few meals.

Onto the recipe below.

raspberry honey chia pudding

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whole black chia seeds

2 tablespoons plain full fat yogurt

3/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you like)

shake of cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

tiny pinch sea salt

topping ideas: fresh raspberries/any berries, raisins, granola, coconut flakes

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, stir well and cover and set in fridge overnight. When ready to eat give it a stir, and top with raspberries and whatever else you have on hand. If it’s too thick for your liking add a few drops of milk and stir.

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