There are plenty of things I like to gift myself: Chocolate. Foot massages at that Thai place. Pumpkin spice lattes (soy, of course). Kitchen gadgets. Fuzzy socks. Anything with avocado.

There are few things that I actually need though. In fact, I would call these things treats rather than gifts. A gift is something far grander. A gift doesn’t need to be tangible, but it most definitely should be substantial. 

The important thing to ask yourself here is,
“What do I long for most? – that I have the power to gift myself?”

So what can you gift yourself with?

  1. Grace. Be kind to yourself. When you put your foot in your mouth at a meeting, when you screw up a family member’s big day, when you’re late – again, when you look in the mirror, when you can’t squeeze into those old jeans, when you can’t finish a workout, when you know you should’ve, but didn’t; be kind. Turn off that barrage of hateful commentary in your head, and extend yourself some mercy. You’ll be surprised how light you feel. 
  2. Confidence. Take pride in whatever you’ve accomplished in your short time here on earth and don’t let the small things go unnoticed. It is so difficult for many to simply get up every morning and persevere through each moment of their day. Your struggles are your badges of honor, don’t short change them! There is always much more on the horizon to reach, accomplish, or conquer, but that’s tomorrow’s battle. Get ready for that battle by building your confidence from your past ones and how you’ve learned and grown from experiencing them.
  3. Honesty. Oftentimes, we let our emotions cloud our reality. Whether it’s regarding our health, our wealth, or our emotional well-being, we often lie to ourselves saying we’re OK, or we’re fine, or we’re trying our best, when we aren’t. Not really. Honesty is the foundation for integrity, proactivity, and success. Our truthfulness about who we are, what we do, and how we function is important because it allows us to see our reality and not build false pretenses that will ultimately hurt us in the long run. 
  4. Gratitude. Thank yourself. No, really! Sometimes it’s hard to be a present parent when work is at its busiest time of year, or to listen to a friend’s problems when you yourself have had a long, exhausting day. Much like you would thank others for their time, their energy, their knowledge, thank yourself too! The other side of the coin is to show gratitude to God, the Universe, Fate, or the Powers that Be. Whatever it is that you believe in, showing gratitude to someThing or someOne “above” for your lot in life is one of the most powerful things you can do because it is the most humbling. So give thanks, and give it often! 
  5. Letting go. Often times we hold on to slights against us or slights we’ve made against others. Whether it’s guilt or anger, pride or despair, letting go can be a difficult thing to do. But these emotions bind us, and we can only be free once we let them go. So let go of that hurt, that pain, and gift yourself with a sigh of relief. 
  6. Forgiveness. Maybe you’ve started noticing a trend here 🙂 Forgiveness is a part of letting go, and it’s so coveted because it is something so rarely given. We’re not built to be quick about forgiving or forgetting anything. The smallest of slights stick in our mind forever, but we’ve got to train ourselves to face those tough situations, people, or emotions, and come to terms with them. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings, your weaknesses, your mistakes. Forgive, and in time, forget. 
  7. Love. There’s a difference between learning to stop being your own enemy and loving yourself. Loving yourself requires active participation, it is not a passive act. Loving yourself is very similar to loving others. You take notice, and you begin to find things you like: physical things like the way you smile or crinkle your nose when you laugh, emotional things like how you show restraint when someone verbally attacks you, or mental things like how you persevere through a tricky problem at work to find a solution everyone can agree on. Pretty soon you realize how unique these things make you, and how you light up every time you notice them happen again. This is how our love for others grows, it is also how our love for ourselves grows. Gift yourself with taking the time to fall in love with yourself.  

This holiday season, in all your selflessness, don’t forget about gifting yourself with what you really need: a heart filled with ease and joy. Happy holidays!!

Hi y’all! Happy December! This month I’ll be posting every day until Christmas week with healthy recipes, holiday DIYs, articles for health, and more. That’s 20 posts! 

I’m also doing a GIVEAWAY! That’s right, you can enter to win a mystery gift basket full of my favorite health, nutrition, and beauty items worth over $150! 

I want to show you all how much I appreciate the love and support you’ve had for my journey with SPIRITPLATE. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is like us on Facebook AND like each post we share this month OR follow us on Instagram AND like each post there. This means you can enter up to twice times each day (by liking once on FB and once on IG) and you have until 11:59PM CST on December 20th to like each post. I’ll choose a winner randomly and announce on December 21st. You should receive your gift basket before Christmas!

To that end, I can’t believe that this time last week, we were gearing up for Thanksgiving, and now it’s already December! This entire year has just flown by, and the increasing speed with which life is passing just makes me nervous. Days seems so long when you’re a child, but as you get older the days seem to blur together. 

Healthy Holidays: How to Transition into WinterSomething that helps me mark the time, and slow it down if you will, is to be present with the seasons. I alter my lifestyle and daily rituals as the year transitions from spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, and winter to spring. This supports my mind, body, and spirit in recognizing and being present with the changes happening around me. 

Here’s how I transition into winter:

  1. I sleep with the sun. The natural rhythm of your body calls for a slowing down during the winter – a sort of mild hibernation mode that requires that we get more rest.  Throughout the year, I try to rise and retire with the sun. This means I get up earlier and stay up later in the summer, and sleep in during the winter. Of course, our modern lifestyle means we do need to continue working late hours, but I bridge the gap by winding down after sunset. I turn off the bright lights in our home, set my phone, computer, and TV brightness to low, or turn them off, and I reduce the volume of these devices as well. Shifting to a darker, quieter, environment with less stimuli after sunset helps your body feel like it’s resting – which is exactly what it needs in the colder months!
  2. I eat seasonally. I try to incorporate produce that is in season, and reduce the produce that isn’t. Eating foods seasonally is not only more cost effective, these foods are built to provide you with the exact nourishment you need for the season. For example, bananas, berries, and cucumbers ripen in the heat of summer, and are rich in potassium and vitamins you need to rehydrate – exactly what we need in the hotter months. Squash, starchy vegetables like cauliflower, and citrus like limes and oranges are more abundant in the winter, providing high doses of vitamin C and minerals like iron and magnesium to keep us from getting sick in the colder, wetter months. 
  3. I eat for warmth. I incorporate more warming foods and spices into my diet, such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon. I add soups a few times a week, which gives me my needed vegetable intake but is also super comforting to warm up with. I also try to reduce or remove processed foods like oils, bread, and sugary baked goods from day-to-day meals, reserving them only for special occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas) to prevent those extra holiday pounds, but stick to starchy carbs like rice, potatoes, and beans that provide sustenance and bulk to my meals. 
  4. I hydrate. In the summer, we tend to eat water-rich foods, but in the winter we tend to go for starchier, denser fare. This is our natural; our body thinks it will be cold and starved, and is storing up in preparation. To prevent dry skin and a proneness to the winter colds and flus, keep yourself hydrated. Don’t like water? Add a few lemon or ginger slices. Feel too cold? Drink your water hot. I usually have several cups of hot water a day, often with some kind of spice or flavoring – lemon, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon are my favorites. 
  5. I move. The cooling of our bodies in the wintertime means our joints ache a bit more, and breathing is a bit more laborious. We feel more lethargic, and while yes, we need to wind down, it also means that we should work out intermittently. That when we do exercise, we do so carefully, properly warming up and cooling down our joints to avoid injury. Adding yoga to your regimen is a great way to incorporate a slower, quieter activity that still gets your heart pumping and body sweating. Listen to your body and you’ll know if your muscles and joints need more or less work to remain healthy throughout the season.
  6. I get outside. Being outdoors in the cold air, even for a few moments, really helps your body feel “oh, yes, this is winter,” and reasserts your circadian rhythm. Have your lunch on a bench or at an outdoor cafe. Take a walk to go see holiday lights. Build a fire in your backyard. We are not cold-blooded, we do need the warmth and are right in seeking to stay indoors, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remind ourselves of the cold outside.
  7. I take a Vitamin D supplement. You may be getting outside, but the lack of sunshine-filled days means you still may not be getting enough Vitamin D to support a healthy immune system, control your blood sugar, and help you absorb calcium. Foods high in Vitamin D include salmon, tuna, cow’s whole milk and mushrooms of all kinds. Because I choose not to eat fish or dairy for both animal welfare and my personal health (heavy metals and disease in most fish known to cause cancer and birth defects, and the hormones in and acidity of dairy that interferes with my hormones, skin, bone density, and weight) I go for the mushrooms. Because mushrooms only provide 5% of your daily intake per serving, I also take a Vitamin D supplement. 
  8. I declutter. Like spring cleaning, fall cleaning is just as important. Wash your sheets and clear out your closet. Move summer clothing and linens into storage and bring out the heavier, warmer wares. Donate any excess clothing to a charity. Click here to read my post about setting up a minimalist closet. Rotate your pantry items to bring out lesser used grains and beans. Clean the freezer to make space for make ahead soups and stews. Put away the summer tools and clear out your garage to be able to bring your cars and bikes in from the cold. Having a clean garage also helps to keep away small animals and other critters that will seek your home for warmth. There are plenty of cruelty-free methods on the market now to deter these critters from seeking shelter. 
  9. I decorate. Having changed my linens, my clothing and my meals, the only thing that remains is to change my home or workspace decor to reflect the time of the year. In the summer, I love having greens, blues, and yellows around me to recall the summertime, but in the winter I go for the browns, golds and reds. My room is painted a pale blue gray with white and dark brown accents. To this I add greenery in the summer and beiges in the fall. I bring in the outdoors by using leaves, branches, and pinecones or other nuts and seeds to evoke the season. 
  10. I use aromatherapy. As part of my decor, and shift in eating habits, I also employ the use of seasonal scents to help me feel present in the moment. Remember, scents are inextricably connected to memory, so to feel connected to a certain time and place, using aromatherapy is a masterful way to feel grounded and present. In the fall, I use more sweet and spicy scents like vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin, and apples. In the winter, I love the scents of fresh evergreen or pine, burning wood, and amber. I have a few favorite candles and incense sticks I light nearly everyday when I’m working from home during the day, or winding down at night that help me connect to the moment. 

Hi guys! Happy second day of Fall!

Today is a not so happy day for me as I’m about to go get all four of my wisdom teeth pulled in a couple hours. They are impacted and are affecting the 4 years of hard work I did on my braces as well as causing major sensitivity to hot and cold, so it’s time to get them removed. Here is my holistic post-op self-treatment, including what I plan to eat. 

Firstly, it’s important to drink lots of liquids.

  1. Water, water, water – water is of course, the biggest aid when it comes to healing. I will be drinking water as much as I can.
  2. Turmeric and honey tea – I do a half teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of local raw honey in a regular cup filled with hot water. I’ve been drinking this every night for the past few weeks, to help build up immunity for my fall allergies and the upcoming flu season. I plan to continue drinking this every night, though perhaps not as hot as I will be unable to drink very hot or very cold liquids. Honey and turmeric are both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, and thus great for this healing process. 
  3. White willow bark teaWhite willow is a natural pain killer and the source of aspirin. In addition to the painkillers my dentist will prescribe me, I will be sipping on this just once daily, to help with pain management before resorting to the full-strength drugs, if need be. 

Secondly, it’s important to eat nutrients that will facilitate healing.

  1. Yogurt – I went and got non-GMO, soy yogurt for two reasons: proteins, and probiotics. The mild probiotics will help my stomach fight the symptoms of the antibiotics the doctor will prescribe. I also find that my skin breaks out when I’m on antibiotics, so I hope this yogurt and the turmeric tea will help alleviate that.
  2. Green smoothies – Almond milk, banana, kale, spinach, peanut butter, protein powder. I get in my greens, and again, my triumvirate: protein, iron, vitamin K.
  3. Soup – blended black bean soup, tomato soup, and a blended pumpkin or carrot soup. Just onions, spices, some broth, and the bean or veggie sautéed together until softened and then blended to a uniform soup that’ll be easy to consume. These three are high in both iron and vitamin K which is great because those nutrients help your blood congeal and clot – exactly what I need to happen when my gums are healing.
  4. Blended oatmeal with apple sauce – Carbs and fiber to make me feel full after all the liquids. 
  5. Pumpkin pie – So I don’t miss out on the first few days of fall! Silken tofu, pumpkin, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice blended together and baked for a tender crustless pie. Again, very high in protein (6g per 1″slice), vitamins, and minerals, and filling to boot. 
  6. Mashed sweet potato with cashew cream cheese – instead of the regular mashed potato with butter and sour cream, I like this version with more nutrients from the sweet potato. I get the Treeline cultured cashew cream cheese (how’s that for a tongue-twister?!) in the herb and garlic flavor and it is divine on the potato. This is one of my favorites even when I have all my teeth (ha) so I will continue to eat this on my up-and-up.
  7. Jello and Pudding – let’s be real, these are for funsies. I saw vegan versions with no added sugar at the store and wanted to try them. If I really don’t feel like eating anything, at least these will entice my tastebuds and make me feel like a kid again.

I don’t believe in meal plans, but generally, I figure it’ll go something like this:

  • Breakfast – water, white willow bark tea, green smoothie
  • Snack – water, yogurt 
  • Lunch – oatmeal and applesauce 
  • Snack – pumpkin pie
  • Dinner – soup, mashed sweet potato
  • Dessert – jello, turmeric honey tea

No, actually, more like this:

  • Breakfast – pudding
  • Snack – pudding 
  • Lunch – pudding
  • Snack – jello
  • Dinner – jello
  • Dessert – pudding

Well…I’ll be sure to post an update here! 

Thirdly, because I’ll be all banged up and drugged up, I’ll probably want to stay in bed for the first day and a half. To prevent muscle discomfort, and maintain my spine health, I will use:

  1. Electric pulse massager – this is a little remote control looking thing with wires and pads that adhere to the skin, that sends micro electric pulses through your muscles to relax them. I’ve been using this as part of my spine rehabilitation a couple times a week for the last two months, and will continue to do so this weekend, more regularly, focusing on my hips, lower back, and glutes.
  2. Tiger balmthis stuff is uh-MAZING. I will be rubbing it on my sore hips and back, as well as my forehead and temples, as headaches are likely in the aftermath. The tingling sensation of the tiger balm is also a good distraction from the other sensations I’ll be feeling in my mouth and jaw.
  3. Epsom salt soaks and rinses – I plan to take an epsom salt bath on the second day, to pull out the toxins from my tired muscles, and to help me fall asleep. I will also be gently swishing my mouth with epsom salt and warm water to help clean the wounds.

Lastly, while I’m all banged up and drugged up, I’ll really want some good entertainment in bed:

  1. Favorite TV shows and movies – currently, The Good Wife, but I will also catch up on season premieres, and probably watch Chocolat again.
  2. Favorite books – currently I’m reading my Darling magazine and the Brain Pickings blog. Usually when I’m feeling down though, I go to my old guilty pleasure: Harry Potter fanfiction.
  3. Favorite podcast/audio book – I’ve just finished Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins audio book, and have started the On Being podcast.
  4. Favorite apps
    1. Calm.com – 5-20 minute meditations, guided or unguided. I find this helps me manage my back pain, so I’m hoping I can use it to relax after the extractions as well. 
    2. Rain, rain – A series of the sounds of rain – like Rainymood.com but with far more variety – including rain falling on different surfaces, the sounds of traffic or crackling fire or thunder to add on top of your chosen rain sound. This is highly soothing and I play it often while working or before bed. 

This all may seem like quite a bit of maintenance, but it’s all things I’m familiar with any way, things that I find comforting. And really, I feel like people could benefit from a little more self-maintaining! The whole goal of planning this out, is to be sure I’m healthy and up and about far sooner rather than later and not merely coasting by on junk food.

Check back in a few days to see how I did!
Let me know what your remedies are, and what you eat after you get your teeth out!