One of the number one predictors of parental wellbeing is predictability – and let’s be honest, 2020 hasn’t exactly given us much of that! Now with the added responsibilities of schooling and distance learning, more than ever before, parents need to find some natural rhythms to anchor themselves (and their children) throughout the day.
Enter Ayurveda, or the “science of life / longevity.” Ayurveda is more than just natural medicine, it’s a way of living that fills the whole body, mind and spirit with true happiness and health. It can sometimes feel like a strange world of supplements and superfoods, but it’s really about listening to your body and living in sync with nature’s cycles – with practice it can become really intuitive.
When I first started studying Ayurveda, I heard so many beautiful morning rituals I wanted to try. But after seeing routines of self care that lasted 1-2 hours every morning, it almost made me a little mad – “a 30 minute dry brush/self massage before a shower must be nice lady, but right now, I’m grateful to be halfway clothed before my son’s first zoom meeting.” Instead of being resentful, I began to find creative, time efficient ways to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into my wfm/homeschool mom life. Here are some Ayurveda “hacks” to help you stay grounded and nourished with limited time/minimal sleep:
If interested in learning more, join me at our upcoming workshop: Ayurveda & Anxiety Workshop: Regenerate mind, body and planetary health. Connect with your predominant dosha (body frame analysis and mindset) to better understand how imbalance leads to anxiety in body, mind and community. Find tickets here.
By Jen Massman
1. Ritual Stacking – This is the idea of adding one or two little practices onto a previously established habit – like brushing your teeth. Decide on a practice you’d like to add (say gua-sha or dry brushing) and do it right before/after you brush your teeth. For me, I stack tongue scraping, brushing teeth and add a 30 second oil massage to my face and neck (something that felt too indulgent previously, but now is just a regular habit and makes me feel amazing!) I keep my tongue scraper, toothbrush and facial oil all right next to each other so there’s nothing slowing me down.
2. Breathwork – Another practice that felt too time consuming for me in a busy day, but let’s be real, parents are master multi-taskers – next time you are logging onto your kids ipad, practice a few cycles of 4 – 7 – 8 breathing. Meaning, inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 and exhale for 8 counts. That long exhale puts your body in the parasympathetic nervous system, or rest & digest mode. For so much of the day we are doing little shallow breaths that keep us in low level anxiety all day.
3. Eat lunch – This sounds like an obvious one, but so many parents breeze through the day on coffee and crumbs and miss the window when digestion is at it’s peak! The 10am-2pm time is our pitta time of day – meaning our digestive fire is ready to go (It also means it’s prime time to make decisions, get work done – be on fire!) When we skip lunch, we are preparing our bodies to be famished at 7pm and snack well into the night. It can be helpful if your kids nap and you can have a quiet moment to eat, but if not, make family lunch as ceremonial and special as possible – get those iPads off the table and light a candle instead. Your kids will appreciate the change in scenery too – they can even help arrange some flowers (or weeds) from the garden for the table. When you make the time to sit down and eat a decent sized lunch while your digestion is hot, late night snacking needs start to dissipate.
4. Use your fancy plates – How many parents are eating their kids’ leftover food while standing at the counter? Be honest! Even if you are eating mostly just leftover bites from your kid’s lunchbox, put it on a nice plate for yourself. It will feel more satisfying to sit down and eat the way you would serve a guest.
5. Chew (and model slow chewing for your kids – it will be one habit they won’t have to try to form as an adult!) Each bite should be chewed 20x times and to a paste-like consistency. So many folks have digestive issues that could be resolved or lessened greatly by slowing down to chew. Digestive enzymes are being activated and cranked into our stomachs when we are salivating and it’s a lot less work for our stomachs to break down our food. In fact, many cases of SIBO and digestive distress are due to food being poorly broken down and left to ferment in our intestines (hello bloating!) this can be greatly reduced by good chewing habits!
Parenting is a big job and everyday we can feel stretched to the limit (and beyond). It is essential to have some tools to feel grounded and keep your body nourished well. Little daily habit tweaks make a big difference in your energy and in your whole body health!
If you are ever looking to make bigger, more individualized steps toward health, please reach out to Jen Massman at @pio.wellness