Here are some ways you can nourish yourself and your family:
- Drink the Almond Date shake (recipe to follow:)
- Practice regular Self Massage
- Eat Nourishing meals that are easy to digest- during fall and winter and postpartum: eat soups and cooked foods, warm beverages, with ample oils and appropriate spicing to remedy dry winter skin and depleted tissues
- Create a daily routine with regular times for your self care practices
- Ensure your inner fires of digestion are strong by eating foods that are easily digested by your body
- Get good quality sleep, winding down one hour before you want to fall asleep
- Spend Time in Nature
- Create and nurture supportive community
- Foster healthy relationships
- Maintain a positive attitude
- Enjoy regular exercise and allow time for stretching or yoga
- Celebrate Love
- Enjoy life and laugh often
Almond Date Shake
Soak 10-15 almonds overnight, if you don’t have whole almonds, use 2 Tbsp almond butter instead
2-4 dates, pitted, medjools are the juiciest- if you use the other varieties you will want to increase the quantity of dates to 5-7 to equal the sweetness of medjools
1/2" piece of peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom, the hulled seeds are the best
1/2 tsp fennel
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more to taste
1-2 Tbsp + ghee or coconut oil
2-4 cups just boiled water
Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender, make sure there is some space for air to escape through the lid. Cover with a towel and hold the top of the blender. Start on low speed and increase to high speed, blending until smooth. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy! If you don't like the sediment that lands on the bottom, strain the mixture through a nut milk bag or mesh sieve.
Self Massage for Every Body
Who doesn't like a good massage? Most new mothers I have had the opportunity to work with are in dire need of rejuvenation and relaxation regardless of when they birthed their babies. However, it can be challenging to make the time and have the resources to receive a massage on a regular basis, especially when you have little ones. Fortunately we can all practice self massage and receive similar benefits including: relaxation, reduced stress, reduced tension, better sleep, increased circulation, and an overall sense of well being amongst many other benefits.
“How do I practice self massage, don’t I need to be trained in massage?” you may ask. The answer is no, you don’t need to be trained in massage, you just need to be able to carve out the time to start practicing and tuning in to what feels good to you. You know your body best and the 10-20 minutes you spend giving your body some love will have a noticeable impact on your body awareness and can be a deeply healing experience. While doing your self massage it is important to set aside all judgements and to instead allow yourself to fully love each part of your body for it’s perfections and imperfections, it’s strength, stability, and for the immense amount of work your body has done throughout your life to get you to this present moment.
Your self massage routine can be incredibly simple, but I would recommend creating some form of a ritual of self care- this may mean simply listening to some of your favorite music, or lighting a candle, or taking 3 deep breaths before you begin with your eyes closed to exhale your thoughts and relax your body before you begin.
The following is a simple self massage instruction to get you started:
1. In a warm room, warm up your massage oil by placing the oil bottle into a cup of hot but not boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Once the oil is warm, apply a small amount (enough to make you lightly glisten) in a loving way to your whole body. The most important technique is to apply the oil with love and appreciation of your body- but if you want to get technical, apply the oil with circular strokes on your joints and up and down strokes on your long bones, with clockwise strokes on your belly. It is also quite lovely to apply the oil to your scalp as though you are washing your hair, giving your head a nice good scrub with the oil. If you have areas of tension, this is your opportunity to dig into those areas of tension- you know the perfect amount of pressure and speed for your body. Generally you should stroke toward your heart after you have done the circular and up and down strokes.
2. Let the oil soak into your skin for 10-20 minutes while you brush your teeth, read a lovely book, dance to your favorite music, practice deep belly breathing, or do some other activity that supports your body and mind to relax or to release tension. If you don’t have 10-20 minutes, no worries, simply applying the oil with intention and your awareness focused on loving up your body will be beneficial.
3. Then take a nice warm shower or bath to rinse off the extra oil and to allow the oil to penetrate deeply into your skin. When stepping into our out of the bath or shower be aware that you may be more slippery than usual due to the oil. The warm water helps to increase circulation to support the movement of lymphatic fluid in your body. If you applied oil to your scalp, you may need to wash out the oil a few times. I usually oil my scalp 1-2x/week rather than every day.
4. Pat dry with your towel.
5. Repeat daily for the greatest nourishment and rejuvenation. The more we can nourish ourselves, the better we are able to care for our families while also doing our work in the world. Self massage is great for the whole family:)
“What Oils should I use?”
For Dry skin or during the late fall early winter: Untoasted Sesame Oil, Sunflower oil, Almond Oil
For sensitive, oily skin, or during summer season: Almond Oil, sunflower oil, or a blend of sesame and coconut oil, coconut oil (if you are feeling chilled, use a different oil as coconut oil is very cooling and will make you feel colder when applied to your skin).
For moist/oily skin: try dry brushing using a natural fiber brush before you shower, then apply a minimal amount of warmed Almond oil, Olive Oil, Mustard seed oil, or sunflower oil.
If at any point in time your skin does not react well to the above oils, try a different oil. Other options include: Jojoba Oil, Rosehip seed oil, Marula Oil... basically any oil you could eat, can be utilized for your self massage.
As an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Massage Therapist, Doula, and Postpartum Doula I am committed to supporting women and their families to experience and incorporate deep nourishment into their pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and life after birth. For more information regarding my services and practice please visit my website at www.lifenectar.org.
"Ashlee was our postpartum doula after our second baby was born. After our baby was born, she stayed in our house, cooked me healthy foods, gave me daily oil massages, and helped around the house. This alone was lovely-- she was a positive energy in the house, and her foods staved off the digestive problems I'd had after my first baby a few years prior. On top of that, though-- I cannot stress enough what a source of joy and support Ashlee was for me during my pregnancy. I was very nervous about having another baby after a scary first birth and traumatic postpartum period. Ashlee worked through these emotions with me, and I actually credit her in no small part with my totally easy, happy, and redemptive birth experience. She tailored her approach to my family's style, and never pushed anything upon us; instead she helped me to act on my own instincts. I am so fortunate to have shared this period with her." ~ Eli M. San Francisco, CA 2016