How many emails or conversations have you had lately with friends who say “I am trying to be less busy, or I have been so busy, I want a quiet evening at home, a weekend with no social commitments.”
Life today is busy, endlessly so. Even when we get sick, we expect to feel better almost instantly. The concept of convalescence has disappeared. Often there is too much to do, so we cannot slow down, let alone create time for rest and restoration. But where does the extra energy come from to perform consistently or to manage periods of extra stress without getting sick?
One way to maintain energy is by regularly making healthy choices about what we put into our bodies. Eating a selection of colourful fruit and vegetables, prepared with care, as close to nature as possible is nutritive. Or preparing what I call honest food, mixing ingredients where you can taste each different flavour and feel each different texture around your tongue.
Adding nutritive herbal tonics can also make a difference to daily life, nourishing our bodies, reducing dryness, restoring minerals, increasing body fluids, muscles and fat, building blood and lymph, increasing milk and semen, softening, soothing and calming the nerves. Often these herbs are sweet in flavour such as angelica, licorice, marshmallow root, rehmannia, shatavari and slippery elm. This includes foods such as dates, almonds, raisons, sesame seeds, honey and coconut which can enhance many dishes.
Rejuvenating tonics work on the body and the mind: shifting awareness and renewing brain cells. These include ashwaganda, bacopa, ginseng, aloe vera, gotu kolu, marshmallow, oatstraw, rehamannia, saw palmetto, shatavari and include foods such as garlic, onion, sesame seeds and sweet potato.
At the same time perhaps we need to question what stops us from slowing down, from creating time to pause, to reflect. Silence, stillness and time alone often leads us to our own wisdom, giving voice to the soul. Sometimes it is in the silence and stillness that we find a new solution to an old problem. A retreat into nature or a quiet place even for a few hours can be restorative.
I had the pleasure recently of sitting outside a café sipping on fresh mint tea over a business meeting. I left the meeting refreshed, my mouth filled with the minerality of the mint, pleased not to be experiencing the quick high of drinking a coffee. Even making one healthy choice daily can make a difference over a year.
Written by: Dr Carla Boswell,
70 Barnet Street, Gardens