As the days get shorter and the wind blows colder, as the gyre widens and the world feels wild, here is a friendly reminder to turn inward and take time to care for yourself. Put your oxygen mask on first, as they say. For some that means a putting up a big pot of soup or making time for a long, hot bath, for others that means civic engagement or gathering together family and chosen family to celebrate the privilege of an abundant table. However you choose to recharge, sometimes even just the act of creating time and space for yourself in the chaos can be hard. Another "to-do". Another "failure to-do" if you don't get around do it.
When we're feeling doubly stuck like this we have a few tools that we often turn to that help us to build these rituals into our routines. It can be as deep and primal as lighting something on fire when the moon is right OR as simple as indulging in a new bath oil. The point is: whatever we can do to remind ourselves of the value of breathing deeply and cherishing the living of it? Let's do that.
Good Medicine: When we find ourselves in times of trouble it isn't Mother Mary that comes to us, it's usually Lauren, the wonderfully practical mystic behind Wooden Spoon Herbs. Made in a cabin in North Georgia from thoughtfully sourced, American-grown herbs and botanicals, this small-batch apothecary literally has cures for whatever ails you. While the entire line of sweet-smelling, all-natural remedies and salves is truly marvelous, the Anxiety Ally Tincture has been a real life-saver for us recently (Foundry note: IS IT JUST US!? HOLY (BASIL) MOLY!).
Clear the Air: You can never have too much good juju. Smudging our spaces and/or our bodies is one of the easiest rituals to incorporate into our daily. The very actions required to "smudge"—the application of fire, the waiting for smoke, the process of setting intention, the application of the smoke to the physical and mental zones in need of cleansing—are in and of themselves a self-fulfilling prophesy of staying present and saying grace. Native Sage herb bundles are hand-tied from native grasses grown and blessed in New Mexico. While we happen to love how burning sage smells, for those looking for a mellower scent, the Five Star Bundle (sacred desert sage, copal, sweetgrass, lavender, and white sage) is lighter and sweeter.
Balance your vedas: Rubbing sweetly scented oils all over your precious body is always a surefire way to center yourself in the present, but even more so when the oils themselves are specially formulated according to a 7,000 year old practice dedicated to balance, prevention, and self-healing. Ayurveda believes that the human body is a microcosm of the universe (agree) made up of the five classical elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Combinations of these elements fall into three main categories called "doshas"—Pitta, Katha, and Vata—and when these doshas fall into imbalance, the body-mind becomes disconnected from its original state of harmony with nature and the universe. Skeptical? Sounds like you're a Pitta. Nao Ayurveda's luscious oils and serums healing, aromatic, all-natural and, aligned with the doshas, are equally attuned to the needs of skin + soul. The tri-doshic oil is divine for everybody, but if you want something tailored to your vibe, there are formulas for Pitta, Kapha, and Vata (need help dialing in on your doshas? take Nao's quiz).
Read a book: Turn off the news. Put down the phone. Pick up this book. High Vibrational Beauty: Recipes & Rituals for Radical Self Care is chock full of DIY recipes (for everything from matcha face masks to homemade granola), gorgeous photographs, and actually-executable advice, this pretty tome reads like your cool herbalist friends took over Seventeen magazine. In short: just the dose of helpful honesty and cheeky levity we need when the sun goes down at 4pm.
Take a bath: Never underestimate the restorative power of hot water (and the literal time spent luxuriating in your skin behind closed doors, amongst steam and scent... safely away from the potent powers of electrical outlets and the onslaught of light and information that are so often plugged into them). Have sweet soap, a scrubby brush, a sweet towel, and a rich and luscious, tactile body oils on hand and this ritual gets taken way farther away than Calgon.
Light a candle: Take a breath, strike a match, say a prayer, a mantra, a blessing, a benediction. Give thanks for the sweet smell of beeswax and the wonder of bees, for warmth and home, for the triumph of truth and the existence of beauty. Nurture yourself as you nurture a flame, for it is light and so are you.