February is the month we often associate with Love. It’s during this time of year that we celebrate our loved ones, offering gifts and kind words on Valentine’s Day. But just after the December and January holidays, this time of year isn’t always bubble baths and roses for those of us that have ever lost family members or loved ones, or for those of us that tend to get anxious around the holidays for various reasons. It’s important to make time to appreciate all the love that’s around us, and it’s also important to make time to grieve the love we’ve lost, or be present with any other emotions we might be feeling, this time of year. So, we invite you to make time to sit with your heart this month. To ask your heart how it’s feeling (really), and bear witness to all that arises for you when you do. We invite you check in with yourself about your level of self-love, not just outward-love, and to what degree you have (or have not) been making sure that: you get your needs met; you’re eating foods that leave your body feeling nourished; you’re resting enough or doing activities that make you feel excited, joyful, and at peace. To reflect on things like: what’s the quality of my self-talk? Do I find myself saying negative, critical things about myself throughout the day? Do I find myself saying positive, uplifting things about myself throughout the day? Does it change from day to day, and is there a pattern of why it fluctuates—are there certain things that I do and don’t do from day to day that inspire different kinds of self-talk?
We invite you to sit down with a cup of heart-warming tea (you can make some spiced chai (recipe below) or an herbal tea like tulsi, hawthorn, peppermint, or lemon balm) and grab your journal to reflect on the thoughts/question above, and anything else that feels relevant for you at this time. Carving out space to sit with our feelings, to journal out our thoughts, and reflect on some of the deeper questions in life is essential to heart health. Just like unhealthy levels of physical cholesterol (buildup of unprocessed fats and plaque) can lead to heart complications, emotional cholesterol (a build up of unprocessed heavy, dense emotions) can lead to heart complications over time. Taking care of our hearts gets to be a physical journey, and an emotional one, as our hearts store the bulk of our emotions—especially emotions like grief and sadness.
“On the emotional level, the heart, and the blood it pumps, represents love and joy and our early connections to family. People with heart problems usually have unresolved family issues that take the joy and love out of their lives. These issues might keep love and joy from entering their lives because they are afraid to let love in. Closing our heart to love is very symbolic of shutting of the flow of life to our heart. Affirm: I open my heart to love! My heart is now lovingly pumping joy throughout my body! All is well and I am safe.” — Louise Hay
We don’t need to be dealing with a chronic heart problem to make time to know our hearts, to talk to our hearts, to listen to our hearts, and to reflect on questions that are relevant to the health of our hearts (like those above). If you also want to some physical things you can do more of, read through this list of heart-healthy foods and activities; but, we do encourage everyone to prioritize the emotional components just as much as the physical!
Foods that can support the heart through revitalizing ojas (Sanskrit word for Vitality): ghee, fresh fruits eaten alone, dates, rice, and nuts. Some herbs that can strengthen the heart: hawthorn, tulsi, peppermint, spearmint, rose, fennel, coriander, cumin, hibiscus, chamomile, lavender, orange peel. Some activities that can support the heart: feeling your feelings, spending time in nature, staying hydrated, minimizing screen time, spending time with loved ones, setting healthy boundaries with the people in your life, doing things that you genuinely love doing, making time to take deep breaths, to rest, and to sleep for 6-8 hours each night. You can also use rose water or rose essential oil in the bath, or in a spray bottle—and then spray behind your neck or on your pillow— because rose is a powerful ally for the heart.
If you need support, reach out to us! We are here for you.
Chai Recipe Ingredients: 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger cut into rounds; 2 cinnamon sticks; 2 teaspoons black peppercorns; 10 whole cloves; 8 cardamom pods; 6 cups of water, 6 tea bags of black tea (Darjeeling or Assam), 2 cups of milk, ¼ – ½ cup of maple syrup and (optional) ½ inch of fresh turmeric root. Preparation: combine the first five ingredients (and the turmeric if you’re using it) in to a pot with water. Bring water to a boil, and then let simmer for 20-40 minutes (your whole kitchen should smell delicious!). Then, add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Take the tea bags out, add in the milk and maple syrup. Strain, and then warm up, serve, and enjoy!