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  • Writer's pictureAmber Rose Ostaszewski

Finding Calmer Waters

As of late, every time I sit down to make a blog post my nervous system sends up some pretty clear somatic messages along the lines of capital N-O. Let's be honest, things have been pretty hard lately, and while I'm not in favor of bypassing the hard stuff, I do believe it's important to seek out calmer waters to restore, nourish, and balance out said hard stuff. So instead of pushing myself to pull together some thoughtful expression of what's been on my mind, I'll simply share seven things I've been wading into to help regulate my nervous system. I'd love to hear what you've been doing or what works for you, too!

1. Spinning Flax

It's no surprise that spinning is my go-to, as it's very much a moving meditation for me and part of my spiritual practices, but one of the current projects I'm working on requires a large amount of flax to be spun into linen, it it's an even more grounding experience. The wetting of the fibers releases a smell akin to petrichor, and I find there's a sense rootedness that reverberates through my being when I spin flax, unlike other fibers. I suppose that because my flax was locally grown, harvested, and then processed by my own two hands also helps!

I have been a Robin Wall Kimmerer stan since I read her book Braiding Sweetgrass many years ago, and I was recently recommended by a friend to listen to her audiobook version, and oh I am so glad for this recommendation. Her voice and words are an absolute balm to my weary soul of late. This book, Gathering Moss, actually predates Braiding Sweetgrass and the themes of community, compassion, and resilience are beyond relevant to the times we're living in.

3. Gardening

In both my personal garden at home and our dye garden at the guild house, I believe there's nothing more grounding than getting your hands in the dirt. I sometimes feel like gardens are a time portal, one that makes you slow down to the speed of earth.

4. Rose & Reishi Elixir

While I typically take flower essences, I recently switched up my routine to try Bane Folk's Rose & Reishi Elixir. Made from tinctures of rose and reishi, and sweetened with honey, I've found this elixir to be helpful in deepening my reserves for empathy, and the adaptogenic qualities of the reishi are supporting my body in what it needs most.

5. Herbal Water

I associate summer with herbal water season when the garden is bursting with fresh herbs to grace those 8 glasses I try to consume to stay hydrated. Cooling favorites like mints, lemon balm, basil, thyme, and oregano are lovely to reach for when I'm feeling heated--both physically and emotionally.

6. Scalp Massage

A few months ago I made some hair oil out of castor oil, argan oil, peppermint essential oil, and tea tree essential oil, mostly for keeping my extra long hair from drying out, but I've learned through practice that massaging it into my scalp is as good of a relaxing remedy for mindless overwhelm and confusion as anything else. Perhaps it's the peppermint, but there's something about this act that helps with finding clarity.

7. Earplugs

An absolute necessity for me now, these earplugs from Loop have helped me with regulating my nervous system on the daily. I've learned that with too much noise I can be easily aggravated and overwhelmed, especially when I'm in the office or other public spaces. Popping these in doesn't get rid of ALL the sound, but they have helped with taking out much of the intensity so that when I notice noises are starting to push me outside of my window of tolerance, I can put these in and self-regulate.

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