The 2017 Winter Skill Share was a smashing success, with over 60 participants coming to learn and share with awesome local femme, transgender, and women cyclists. Presenters covered a wide range of topics, including self care! Grease Rag participant Joanne did an incredible write up of self-care, which I've posted below. I have also included a link to the handout that Ali included with their presentation here.
Thank you both!
FTW-Style Self Care
Self care can be equally as important as mechanical maintenance when it comes to biking. To preface the session Lo reminded us "not to let shame or bad feelings get in the way" and that sometimes, when the weather is just too cold or you are feeling too tired, the best thing to do might be to "give yourselfpermission to take the bus".
Biking can make you feel good, but a holistic self care strategy is crucial sustaining your own emotional and physical health, which feedback into one another. Lo suggests using physical movement (move your body, get those endorphins pumping!), outdoor experiences (Vitamin D!), getting together with friends, and attending Grease Rag events. These experiences can in turn promote emotional health, your feeling of belonging in a group, framing your own experience in a larger context, and maybe even a little "tree therapy" will pull you out of that winter time slump that kept you in bed in the first place.
Next Lo explored more ways to take care of your body both inside and out. Evening or morning stretching and movements throughout the day will prevent soreness and give you a moment for reflection to check in with your emotional health. You can do some of these favorite stretches, or try following a simple YouTube stretching sequence.
What's On the Body
Your living and working environment can effect your physical and emotional health too. When biking in cold weather, temperature regulation is crucial. Staying hydrated and dressing in layers can help prevent both over and underdressing. Also pay attention for open windows and cold air leakages in your own home, and invest in a humidifier if you are prone to dry and creaky joints.
Need a little more body care? Try soaking your feet or entire body in Epson salts (mix a few drops of essential oil for added aromatherapy benefits), and rubbing balms and oils on dry weathered skin. Aly suggests using Coconut, Almond, or Olive oil (good for those with nut/seed allergies) combined with essential oils to make your own balm using this simple recipe:
Basic Body Balm
.2 oz beeswax
1 oz coconut oil
1 oz almond oil
12-24 drops essential oil (optional)
Heat the beeswax in a double boiler over low heat, When the wax is melted, mix in oil, mix until uniform, remove from heat and add essential oil. Transfer balm to a clean sealable container.
Not sure what oils to use? Aly suggests these ones:
Eucalyptus - cool and refreshing, it stimulates the immune system, acts as a decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and relaxes the muscles.
Rosemary - invigorating, it improves circulation, relaxes muscles soothes joint pain and calms headaches.
Citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit) - cheerful, energizing and uplifting.
Lemongrass - uplifting and muscle soothing
Mint - stimulating and uplifting, it helps with breathing, soothing headaches and muscles.
Clove & Ginger - spicy and warming, it improves circulation, soothes joins and pains.
What's In the Body
What you eat affects how you feel, and in colder weather it is important to consume warming foods (use spices like tumeric, cumin, and chilli) and fueling fats (butter, oils, fish, seeds and nuts). It may be helpful to also take supplements like Vitamin D and magnesium (found in leafy dark greens, dairy and fish) or other minerals if you still flee sluggish. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietician to figure out what would be helpful for you. Aly shared her recipe for Chicken Ginger Soup as a warming mean that is good for fighting off the cold and viruses.
Ginger Chicken Soup
1 oz dried shitake mushrooms
3 cups boiling water
1 lbs chicken
1 inch piece grated ginger
2 minced garlic cloves
I head chopped bok choy
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
2-3 chopped green onions
Pre soak mushrooms (follow package directions). Add everything except green onions in a pot, bring to boil and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. If using pre cooked chicken or meat alternative - substitute vegetable/chicken stock for water. Garnish with green onions.
How do you self care?
Other Grease Rag people shared their own self care tactics like scheduling regular dinner date appointments with friends, planning outings in advance to hold yourself accountable to showing up, going to the gym or library, opening your blinds early each morning to let the sun light in or investing in artificial sun lamps, going on walks outside, playing with kids, surrounding yourself with bright colors and comfy fabrics, practicing yoga, getting body work done (i.e. massage, reiki, or acupuncture), and prioritizing your own mental health. Try out some of these awesome FTW-owned resources:
Am'l K & Kim at Constellation
Zum bars from Indigo Wild
Mizashima at the People's Movement Center
Sarah at Village Healing Arts