Hi, my name is Rachel Baker, and I am the nutrition and lifestyle coach behind 3 Sources. It’s my mission to help others live as optimally as possible through the power of plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. During these uncertain times, I believe it is essential that we keep checking in with ourselves to stay grounded, present, and in our bodies. Over the past three weeks, I’ve been posting self-care strategies – a self-care package of sorts – with recipes, tutorials, daily rituals, and lifestyle recommendations to offer support, and that may speak to what you might be going through right now. Here, I’m sharing my top 10 personal favourites; the go-to practices that I’ll continue to turn to while we are in this collective pause, and beyond.
10 Self-Care Strategies for Uncertain Times
1. Pink Grapefruit + Apple Cider Vinegar Shots
If your lips are puckering, hear me out. Grapefruit is a powerhouse citrus, containing 15 vitamins and minerals (like vitamin C) that help build the immune system. Apple cider vinegar is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and improves the gut microbiome and overall immune balance. I like to take it as a shot, straight down the hatch, first thing in the morning before I eat anything. It’s delicious, and trust me, your body will thank you for it.
FOR ONE SHOT
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 6 parts grapefruit juice
Note: It’s important to use the raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother included. The label usually specifies this, but you can see the mother as a sediment in the bottle.
2. Palo Santo + Meditation or Breathwork
I love to burn Palo Santo incense or white sage in the mornings as I jump into a daily meditation or breathwork practice. They are both known in the sacred plant world to clear the mind, body, spirit, and home from negative energy and help me to stay present and grounded at the start of the day. For me, being present is about becoming aware of what I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing. Meditation and breathwork are ways that help me become aware of thoughts and emotions bubbling at the surface. I use both practices to quit obstructing thoughts and come back to the now.
3. Breakfast Broth
Broth for breakfast? Yes, you can! Once you get over the cereal for breakfast hump, I promise you, there’s no turning back. Super mineralising and alkalising, a life-enhancing bowl of broth is my favourite way to start the day. For the broth base try this, my signature plant-based broth that has something of a cult following these days. Miracle Broth is packed with immune balancing, anti-infective medicinal foods including turmeric root, black peppercorns, ginger root, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic.
MY FAVOURITE ADD-INS
- wholegrain or black rice
- turmeric root
- shiitake mushrooms
- shredded kale or cabbage
- tofu or tempeh
- poached egg
- coriander stems
- black or white sesame seeds
- crushed toasted nori
4. Edible Oat, Honey & Cinnamon Mask
An edible, homemade facial treatment to cleanse, soften, and hydrate tired skin. These are ingredients you probably have in your pantry already, and together they work like magic and are very gentle. The best part is eating what’s left – it tastes like a raw cookie!
FOR ONE MASK
- 2 tsp oat flour (or grind rolled oats in a blender)
- 2 tsp raw honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding a little warm water or oat milk to thin it out. Apply to clean, cleansed skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. As you rinse it off, the oats will act as a gentle exfoliant, making your skin feel super soft and hydrated. Finish with your favourite facial oil or moisturiser.
5. Immunity Tea
I wholeheartedly encourage you to work this immunity tea into your life. Turmeric, ginger, and raw honey have significant immune balancing properties, as well as being anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial. I am keeping a jar out on the counter and making a cup in the mornings and evenings. Also, it’s seriously good straight off the spoon.
FOR ONE SMALL JAR
- 1/3 cup raw honey
- 2.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Put the honey, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper into a small bowl. Work the spices into the honey until it forms a paste.
To make the tea, put a teaspoon of the paste into a cup. Pour warm, not boiling water (to preserve the properties) into the cup, and stir well to dissolve the paste. Add a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir now and then so all the good stuff doesn’t settle at the bottom.
6. Warm Sesame Oil Foot Massage
A warm sesame oil foot massage helps soothe an agitated mind, relieve anxiety, and to encourage sound sleep. In Ayurveda, it is believed we can reduce stress and activate our immune system through the simple act of foot massage. And it feels wonderful. I like to do this simple practice just before bed.
Pour a little sesame oil into a small glass. Place the glass into a small bowl and fill halfway with warm water. Leave for a few minutes until the sesame oil is warm.
For a simple practice: coat your hands in the warm oil. Apply gentle but firm circular pressure from the ankles to the tops of the toes, cross your ankle over your opposite knee to access the arch and bottom of the foot. Finish by pulling on the toes. Repeat on the other side. Put socks on before you go to bed.
7. Living Gratitude
Keeping going with a gratitude practice helps me to shift my perspective and focus on the good in front of me in each moment. Taking a pause in the day to acknowledge what I am grateful for deeply moves my energy. In the midst of all that is going on right now, it reminds me that this too shall pass.
A short gratitude exercise:
- What are 3 things I’m thankful for in my life today?
- Who are 3 people I’m thankful for in my life today?
- Who are 3 people I will reach out to today with a message of gratitude?
8. Medicinal Miso Tahini Sauce
Food is medicine. Everything you eat can be charged with healing ingredients. I love a sauce, and this one is outrageously delicious and nutrient-dense. It’s time to get out your whisk.
FOR ONE SMALL JAR OF SAUCE
- 4.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 4 tsp nutritional yeast
- 3 tsp miso
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 2 tsp dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic
- flaky sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grind the dried shiitake mushrooms to a powder with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. Place in a small bowl with the tahini, finely minced garlic, miso, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and nutritional yeast. Whisk until smooth, adding small amounts of water in increments (as the sauce will stiffen) until you reach your desired consistency. Gauge it based on how you will use it. I like mine to be fairly thick and unctuous. Season with flaky sea salt and pepper, to taste.
HOW TO USE
- over salads
- over roasted roots
- over steamed greens
- over rice or quinoa
I love to eat it over noodles, steamed broccoli, and slices of marinated tofu.
9. Healing Apples
A simple tried and tested therapeutic food: stewed apples and cinnamon. The healing properties come from the pectin in the skin of the apples that are released during the cooking. Pectin repairs and maintains the mucosal lining of the gut, where 80% of our immune system is housed. Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating and antioxidant powerhouse.
Take 4 (unsprayed) apples – washed, cored, and chopped. Add to a pan with 1/4 cup filtered water and 2 tsp ground cinnamon. Put a lid on and cook over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened. Purée in a blender. For therapeutic benefits, aim to eat a ramekin of healing apples a day
10. Rich Rose Balm for Super Dry Hands
My hands have really taken a beating during this crisis from frequent washing and sanitising. Here is a super easy 5 ingredient recipe for a nourishing hand balm. Believe me when I say this stuff works miracles.
- 1/2 cup shea butter
- 4 tbsp jojoba oil
- 2 tbsp beeswax pastilles
- 1 tsp vitamin E oil
- 20 drops Palmarosa essential oil
Make a bain-marie by resting a heatproof bowl over a small pan filled with an inch of water. Put the shea butter, jojoba oil, and beeswax pastilles into the bowl. Heat gently over low heat until everything has melted. Take off the heat. Put the vitamin E oil into a small glass. Add 20 drops of Palmarosa essential oil. Swish to infuse. Using a non-metal spoon, stir the infused oil into the balm. Pour the balm into a small glass jar with a screw-top lid. Leave to set in a cool place.
For an added boost, apply at night and cover your hands with cotton gloves or socks and let this recipe work its magic overnight.
- shea butter = super nourishing + moisturising
- jojoba oil = soothing + repairing
- beeswax = protecting + locks in moisture
- vitamin E oil = healing + anti-aging
- palmarosa essential oil = calming + smells divine
Rachel Baker is the founder behind 3 Sources. She is based in Provence, France with her husband Kevan and cat Pantoufle. You can subscribe to the 3 Sources members-only community on her website, or follow along on Instagram for a look into the 3 Sources life.
Images by Joanna Maclennan.