The note posted next to my desk asks me two questions: “How do I feel?” and “What might I do right now to feel more peaceful?”
The regular reminder to pay attention to myself, to work on positive self-regulation, to meet my needs like I rush around trying to meet my family’s needs is unbelievably helpful. My answers are as wide and broad as the day is long. (And some of the days are REALLY LONG, Diary.)
I might need in any given moment to suspend my incessant Facebook scrolling, to go for a walk, or to stick a pillow behind my back.
I might need to read a book, snuggle a dog, or take a shower.
But I’ve found one thing I need more often than the rest. Whether I feel tired, restless, uncertain, or scared, there’s one thing I turn to again and again to feel more peaceful.
And I kind of wish it was more profound and deep. Like GOD. Or REGULAR MORNING DEVOTIONS. Or a DISCIPLINED SCHEDULE.
But… most often, I just need a drink.
I’m doing SO MUCH DRINKING in quarantine, Diary. ALL the drinking.
It’s probably not the kind you’d expect, though.
It’s not boozy drinking. Oh, I’ve had a beer with dinner a couple times. The occasional glass of wine from one of the Fancy Bottles I was Saving for a Special Occasion; I figure it doesn’t get more special than a global pandemic. But nothing more than that and definitely not every night. Not because I’m opposed to a drink every night; just because I don’t feel like drinking that way right now, and I’m trying to pay very close attention to what I need instead of just operating on muscle memory and habit.
But drinking as in consuming fluids? Liquids running down my gullet?
I’m drinking all the time. Constantly. Every minute of every day.
Coffee with cream in the morning — one small diner mug, freshly ground beans, brewed dark and strong in the French Press to start the day.
Caffeinated tea the rest of the morning. Greens are my latest love. Chai Green. Moroccan Mint. Plain green tea bags. Each with a small spoonful of honey and a splash of milk.
Decaf for the afternoons and evenings that are cold and rainy. Spice Dragon, mostly, or lower brow teas like Lipton’s Soothe Your Tummy with ginger, peppermint, and fennel… or, before bed, Stress Therapy with camomile, cinnamon, and lavender.
I go nowhere lately without a cup of something comforting along for the ride. One hand is always full, managing the liquid intake. The other hand is free to scroll or cook or write or manage humans.
It’s a habit I’m embracing, this constant drinking. It’s centering. Grounding. The feel of the warm mug. The scent wafting from it. The flavor on the back of my tongue. Like meditation or prayer. A reminder I matter. That my body and brain deserve comfort and care.
Today, I added drinking vinegars to my beverage repertoire.
I’d never heard of such a thing before last summer when I saw it on a bar menu. And, honestly, it sounded terrible. When I see vinegar, I think salad dressing, not drinking a glass of it. But I like trying new things, so I ordered it, and — surprise! — I loved it.
Drinking vinegar is an infusion of vinegar (obviously), sugar, and fruit or herbs… or both. Added to club soda, it resembles a fizzy lemonade, but lighter. Brighter. Just a little sweet and a little tangy.
Of course, you can add liquor to it — vodka or gin are great go-tos. But you don’t have to. It’s lovely on its own.
So I made some, and it was easy.
I swiped rosemary from a neighbor’s garden (left on her porch — no humans were seen or touched in the exchanging of goods), and I harvested lemon balm on my daily walk.
I used fruit from my now every-other-week trip to the grocery store.
And, using a 1:1:1 ratio of vinegar:sugar:plants, I assembled three types. Left to right: Strawberry Rosemary Balsamic drinking vinegar, Raspberry Lemon Balm Champagne drinking vinegar, and Strawberry Raspberry Apple Cider drinking vinegar. The only special ingredient I bought at the store was the champagne vinegar… found at our discount grocery store for the win.
I strained and taste-tested this afternoon, and YUM. My kids hated it. I love it. It’s refreshing and pretty and perfect for the warm, sunny days we have ahead, and I don’t have to share ANY AT ALL.
It’s a quarantine win, Diary.
P.S. Our Fairy Message Mother has an important question for us, friends:
How are you really?
It’s time to check in.