One of the best things about Ayurveda—from my standpoint—is that it realistically understands that we will not always be able to make “good” choices. Life just plain gets in the way sometimes, and random things happen. So we invoke the 80/20 rule: do the best you can (around 80+% of the time) at making conscious considered healthful choices, and allow yourself 20% leeway to do otherwise. Once you are firmly established in your state of balance, you can withstand life’s sudden shifts with more ease and grace. You can also forecast times that will be stressful for you, plan and prepare for them, and more easily recover from them.

My advice to you? Be proactive and responsible in your self-care. Good health occurs in those people who take care of themselves and who make conscious choices that support them in wellness. Poor health happens when we ignore the part of ourselves that knows better (this is called “failure of the intellect”), when we consistently make unwise choices (consciously or not), and when we are exposed to environments that are unhealthful.

There is much in life that is out of our control, so it is important to be as mindful as possible about what is within our control—and to take active responsibility for those areas. We can carve out little islands of serenity or preciousness that we can draw on to nurture our beings and our souls. Being in nature is a very restorative act, even if that means watering the two teeny houseplants you have. Taking a few calming breaths at the beginning of a meal to acknowledge what it took for that food to be available to you is likewise a powerful act. Find work or an activity that is deeply enjoyable to you—and do it. Treasure your loved ones, and waste as little time as possible on those who refuse to honor you.

Experience life with all five of your senses. Listen to the call of birds; feast your eyes on cloud formations; savor the flavors of your food; deeply inhale the scents of flowers; and luxuriate in the tactile sensations of clean, warm bed sheets (soft flannel for me!).

Rejoice in the ability of your body to explore through movement, and take rest when you need it.

There are many additional therapies available to us. Some are useful for everyone; most are appropriate for certain individuals only. You may consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn what might be best for you. After all, this is a modality that specializes in individualized care for individual people. Everything is tailored to the client: food recommendations; methods of cooking those foods; exercise choices; herbal formulas; daily routines; etc. When Ayurveda feels like an appropriate modality for you to implement, you can feel confident that you are doing good work supporting yourself in health and wellness.