Someone once told me that the Chinese character for “crisis” is actually composed of two characters: the first one signifying “danger” and the other meaning “opportunity.” The way I feel about the current state of things actually goes back and forth, between “danger” and “opportunity,” sometimes rather rapidly. I think that’s normal. At the same time, I am well aware of how damaging focusing on the “danger” aspect of this crisis is to the well-being of me and my family. I’m writing this blog to encourage you to spend some more time focusing on the “opportunity” given to us by the COVID-19 crisis.
We have the opportunity to honor spring by planting something. Right now is a perfect time to plant herb and vegetable gardens and watch the seeds sprout. You can enjoy their offerings as summer is just arriving. Choose vegetables that you can seed directly into the ground, such as peas, beans, radishes, carrots, lettuce, and swiss chard. If you don’t have much space, sew the seeds into containers or plant an herb garden in a pot on the window. If you can’t get outside right now, peruse a seed catalogue, such as territorialseed.com. This family owned company is based in Oregon, and has seeds, plants, and gardening supplies specific to Pacific Northwest home gardens.
We also have the opportunity to practice gratitude. Cultivating positive emotions by focusing on gratitude activates our parasympathetic nervous system and helps boost mood as well as immunity. There are numerous ways to count our blessings. Some of my favorites include:
- Starting a gratitude journal, in which you record 5 things each morning you are grateful for.
- Think of someone you feel grateful for. List the positive attributes of this person, then call them or send them a letter thanking them for the part they’ve played in your life.
- I call this one “gratitude ABCs” and it’s particularly helpful when I’m feeling stressed out or can’t sleep. For each letter of the alphabet, I list something I am grateful for. For example, “I’m grateful for apple pie, I’m grateful for blue skies, I’m grateful for cats, etc.” and I continue all the way until Z.
The last one I’ll mention is the opportunity to s…l…o…w…d…o…w…n.
This can be taken however you imagine it. Just take a breath and notice the space you may have in your day. You can use this helpful visual aid to help you track you in breath and out breath.
What about slowing down and baking something the way your grandmother did? I went to the grocery store on Friday and found they were sold out of the bread I usually buy. This caused me to consider the act of making yeasted bread from scratch. Baking bread can be time consuming and is often considered impractical, however, now seems like the perfect time for this creative, personal endeavor. If you are new to this, and working with yeast is intimidating, I will encourage you to go ahead and try it anyway. It can be very rewarding to learn something new and to work in such a basic way with your hands. One of my favorite yeasted bread recipes is from Mollie Katzen and you can find it by clicking here.
There is no denying this crisis is in many ways dangerous. And at the same time, I invite you to flip the coin to the other side and also see the opportunity in this situation. If you are leaning more toward the danger side of the equation, that is okay too. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and be kind to the parts of you that are activated. Gently guide yourself back to equilibrium through mindfulness and acceptance.
Now could be a great opportunity to invest some time in yourself. Here at Starkel Nutrition, we are continuing to support our clients and community at large during uncertain and stressful times.
Now, more than ever, our help is needed and we are here to extend a helping hand. If you are feeling stressed out, confused, low and/or just need someone to help you take care of you, please give us a call or head to our contact page to schedule a telehealth appointment, so we can be here for you too.
Interested in learning more? Schedule an appointment with Anna to get support on your journey to holistic and kind health.
|Written by our nutritionist and mental health counselor, Anna Cannata, MS, LMHC, CN