What a crazy world we’re living in right now. Not sure about you, but my moods have been up and down and all around. Grateful one day, (or one minute) anxious and fearful the next. I’ve noticed that there are a few tweaks that have made all of the difference in the world to my well-being. While we can’t predict what the future holds, we can focus on what is in our control and take this new normal one day at a time. For me, it’s been monumental to maintain some feeling of inner balance by filling up on vitamin-rich foods, helping others however I can, making time for myself, and cutting myself a ton of slack in a lot of areas of life right now.
I’ll preface this post by saying that I acknowledge that in this time of crisis, adding one more thing to your to-do list, starting a wellness routine, or worrying about your diet is insignificant compared to keeping yourself and your family safe. Those of us who have are healthy and safe, have access to food, a safe place to live, space to move, and time to indulge in self-care are incredibly fortunate and we absolutely should not take that for granted. I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to be in the medical field, risking your life daily for the well-being of others. THANK YOU!!!
To all of the mamas out there who don’t get ten minutes to themselves all day, you’re rockstars and I give you MAJOR props! It’s okay if you haven’t imposed a schedule or your child won’t focus on the computer for a 30 minute distance learning session (like in our house.) It’s okay if you haven’t put on real pants in a month and your kids live in their pajamas. It’s okay if you feed your family cereal for breakfast and pasta for dinner. It’s okay if you’re drinking a lot more coffee (and wine) these days. Remember to cut yourself MILES of extra slack and that whatever you can do, it’s enough. One super helpful tool when feeling down is simply to make a quick gratitude list. Although the negatives may come to mind first and weigh heavy, acknowledging what we’re grateful for can shift our thoughts and boost our mood. Health, family, shelter, and food are monumental blessings that a lot of others may not have right now, so if we have that, it’s HUGE.
Gratitude usually works for me, but honestly, sometimes it doesn’t. What always works, though, is finding a way to help others who need far more than we do. Whether it’s donating a meal, coffee, or flowers to hospital workers, (contact your local hospital before because there are strict protocols in place right now) volunteer to shop for others if you are able to, purchase from local small businesses, Venmo someone who is out of work, send flowers to cheer up a friend, check in on your neighbors (via phone), send a ‘thank you’ note/text/email to someone you’re extra thankful for, enjoy a meal with your loved ones, and continue to do your part by social distancing. There are so many ways to help right now; it feels really good to help others and turn negative energy into positive action.
I’ve personally found a new level of comfort in food over the past few weeks. Food can bring us tremendous joy, connection, warmth, and hope. Whether it’s trying a new recipe for yourself or your family, watching a feel-good show with a feel good snack, preparing a comforting meal to leave at your neighbors’ doorstep, or indulging in homemade baked goods, food can bring us extra joy and pleasure that we could all use right now. I’ve found great comfort in warm chicken soup, homemade lasagna, dark chocolate, big salads, banana bread, margaritas, wine, burgers, and more. We’ve also made some pretty creative meals out of shelf-stable and frozen foods, as fresh food has become more of a luxury and grocery shopping has become more of a danger. Pretend you’re on Chopped and challenge yourself!
Food can also make us feel not so great if we’re using it to fill a void or beat boredom. While it feels like we’re hibernating and I am definitely eating and snacking more than usual, I’m still trying to practice mindfulness. The first few days of quarantining, I was constantly snacking out of stress and boredom, and started feeling pretty “blah.” While food can bring us comfort, it can’t fill emotional voids. We’ve all done it – tackled a bag of chips and got to the bottom without feeling an ounce of satisfaction, because that’s not actually what we needed in the first place. I encourage you to find comfort in food, but to practice mindfulness and seek emotional fulfillment through other avenues, like human connection (virtually or with family in your home) indulging in a warm bath, writing in a journal, going for a walk, meditating, reading a book, doing an art project or puzzle, at-home workout, watching an uplifting show/movie, or anything else that brings you joy, peace, and endorphins. And if you have been emotionally eating in excess, forgive yourself and be kind to yourself.
It’s about being self-aware and changing your mindset/behavior IF it’s not serving you. If your current habits are making you feel like crap, they’re not serving you. If whatever you’re doing is keeping you sane in this insane time, then keep doing it. Remember that the universal goal here is to survive, not to thrive. If we all come out of this a few pounds heavier, so what? That’s minimal compared to getting ill, being hospitalized, losing someone, and all of the suffering going on around the world.
What’s keeping me sane and bringing me joy is preparing meals that fuel my family, doing an invigorating at-home workout every day (even 10 minutes counts!) working out with family members or virtually with friends, getting outside on sunny days for some vitamin D, getting ample sleep, helping others however and whenever I can, checking in on friends and exchanging hilarious memes about corona and quarantine life, doing simple activities with my children that bring us joy, baking yummy treats for the family, watching comedy shows and uplifting movies after the kids are in bed, living in comfy clothes, and most of all, cutting myself slack.
Wishing you WELL xo
One Healthy Breakdown: there’s still so much to smile about!