Butterflies & Zombies: Story of Coronavirus

butterfliesandzombiescoronavirus

A lot can change in a little over a week. For us, we marveled at how quickly news about the coronavirus shrouds and alters both excitement over buying a house and planning a fall wedding. Such is life, and we all must adapt….and even metamorphose a bit. Speaking of which, let’s review the butterfly lifecycle and see how it relates to us with this current public health crisis. As you may remember from second grade, the egg becomes larva (a caterpillar) and then its pupa stage operating in a cocoon. Finally the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis state, dries its wings and flies.

Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. Like a scab or a detox-reaction, things can appear ugly and hopeless during transition but then metamorphize into something more vibrant and beautiful. The scab of society is such that, despite Eleanor Roosevelt reminding us that, “with freedom comes responsibility,” we haven’t been responsible to or for each other in awhile. It has been within the past couple of years that the only ‘epidemic’ the government seemed to be reporting on was the ‘loneliness epidemic’ (1), and it’s not just been a problem for the elderly; an article on Forbes.com last year mentioned how lonely millennials have been (2). We can change this now, despite ‘social distancing’ and re-connect with our loved ones and our communities.

For those of you who’ve seen zombie movies, you know that there are two threats – not just one – to overcome. The first and immediate threat is the virus or catastrophic event that turns the people into zombies. The second and possibly bigger threat is the zombies themselves, the people who inspire and perpetuate fear and distrust through their selfish actions.

We will see the best and worst parts of our communities; the best thing we can do is look out for ourselves and other people. Some people are hoarding and taking advantage. This is part of the reason why there were rations for sugar, bread, meat, milk, and flour during the World Wars, to help people share food fairly. When human ‘zombies’ fail to regulate themselves and their fears, sometimes outside regulations help.

This is the best time to slow down, self-regulate, and prevent harm from spreading throughout the community.  One thing we can do during social distancing is to love people from afar – calls, texts, sending groceries, and supporting our local businesses by buying gift cards or ordering carry-out.

Remember the butterfly stages? What we didn’t mention before is that things get really gross and discombobulated during the pupa phase. The chrysalis acts as a container and protects the butterfly-to-be as the body digests itself from the inside out and becomes a soupy substance. From these parts, new cells for the butterfly’s wings, organs, and antennae form. How creepy and yet marvelous a process this is!

How can we turn this challenging time to our advantage? By thinking of this as our ‘chrysalis’ time – a period where things are creepy, gross, and scary – but also full of exactly what we need to transform ourselves and our lives. This is an excellent time for:

  • Reflection – unplugging from ‘group-think’ and the typical consumerist tendencies to over-buy and play into the hands of fear. Self-reflection during this time can help you listen to that which is habitually drowned-out: your inner guidance. Just because others are buying tons of stuff, like Black Friday, you can opt-out. Be conscious and live mindfully.
  • Minimalism and decluttering. Minimalism helps self-regulation and temptation to follow the whims of others. If you haven’t learned some of the philosophies and principles, this may be worth looking into. Decluttering – if it’s been on your mind for awhile and you just haven’t had the time, now is a wonderful opportunity. For the hoarders out there, just remember that a lot what you’ve purchased may need to be discarded eventually through food expiration/waste, lack of space in the home, or sheer ability to individually utilize 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. If you have extra toothpaste, canned or other goods, consider donating and helping others.
  • House cleaning and projects. The lightbulb that needs to be replaced. The wood that needs to be sealed. The niggling list of to-dos can be dealt with during this time of self-quarantine.
  • Checking in with family and friends more. Calling or video chatting with your parents and siblings, even if you can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, or birthdays in-person together. Speaking of birthdays, if you have a friend who has a birthday during this time, offer to have food from a favorite restaurant delivered to them (you’d be helping a small business too!) and to yourself; then have lunch together, via video-conference.
  • Mental health. Keep your hands clean and your head clean. How many people say, “I need to meditate more” but never do? Lots. So start with 5 minutes or use an app (Headspace is quite popular). How else can we improve mental health during this time? We can still go outside and walk in nature. Listen to music, positive podcasts. Your mental diet matters just as much as your physical diet, though the food you eat will also impact your mood and cognition. If you have fur babies, give them extra cuddles and both of you will feel better. Consider a ratio of 1:2 for your mental ‘food’ intake. For every 10 minutes of reading terrible news stories, meditate for 20. Read an inspiring novel; watch baby bunny or funny animal video compilations.
  • Sleep. All of the sleep-deprived ‘zombies’ out there, this is for you. If you are working from home, that’s an automatic 1-2 hour time savings from driving in traffic five times per week. You’ve just gained 5-10 hours a week that you can put towards sleeping more. Score!  If you’re still going to the office or aren’t currently able to work, routine is still important to keep up and sleep is foundational to good health. Prioritize this as much as possible.
  • Netflix or new hobby? There is room for both. Have a Pinterest board of recipes to explore? Pick one or two and have an adventure. As a friend pointed out, a lot of the Standard American Diet (read: S.A.D.) is what is missing from the shelves but the ethnic foods were still amply stocked. Experiment with some miso, mirin, nori in a Japanese stirfry or asafoetida in your Indian or Mexican cuisine. Have a shelf full of books? Pull one out and read for an evening. Want to make your own lip balm and bodycare? Learn about herbs, personal finance, computer programming?  Thank the internet gods for still working and get going on your chosen syllabus. Netflix has its place – it can be great to get swept into a silly, romantic comedy series where all the conflicts are neatly tied up at the end. Or you could watching documentaries about tragic events in the past (e.g. the Holocaust, Titanic, etc) and thank your lucky stars that you never had to endure those events; it can put help put things into perspective.
  • Skill-building. Always wanted to learn to cook or can? There’s a cookbook, Pinterest Pin or app for it. If you’ve been laid off, there are things you can do to bolster your resume. Learn graphic design, take an online course, practice time management as you look for jobs (and for those of you working from home). Learn another language. One of our medical patient’s goals is to be able to converse in French by the time this coronavirus has started to fade into public memory – it’s a positive goal she has to better herself and use this time well.
  • Take care of your health now. There’s something you know you could be doing that you haven’t done yet. Whether that’s sleep, meditation, learning how to cook (or cook healthier), taking walks or working out at home, stopping smoking, or actually practicing managing your stress, choose one thing and work from there. Remember, though coronavirus is an acute disease which can kill, we still have the big three ‘killer’ chronic diseases to continue to contend with: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They may not seem as dramatic as Covid-19 right now, but we can take steps to address them, while improving our immune systems, during this time.

Remember, we will all be called to account for our behavior during this time. Would you like to be able to, truthfully, say you one of the zombie hoarders or one of the brave helpers

Actions speak louder than words so put into play one or more of these suggestions mentioned above and you will emerge from this cocoon-time having a clean, uncluttered, updated abode with routines in place for the future. You’ll open the front door and be ready to embrace opportunities in your business or obtain a new job with your impressive resume. Crawl out of your chryalis not as an unfit coach potato, but a creature who is stronger and fitter, competent and skilled, a confident, vibrantly healthy and attractive better-you butterfly. Now is the time. Choose wisely….

 

…..we so badly wanted to put a gif from the Indiana Jones’ movie Temple of Doom but resisted :D.

Works Cited

(1) Health Resources & Services Administration. The “Loneliness Epidemic.” https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic

(2) Neil Howe. “Millennials and the Loneliness Epidemic.” 3 May 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2019/05/03/millennials-and-the-loneliness-epidemic/#430350127676

10 Ways to Increase Body Love

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A recent interview with a journalist brought more to light about the importance of body positivity and how to practice accepting and loving our bodies. Part of the work we do here is not about nutrition at all. It’s about helping people see themselves, first as they really are, in that moment, and helping to change their mindset on the way to advancing to a more whole life. What does this involve? It involves treating yourself kindly and learning to be your own best friend. It involves respecting yourself and your body – in self-talk, with exercise & sleep, and how you feed it.

Here are 10 tips to increase love for you body; perhaps it will provide an ‘aha’ moment for you too, or at least encourage you to take a small moment and express gratitude for your earthly body.

  1. You’re in good company if the first thing you do in the mornings is hurl an insult at yourself. Many clients have shared the thoughts that run through their heads and there’s a similar thread of “oh great, I have bags under my eyes,” “ugh, my thighs are so fat! How did I let this happen?! Okay, now I really need to buckle down with my diet this week.” What kind of tone does this set for the day and your week? One of disappointment, temporary resolve, and self-loathing. Solution: 2 put-ups for every put-down. Every time you have negative self-talk, you have to say two good things about your body or personality.
  2. Remember that your body is the temple of your spirit; your body is also like a fancy car. How would you treat such objects? Surely any dirt in a temple would be cleaned up; surely you’d not put 87-grade fuel into a Porsche, right? Perhaps consider how you could show your body respect and reverence.
  3. Focus on how you Feel in your body, not just your appearance.
  4. Ask yourself why you are grateful for your body today. Were you blessed with the ability to dance to music? What about the ability to walk (remembering that not everyone can)? Are you grateful for your curly hair? Can you be glad you have strong thighs, even if they aren’t the size you’d like? Do you appreciate the beauty your eyes feast upon everyday; or merely appreciate that you Can see?
  5. Clothe yourself comfortably and in a way that shows your self-respect. Wearing a giant tent of a t-shirt and stretchy gym pants can be part of a ‘depression uniform.’ By wearing a fashionable dress and highlighting your attractive features, you start feeling better about yourself…and that often leads to wanting to DO better for yourself (i.e. making a healthier choice)…which can lead to looking better.
  6. Treat your body like a baby. Honor your body’s needs and act accordingly. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. Don’t always push yourself so hard.
  7.  Write a love note. You’ve likely done it for others; now it’s time to catalog some of those qualities you adore about yourself. Keep them handy for days when you’re feeling less-than-stellar.
  8. Forgive yourself everyday for one thing you didn’t do perfectly (i.e. eating a cookie or two, or a sleeve of them).
  9. Remember: hindsight is 20/20. When you’re 70 or 80, you’ll probably look at photos of yourself and think you were hot stuff. Why don’t we try on that perspective now?
  10. Besides your physical appearance, do you have certain attributes or character traits that you admire about yourself? Perhaps you make others laugh easily, are a great leader or writer, are an expert paddle-boarder or French cook. Sometimes appreciating the beauty inside helps us connect with it on the outside.

BONUS: Your body LOVES you. Every cell in your body is working to keep you alive and well. It’s your ally, not enemy. Why be at war with it?

You can check out the full article 20 Ways to Have a More Positive Body Image and a very fitting blog about this same topic from a couple of years back!