SAVOR weekly digest

Throughout January 2021, I’ll post a weekly random collection of resources elevating a therapeutic connection with nature and/or food, along with behavioral health tips designed to improve mind/body health, drawn from current research, recent news, and my two decades of experience in the fields of mindfulness-based programs and clinical psychology.

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Gardening heals

Still crafting one or two resolutions for the New Year? Don’t forget to consider time in nature – and specifically, tending to your own garden (no matter the size), as a healthcare strategy. Even if you’ve been gardening for decades, as I have, you’ll find that each season offers new lessons and rewards.

Check out a few of the following articles exploring how gardening positively impacts mind/body health:

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Feast on your life

A favorite poem that I like to read aloud at the beginning of each year:

Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the otherโ€™s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984.

APA addresses farmer stress

In case you missed this information, which I shared on social media earlier this fall, the American Psychological Association has been focusing explicitly on supporting farmers and farmworkers, both during this pandemic year and beyond.

Many of us – and especially frontline workers, might find these stress management resources helpful, as well.

Mindful eating for families

These days, many school-aged families are juggling remote learning schedules with other demanding work/life responsibilities, so finding time to enjoy regular meals together can be difficult. As the working parent of a fifth grader with special needs, I get it. Really, I do. The good news is that mindful eating requires only a few minutes, at most, in order to reap its benefits. Mindful eating practices can gradually be integrated into your family’s day – and provide you with a chance for your own short-and-sweet version of “recess.” Because play is good for adult mind/body health, too.

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APA Explores Nature Boost

Check out this April 2020 article from the American Psychological Assocation, on the positive benefits of nature exposure. From its summary:

  1. “Spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health and emotional well-being.
  2. Feeling connected to nature can produce similar benefits to well-being, regardless of how much time one spends outdoors.
  3. Both green spaces and blue spaces (aquatic environments) produce well-being benefits. More remote and biodiverse spaces may be particularly helpful, though even urban parks and trees can lead to positive outcomes.”

Especially in the midst of these difficult times, connect with nature – virtually or in person, even for a few moments, at least several times per week if possible.

Excerpt – inquiry into hunger

Below you’ll find a short clip from a previous SAVOR Thursdays webinar, exploring mindfulness of hunger.

This Thursday I’ll be featuring a slideshow of community gardens and some of my own edible garden highlights, as we review the recent growing seasons here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll also touch briefly on the value of teaching children about the different growing seasons, to plant seeds of food wisdom in our next generation of food citizens and mindful eaters.

And next week, I’ve changed the schedule to offer a popular topic for my last free webinar of the Fall – back by popular demand, Mindful Eating for Families. Don’t miss it!

Additional resources for CHTA attendees

While I won’t include my full Powerpoint from this morning’s presentation, Digging into Our Food and Amending Our Soil with Mindful Eating, below you’ll find a few snapshots of slides we weren’t able to go into due to time constraints, highlights worth reviewing, and follow-up to several much-appreciated questions.

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Feast on your life

In an episode of On Being, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction founder Jon Kabat-Zinn (one of my first teachers as a new mindfulness-based psychotherapist) reads aloud Feast on Your Life, by the acclaimed poet Derek Walcott.

I thought of this poem while I making final updates to my Mindful Eating presentation for the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association’s annual conference tomorrow.

I hope you enjoy the poem. Better yet, please savor it. Remember to “take in the good,” including self-compassion, in all areas of your life – including with food.