SAVOR weekly digest

What a difference a week can make! Our world is constantly changing and as always, our lives are filled with ups and downs. Delicious and painful impermanence. Such a dialectic. As we greet one other and each moment, a warm helping of mindful awareness and self-compassion goes a long way.

A reminder from last week’s digest about how I’m loosely organizing these posts into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR), to align content with The SAVOR Project’s mission:

  • HEAL supports mental health treatment and trauma recovery.
  • GROW is additional growth-oriented resources, to include art, social justice, therapeutic horticulture, and mindfulness practices.
  • SAVOR because positive emotions boost overall health.

Please keep in mind, as always, that you can save these digests for a later time because they’ll often contain a dizzying array of resources – kind of like a big meal you can’t expect to eat all at once, so save some of what follows for “leftovers,” to be enjoyed at your own pace.

HEAL:

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the impact of trauma, as it relates to mind/body health and our responses (individually and collectively) to the crises unfolding in our world. In a conversation with a psychologist colleague recently, we discussed how the research on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) is gradually making its way throughout the field of healthcare and also how our understanding of what constitutes an “adverse” experience continues to evolve, to include intergenerational poverty and systemic racism. If you haven’t viewed this TED talk video by pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who is now the Surgeon General of California, I’d recommend it:

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Life is like a bucket of worms

A statement perhaps more apt during this past year (depending upon your experience of 2020, your perspective on our creepy-crawly garden friends, and/or whether you’re taken up gardening during the pandemic).

Worms are essential players in our soil’s ecosystem, improving aeration and breaking down organic matter into castings (otherwise known as worm poop), which are a rich source of nutrition for plants. Call me crazy, but I think worms are super cool. There’s a load of things I can’t stomach in our world right now, but I can hang with worms. Worms don’t require social distancing, and they don’t pitch a fit, or assign you more chores, or post comments on your feed that are cringe-worthy. They just eat garbage, and poop…pretty much the whole relationship. Like I said, pretty cool.

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SAVOR weekly digest

Welcome to the new SAVOR digest – an appetizer plate of what I’ve taken in or discovered* over the past week, gleaned from research, community resources, and current events.

I’m now loosely organizing content into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR), to better align content with The SAVOR Project’s mission:

  • HEAL supports mental health treatment and trauma recovery.
  • GROW are additional healing modalities, to include art, social justice, therapeutic horticulture, and mindfulness practices.
  • SAVOR because we know that #takeinthegood and positive emotions boost overall health.
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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 other’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.