Taking the risk or putting on the mask ?

The UK initially approached the CoVID-19 as a “herd mentality” the idea hat we will all get it and some will survive while others not… what do you think about that? Especially if your culture has a lot more intergenerational interactions — like the Mediterranean! Would you take the risk ? It turns out a large part of risk has to do with self-efficacy and the “can I do something about it?” mentality to include “is it easy for me to do?”

There are 5 easy things we CAN do:

  1. Wash hands, clean common areas and wipe off door handles, phones, light switches with alcohol.
  2. Be careful of being around large groups of people (social distancing)
  3. Follow classes, liturgy, talk to friends, e-banking on-line.
  4. ** Do EVERYTHING we can to boost our immune systems **
  5. Stay Home as much as we can! Continue to help vulnerable populations — those older or with chronic health issues stay home 🏡! Our social marketing campaigns run often and seem to be working slowly for now. Harder but necessary to do with kids…especially common areas like beaches, parks.

Due to a recent case in the public news station ERT (ΕΡΤ) now the journalists are working either off line, at a distance physically, and even wearing gloves as we see here the journalist fixing his glasses. This particular news was focusing on reminding people to not go to church and certainly not take communion as those asymptomatic could easily affect others!

“Open” News with Pappadopoulos
  • About wearing gloves and a mask — it seems that the ones with the dust filter are best, but of course we need to wear it right . I’ve seen people cover their mouth only, NOT! There are the overpriced ones and of course panic as some may “not have” one !
  • How about making masks? I loved this link from Deaconess Hospital 🏥

One Greek newspaper actually gave a free mask to its readers while the article cover reads “biological warfare: the Coronavirus”…. worthy of 2€ rather than paying 6+ euros in some pharmacies or the black market! Well the newspaper was nothing special but we now have an extra one since pharmacies do not!

Remember to wash hands before putting it on!

Biowarfare is not new concept, despite what we’ve been told, and this possibility of “getting in the wrong hands” is no scenario from the movie Twelve Monkeys. We’ve known since 1999! It shouldn’t shock us when the Bill Gates Foundation is giving money for a potential vaccine (no they didn’t “create” the 🦠 virus !)

It is understood that we have a lot of people and governments interested in the idea of unethical or “dark” science? I mean we get this even from stories of dark magic — think Harry Potter and the “dark lord” Voldemort, or the dark wizard.

Notable to viruses or diseases are similar words used even with the devil or Lucifer as it seems. We have archetypes and descriptors like the You-Know-Who, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, etc. I wonder if one day we can all “joke” about this millennial plague ? Thus the cartoon festured here is priceless!

Let’s support our medical and public health personnel in all they do to keep everyone healthy and understand all the difficult circumstances. In Portugal and Greece we recently stood outside our balconies for 5 minutes at night to 👏 clap in thanks!

In closing, would you trust your politician if they took the chance? No thanks for that one Boris …. let’s take a look at our personal habits and keep talking prevention shall we?

Star “Power” Social Distancing & CoVID-19

These are tough weeks worldwide with COVID-19 rising death tolls as all market sectors are affected. An unlucky Friday the 13th as several Forbes articles are predicting a range of problems from technology to delays in college applications.

Health messages can be very powerful if they come from well-known sports figures, local and international movie stars. We need this on a daily basis if we are to motivate change in stopping the transmission of viruses like the Coronavirus, also known as CoVID-19.
ife Rita Wilson who have contracted social stigma (reminds many of the first years of HIV in the 80s and 90s).

Tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas did a brilliant for public service announcement for the Hellenic (Greek) Ministry of Health with the directive to “sing Happy Birthday to You” 2 times as you wash your hands! Besides being an Orlando Bloom look-alike, talented sportsman, he has a great career as a public health communicator! Go Stefanos! Many efforts are made to increase awareness of how the disease can affect all sectors and e-learning may help curb the issue at least from school – college.

Local stars in Greece like Sakis Rouvas who are promoting the “Stay Home” for 2 weeks movement. We say that as long as stars “practice what they preach” they can reach millions much more than any politician …though the current Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is doing a very good job with communicating risk. In times of critical incidents how political figures and governments “handle” situations either builds or breaks trust. Mr. Mitsotakis you’re doing a good job with tough historical issues — one side the migrant crisis and hybrid war and on the other the virus 🦠 and the economic recovery, Bravo 👏!

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Speaking of inspiration and stars ⭐️ here is
an open-air “cafe” moment, before the ‘lock-down’, with my friend Antigone D. who creates amazing Electronica music ranging from epic classics to 80s 90s with the magic of her keyboard…. Check out her single “Electro Infinity” from the album Next Generation on YouTube.

Best to keep our distance and no excess show of affection like kisses 💋 and handshakes 🤝 which were a historical “given” in almost all Mediterranean cultures. But as a more recent Guardian article seems to suggest, we are evolving our social etiquette from handshakes, to using elbows and footshakes, during this critical time.

Hands off we say with Antigone D.!

“It’s over now the music of the night…” 🎶 as is sung by the Phantom in one of my favorite plays The Phantom of the Opera ….or is it!? Yes, bars and restaurants will close for 2 weeks to promote the “Stay Home” 🏠 Movement for prevention. But we can still be smart and enjoy shows via video and livestream to eventually close the chapter of another Deadly vires.

Be smart and be patient friends, social distancing is “in”!

Lovin’ That little Kumquat

Loving those little kumquats all year long

Lovin’ is in the air, likely “Eros” the god of love or that little Cupid is creating so much confusion …. even at the world level the Coronavirus has been renamed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization that apparently is a “bit chaotic” as the virus causes the disease but nomenclature creates communication problems (see Science Magazine Feb. 2020 article).

In our attempts to keep healthy by preventing disease or flu we need to keep the immune system healthy. So let’s see if a vitamin C packed little squirt with an exotic name can do the trick? The little orange “Kumquat” gives us a powerful punch that we LOVE 💕

Kumquat in winter can be enjoyed all season long whether in raw, sweet, baked or liquor form. From Europe to the Americas it’s quite popular among food circles and traditions. The first time I encountered those little odd-shaped orange fellas I was in Florida and still recall that bittersweet taste. Years later I would travel to the island of Corfu (or Kerkyra), where kumquat is “queen” as one of the favored liqueurs is traditionally made and trees can be found everywhere.

It is such an impressive bittersweet taste one can eat them whole or slice them up in salads , candied, or with meat dishes the Chefs choices are exquisitely delicious and nutritious. Check these facts out:

  • high in fiber and good for diabetics or those with pre-diabetes especially in winter months when everyone needs to add more fruit and vegetables in their diets!
  • as citrus naturally high in vitamin C, with small amounts of vitamin B and E, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. And since one can eat their small seeds whole kumquats provide a small amount of omega-3 fats
  • their essential oil can be used in household cleaning products as the aroma can help freshen a stale room and create a positive atmosphere (check out the plant therapy site).

My dear readers sending you hugs and love 💕 for this month and always, being grateful to friends who sent cards and wishes from near and far. Keep healthy and be lovin’ those kumquats!

A rose in winter

If a rose is full of thorns, it does not mean it’s not full of beauty……Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.

Quotes by Matshona Dhliwayo

One of my favorite books turned Disney success was “Beauty and the Beast.” The original French Fairy tale titled La Belle et la Bête, was written by French novelist GabrielleSuzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740, a time of great tumult and revolution in Northern Europe, and the beginning of what some termed the “great awakening” for the colonial North Americans who eventually rebel 30+ years later…

Perhaps we like the story because of the ideal of love and kindness of the heroine Belle turning over the well educated yet harsh beast into a handsome, well-mannered prince (what many women may fantasize about with a crude partner, in addition to monogamy and other similar more positive traits….). More than this, her relationship with her kind father who in the middle of cold winter stopped to pluck the one beautiful red rose, I imagine similar to this one found on a post-snow day.

We don’t live in a castle, even though the temperature stood at 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7• Celsius), this fuchsia colored rose wanted to survive growing tall, wanting to reach the warmth of the winter sun. Standing alone, beautiful, bundled up in its petals as if saying, “take me into the warmth of your home.” Well, we all know the rest of the Fairytale story and we all love those winter holiday tales… and here is the health “twist”…

Are you caring for yourself and others who need you? Can you rethink monthly about your new year’s resolutions and take practical healthy steps towards this?

“Every rose has it’s thorn” was sung in that cowboy drawn accent by Guns-n-Roses and this last week has caused a lot of ‘thorny‘ subjects to come up. Range from the US – Middle East, all the way to the ecological disaster in Australia and all those helpless animals down under…. with every difficulty we grow stronger and there are always people (we know or foreign to us) who help, like the volunteer firefighter pictured here…

You make us proud

I don’t know who you are Sir, but THANK YOU for showing humanity, as many other people have risking their lives, while most of us sit in the comfort of our homes perhaps wondering what can we do? There are many agencies to donate to and of course we should be selecting those whom we think are honorable in their cause as well as reputable.

  • Maybe your parents are aging — this is a fact of life and so you need to adjust your own life as they will theirs — this indeed was one of the main reasons I wrote my Chapter on health literacy (Across the Lifespan Handbook). As the rose, we whither and pass on but our “scent” still remains, this is what we have contributed to the world of ‘beauty‘.
  • Maybe you are tired of always giving and “fixing” others. One comment I saw posted recently was that it is not “our job” to fix people or take them on as “projects”…. but I’d ask is it enough to TRY to show them the way? I recall one someone telling me about relationships to keep in mind — we all have baggage, but then it depends whether it’s carry-on or check-in.

Be realistic people, not just individualistic, we are supposed to work towards the collective good are we not? Move away from the anger of the ‘beast’; things can be prevented and helped if we care about people, our environment, our community, please ‘call a Spade ♠️ a spade‘ — say it like it is, don’t use empty or irrelevant words. Move beyond simple “likes” on FB , do something about it, and yes social media is helpful to brainstorm ideas and raise funds.

Natural disasters are one thing, man made crises are another. People become displaced in life and love, but people also learn to prevent based on lessons learned (example of one family & the Rafina 2018 fires, or the Boston Strong movements). ‘Thorns’ can be removed.

You may be called on intentionally or by accident to help others and your actions may be like the ONE beautiful rose of winter…. an unforgettable smell reminding you of the “hope” of Spring just a few months away. Don’t get stuck in darkness, heal your body and your spirit with good “food” (books and fairytales included) it only makes you stronger. Sweet and fragrant dreams….

Lifespan publication this month!

It’s here!  A year plus later, coming out this month….  very grateful to be given the opportunity to write a chapter in this book that one can purchase both hardcover or through Amazon Kindle.  The book published this month is the “International Handbook of Health Literacy: Research Practice and Policy across the Life-Span” Edited by Orkan Okan, Ullrich Bauer, and Paulo Pinheiro, Bielefeld University, Diane Levin-Zamir, University of Haifa, and Kristine Sørensen, Global Health Literacy Academy. Book description (insert):   

INTNLJHealthLit_Lifespan

Health literacy addresses a range of social dimensions of health including knowledge, navigation, communication as well as individual and organizational skills for accessing, understanding, evaluating and using of information. Especially over the past decade, health literacy has become a major public health concern globally as an asset for promoting health, wellbeing and sustainable development.

This comprehensive handbook provides an invaluable overview of current international thinking about health literacy, highlighting cutting edge research, policy and practice in the eld. With a diverse team of contributors, the book addresses health literacy across the life-span and offers insights from different populations and settings. Providing a wide range of major findings, the book outlines current discourse in the field and examines necessary future dialogues and new perspectives.

My own contribution includes many lessons taught via a lifespan course I have been teaching in Developmental Psychology these last 14+ years….. the life cycle. Chapter 41: A lifespan perspective on health literacy: Ageing and end-of-life issues, may not be anything particularly new, but we can age better, we acknowledge that we are now living longer, and dealing with many issues and life ‘decisions’ that affect our own health as well as those around us. We are all interconnected. Special cultural nuances and traditions can help us heal when dealing with loss, and we cannot ignore caring for ourselves.

A few summer ‘reminders’ from past posts before we head on to our next summer excursion (coming soon):

  • Consuming alcohol please ‘mind the cup‘ as we are toasting to our success with this textbook publication we need to hydrate our body and our soul this summer!
  • Eating choices, even our favorite summer ice cream… we can eat wisely to cool down this summer. Teaching both young and older people certain ‘tricks’ can help them live longer and happier. Snoopy, the famous beagle from Charlie Brown, is one of my fondest characters, thus we can add ‘heart health‘ on top of our checklist!
  • Protecting our skin — I often hear people who are darker complexioned say they don’t ‘need’ to wear sunscreen, actually this is not so. We all need to wear at least an SPF of 15 because of the change of our global phenomena (heat waves, etc.), and particularly if one is visiting very hot, dry places.  Several we have written about in past posts include the Greek Cycladic island of Naxos.
    • cleansing skin properly is one thing, taking vitamins to help keep up the production of collagen and keeping our skin levels hydrated is another, thus why I love Truvivity by Nutrilite (see: hydrating system)!IMG_2173
    • On the other hand, I am always unimpressed by products that seem to ‘do nothing’ like this one that eventually wound up in my recycle bin…. better to eat rosemary or make your own ‘rosemary oil’ to put on your skin than pay for a product that is seemingly useless (despite the fact that I supported the local economy).
  • Being mentally and spiritually astute — this should be on top of our list if we truly aspire to reach the mind-body-spirit ideals. This includes helping our caregivers understand that ‘self-care’ is absolutely necessary and paying attention to the messages we give to other people…. written, oral, body language.
    • Try a bit of ‘coloring’ fun this summer to help you deal with any annoyances (careful because if you are a bit ‘obsessive compulsive’ you cannot get unglued from finishing your drawing… very addictive).  Anyone try any of these fun adult coloring books? I really liked this article on “The Muse” about the ‘21 Best Adult Coloring Books‘ especially the fact that these help us in essence relive some aspects of our childhood imagination and for sure we all need that!

Thus I dedicate this to all of you…. happy end-of-month fun.

Make sure you take care, be smart, and be safe!

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Coloring in one of the pages of “Colour me Mindful – Underwater” by Anastasia Catris (c) 2015 was a lot of fun to do.

Strawberry Moon, Shortcake, and June

According to Native American tradition June was the perfect ripening time to pick strawberries by the full moonlight … since it’s also cooler in the evenings and less critters like bees, my guess is? The article by USA Today published last June 2018 suggests that the warm color of the moon as it is closer to the earth and the related folklore give the related “strawberry moon” reference.

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Full moon overlooks the cityscape

Buying my 1 kg. (about 2 lbs.) in-season June strawberries I was thinking about what desert to make  — despite the fact strawberries have one of the highest ratings of pesticide residue,  about 10 mins steeped in cold water with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a “pinch” of salt helps reduce this ‘bad for your health’ stuff according to experts —  In thinking along the healthier eating lines, we should try to reduce calories due to high sugar in most strawberry deserts. But how?  Then it comes to me…. as a kid I recall those “special occasions” with my aunt Dorothy who introduced me to so many “American” traditions including antique stores, the 4th of July Independence Day parade in the historic Marblehead, MA. complete with fireworks, barbecues, and yes, strawberry shortcake!

In the 1980s there was a greeting card that evolved into many cartoon characters who lived in “Strawberry Land” including friends Lemon Meringue and Blueberry Muffin (by the way I love those deserts too!). Apparently, this became popular again with a newer North American (Canadian – American) ownership and animated series in about 2010!  This desert is still an all-time classic. Growing into adulthood with all the pains and  needing to cut down on extra calories one can understand why it’s best to keep thoughts only on the cartoon’s “Berry Adventures” 😎🍓

So, I substituted the whipped cream with strained Greek yogurt and guess what? It is simply fabulous with that extra protein needed and less sugar calories. Yummy! Well,  I still like those strawberry daiquiris with my leftover strawberry sauce …maybe I’ll drink to that?! Cheers, and happy summer.

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Paper, “weight” I’m voting like a hamster

 

F9EEE044-8662-40C0-9C23-69342E8AE0CCHamsters are mainly nocturnal creatures that like to burrow in small places and live for cutting up paper and storing it as a way of creating a sleep cushion. This is Astroid our Syrian hamster…and his little rocket shaped home akin to Barbara Eden’s “I dream of Jeannie” bottle home. Our hamster gets plenty of exercise on his wheel and we even put him into a “hamster ball” for about 10 minutes twice a week for extra exercise ….after all animals naturally do what is best for them! But what about us? We often “spin our wheels” and get nowhere fast ….especially in the name of ‘progress.’

I had thought of it before I had to vote this year for the EU elections how ridiculously burdensome and outright confusing it is to vote in Greece. I better understand why the government can really be “hazardous” for our health — check out my ‘when systems don’t work’ post.  Speaking of ‘civic literacy’ as I pondered over the 42 different parties to choose from I realized

1) I didn’t know half of the parties running for office,  never mind unidentifiable logos and rebellious terminology such as “adarsia” (ανταρσία) was more often an option.

2) so much paper wasted —those poor landfills — and nothing is done electronically (yet),

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3) there was so much dirty tagging around the public school  grounds (the place I voted at) and even this silly “penis” series  …given it was a high school and students that age explore newfound  sexuality I guess we should not focus on the vandalism or call it “penis envy” (lol) ! EDC469DC-CDC0-4997-AD02-5A7890ACF5C7.jpegDo the municipalities and the school principals not understand about recycling? About teaching kids to “care” about their school grounds as well as each other ? Do I need to say more?! Why all the paper “weight”? Yet we “wait” too long to start building health literacy in our younger people?

I really liked the cover of the Quarterly magazine put out by the University of Athens ‘New Health’ (Νέα Υγεία) 84E66815-FEE4-4F0A-BE3B-0ACF042A1471so let’s turn a new page and focus on prevention like primary basic things to help kids build confidence and take better care of their bodies, and maybe rethink our waste for elections all for the good of health literacy shall we? Else we simply remain ‘in the dark.’