Think creative, think cash, and think health. Times are tough …. the phrase “ah shucks!” Is a farm-based word equivalent to “oh shame” or “darn”…. thought of it today as I shucked peas — meaning remove the outside —to put them in the freezer. It is strawberry season so pick those as also gaining beta carotene and vitamin C with low-fat Loquat (in Greek “mousmoula” μούσμουλα). All Seasonal foods! Think health.
Now that we have a bit more time and maybe saved some money 💰 from not going out …while not making money due to pay cuts or unemployment, we have to think smart. It’s part of our financial literacy. Think cash.
Being a part of free Zoom talks like one I recently participated in with storytelling can help keep your mind busy keep social as well as share in gratitude. We need to flourish rather than relish in self-pity. Support each other.
Lately I’ve been giving new meaning to the line “playing with food” getting ideas from Pinterest or beyond ….Think creative.
Think creative, think cash, think seasonal and think healthliteracy!
Create out of boredom — Lockdown may not be the “introvert’s paradise” as once thought according to a recent MIT technology review. Since librarians tend to be more introverted, they actually took the time to put all these books in order … wow, that’s crazy !
Transform our lives — Some think it’s crazy to “live” more from our internet connections than be “in touch” with the real world. A lot can be said about this… it seems the Matrix is becoming a closer reality. Scary. Several articles are written about how things will be “different” and how we need to transform our thinking (see April VOXarticle featured in Apple News). Though I did like the idea of change in the context of young people building resilience by building educational partners, presented by Harvard Professor Gil Noam who represents the PEAR Institute.
Dreams — It was just a dream. I thought I was losing my mind when I was holding and reading an upside down newspaper written in hieroglyphics, while all these cars were leaving a parking lot quicker than I could count to ten. It is as if Walmart or Public were having a sell-out. I woke up realizing that this was a lucid dream and it is not unlike what people have been reporting they experience due to Covid19 (see National Geographicarticle)
Health illiteracy — I realize how much people follow their leader but to the point of over 100 people calling in a hotline in Maryland (US) asking for the medicine that Trump prescribed? That is absolutely nuts, …see article in Business Insider. Definitely shows how health illiterate and outright dangerous people can be. Guess what people ? They’ve cut the chloroquine studies short due to safety concerns so please don’t go there!
Funny dances in home. I mimicked something from this Fortnite character called “Deadpool”. Well at least Fortnite is trying to promote physical activity! or how about doing a line dance or better yet a “line” dance as you are on hold for those 30 minutes waiting to get your order in… the experience can be exhausting and then when it arrives the quality is questionable….
Business and socializing — two sides of the coin. It turns out that constant online work is exhausting . However if you space things right you’ll be less crazy and more happy as it’s a “coping” tool. I had TWO online friend meetings in one day. Coffee ☕️ by day and Champagne 🍾 by night! Hey it might be one of my only Friday eves I actually “found” time. Yes we know our brain is tired from those little screens …. use Zoom to your benefit! We had a friend’s meeting with champagne or wine in our favorite crystal glasses. Time zone difference did not matter. One friend was baking her awesome cookies while another celebrated her teen son’s birthday (mind you he was having another party with his friends on-line I’m the room next door). Then there are those ZOOM parties and how to host them…..
Caution Caution no health literacy alert! Be careful what you drink….
“Oh we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy “… lyrics of SEAL “Crazy” hit me every day as we are almost at almost 2 months of lockdown. Some crazy 😜 tips to help your days …like we did and still more to come . Oh yeah my fish “Tiko” has a new bodyguard in the form of a nutty bird …
In all seriousness now. It is almost two months later in Lockdown. We are doing our best despite the long-term economic “slaps” we have been given, especially by the EU! This latest Bloombergarticle talks about the “humbled Greeks” teaching the world about lockdown and Covid19. OR is it a bit of “learned helplessness”? Despite constant “punches” resilience building dictates that for us to survive we need to have health literacy!
The country’s HLS-EU data dictates that half of the people are considered health literate though there are declines in the over 50 years old groups and those less educated groups (no surprise). Thus why reading about aging and caretaking can take it’s toll….. check out the book chapter in the International Handbook of Health Literacy!
LOVE THOSE PETS, The flowers, the hair! I am in with the creative genius Antigone D… thinking of some good stuff to share with you in the near future…
Who would have thought the post about the outbreak of Coronavirus last January would have quickly lead to our social distancing and obsessive cleaning, and toilet paper hoarding. Our sense of trying to make sense of economic disaster, among other conspiracy theories, are all seemingly science fiction now come to life and talk of an Orwellian “1984”. All because of microscopic Coronavirus CoVID-19. And this my friends is NO JOKE.
March was national month in the U.S. for Colorectal Cancer, Kidney Disease, Nutrition, and Tuberculosis, and on the mental health side, awareness for self-harm. In the U.K. this was the month for Ovarian and Prostate Cancer. And internationally, March was Red Cross Month… a critical need at this point in time. Around the world we are seeing short-staffed, overworked healthcare workers, hospitals, and we wonder what about us? Can we follow the rainbow, as we continue to build on building health literacy about disease, pandemics, and help people reduce complications to disease through health education such as continued ‘smoke free’ efforts?
Starting last March to the beginning of this year I was working with a past dental student to educate 5th and 6th graders about not starting to smoke, becoming smoke-free communities, appropriately talking about health benefits including healthy teeth (April is Oral Health month). This year it will be very different, as we will offer a similar lecture via e-learning.
On the bright side, it has given me the opportunity to tie-in the COVID-19 issue with people quitting now, for healthier outcomes. I am giving a lecture “Are you Ready to Quit?” to a group of over 50 participants, and I could not possibly find so many participants to ‘make time’ under normal living situations…sad but true. That little critter ‘corona’ virus has made us slow down….. so much so that we will all be at least 3 kilos overweight this summer for lack of exercise (even walking)!
So now for my opportunity to educate you about increasing your Omega-3s with some good fish (not just vitamins) as that Nordic favorite, Bacalao. Love that vowel-filled word “bakalao” (Bakaliaro – μπακαλιάρο in Greek) a salt-preserved fish. Now that we are all on lock-down, we are going in for those freezer reserves.. we pulled our salted friend from the freezer and de-salted it by emerging it into water overnight, just in time for the traditional meal for Independence Day in Greece March 25th. Baked in a “plaki” style dish [Recipe sample] or fried with a milky type dough [Argyro’s recipe], are great for Bacalao… but of course be mindful of any food allergies you have.
Last year we were free of disease, and posted about free-floating flags and community health as signs of “allegiance” which is good and needed to survive in times of crisis. Living it now with COVID-19, a semi-unknown “enemy”. Little Coronavirus or COVID-19 caused a “butterfly effect” where we are forced to STOP and take a good look at ourselves, and for some of us plunge into our fundamental Maslow-type need for basic necessities. An article on what would Freud say about our hoarding of toilet paper in The New Yorker is priceless.
Two sides of a coin?
Sure we are all losing money, but think, some are making money (OK you can start on the conspiracy theories and the pharmaceutical industry!).
Too much screen time and kids in the house gaming all day. Also an opportunity to try something new, even something old like play cards or checkers, keep your distance.
Be vigilant about cleaning and leaving our shoes at the door. But also an opportunity to “gather within” and DO your Spring cleaning or go a bit beyond Spring cleaning….
Worries about having enough, but what about Less is more ? You can finally clean out all the food from your cabinets and freezers to make space for more. And if a neighbor doesn’t have spaghetti how about lending a hand? oh yes. And learning a new recipe online !
“I have nothing to do”, really ? All this off- or online stuff just makes for a brief adjustment. Maybe we all NEED to slow down. Busy streets are silent and we can actually hear the birds and see more fish 🐟 in non-murky waters now.
Take care of your plants. Try talking to your plants, walking up and down your balcony or a quick jog around the house …. note: if your plants talk back to you, then it is time to call in that mental health hotline!
Those poor pets are exhausted during lockdown…. dear Sylvie here had her daily fill of walking, she’s not even my dog! All animals teach us that they love unconditionally. She does not care if we pet her WITH or without our gloves …and yes it is important during this time to at least walk in open spaces at least 2 meters away (about 6.5 feet) for 30 minutes at least 4 times a week on good days (for many of us living in lockdown, SMS is required).
You will always be free, a temporary situation will not take that away. Most people get angry because they are inconvenienced or stuck in old patterns of thinking. They are impatient. Maybe it’s time to LEARN to adjust to change. Try Participating in Zoom or TEAMS e-platforms. On the other hand, get away from the screen and read some poetry about those little things that matter.
Your loved ones will make it through and better care for themselves during this time. So, you won’t be in perfect shape this summer or maybe you will with strengthening exercises like yoga and meditation. Self-care is vital and this includes getting support!
Take care of our personal health, as our governments try to adjust to constantly changing data, and the unknown. Enjoy that wine or beer in moderation (Mind the Cup!). Why not have it be a Corona a great Mexican beer as we don’t want them losing business! Do we?
At no other time have we needed to “bear the storm” to take a good look at ourselves and see the tragedy of the Global connectedness of the COVID-19 and the possibilities for a new way of thinking. It even came out in my cards (Qcards that is).
Somewhere over the rainbow as sung by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz is timeless ….a dreamer is always that. At a cognitive level having a strong imagination makes for a healthy mind if one keeps it “sharp enough”.
Thus why we need to exercise our body and mind. In times of stress we all need to find creative outlets to keep us far away from negativity of “darknesses” whether these are bad eating habits, bad relationships, or bad community energy. Especially now! I enjoy this video and audio from Riya Sokol who “thanks” the Coronavirus (See link).
We need humor and support, meditation and prayer for mental health, need to eat all the colors of the nutritional rainbow (or take great quality supplements like vitamin C, D, E, or Omega -3 like Nutrilitebrand) if we want to stay healthy.
Many crave sweets 🍭 and some of this is emotional eating …. the latest CNN news brief got into what to do about craving carbs? Remember the power of those chestnuts 🌰 or those little kumquats? It’s fine to eat some chocolate or ice cream but we need to keep to the balance with available healthy foods or even vitamins. As a matter of fact building up our immune system is vital in preventing flu or other communicable disease. Especially in times of stress!
Before the “stay home” times on a cloudy rainy day a rainbow 🌈 popped up…and stayed there for a good 15 minutes. Even when I encountered the negative messages or red graffiti writing of “hate” μίσος (misos) in Greek. It is time to reflect and to change both personally and globally. To take personal and community responsibility.
It’s easy to get lost in all the negative energy but you need to be a transformer. You can learn to take action against the negative energy and take on some positive cause and be like the beautiful rose of winter. Yes we have a lot to do and we MUST support our medical and public health infrastructure. I see this as an opportunity to:
Be creative — Play music for your neighbors or sing 🎶. All those great old songs by the Italians on their balconies are such a gift of strength and inspiration. Try to learn a new recipe and look at the food supply you already have as it’s not so easy to rush out to the supermarket! Draw in one of those destress books. New games with the kids — we started board games again! Learn about your family history. Sew again, make some masks for the health workers (see Forbes article) knit that sweater…. on your balcony for some extra sun and vitamin D!
Understand social distancing — it does not mean isolation. It’s been reported that introverts are being more active by necessity via e-platforms and extroverts are learning to focus more within. Stars are helping spread the stay home 🏡 motto thank you!
Increase health literacy — for your skills building for nutrition, self-care, home cleaning (see SELF article, and Spring cleaning and Kondo’s method), and community health. We already have with videos on Coronavirus especially on how disease spreads and to not overburden the public infrastructure. I especially like this one Coronavirus explained.
Be less selfish — at the supermarket (do you really need more than 3 sets of toilet paper? why not use less to begin with ?!). Do we really need to pollute so much ? The noise reduction and emissions from cars and trucks have gone down so much people are seeing clear skies, fish 🐟, hearing the birds singing! Folks the earth 🌍 CAN survive without us but can you survive without her?
As Dolly Parton in her southern belle matter-of-fact voice once said
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:
Wash hands, clean common areas and wipe off door handles, phones, light switches with alcohol.
Follow classes, liturgy, talk to friends, e-banking on-line.
** Do EVERYTHING we can to boost our immune systems **
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!
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!
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?
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 👏!
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.
“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”!
Get the facts stored in your head right! These days of constant misinformation you need to get trusted sources. I’m calling this the “urn” of health literacy ….look at past history, collective knowledge and speak up for your health! It’s critical in periods of pandemic diseases like the CoVID19 (Coronavirus) we get the right info like this from the Toronto Doctor Peter Lin (video “Get the Facts”)
“To be or not to be an urn”, a vessel used as storage in the ancient world to decor in our days…exquisite craftsmanship. A source of beauty by day or night. But the “urn” as a metaphor is your storage for health information and increasing your health literacy !
On the island of Corfu (or “Kerkyra” as we say in Greek) there is a tradition of throwing various ceramic vessels out of one’s window or balcony to celebrate Easter commemorative of Jesus‘ overcoming death via the resurrection. I know I’m all about “safety first” with this one ….staying out of the way of its fall.
How functional they are and practical in nature? This artisan on the isle of Naxos turn pieces of clay into works of art.
But this time we cannot afford another crack…raise your health literacy today and help others too!
Today is a special day because as a “palindrome” date which apparently only come around every 900+ years! As a matter of fact 02/02/20 was another one. Some people believe in this so much they got married on this date, others sign special papers for better luck, let’s play the lottery! Superstition is an interesting topic in its own rite as some people may be affected even in their health outcomes so keep in mind Superstition & Health (post)
February 22 is World Thinking Day for the Girl Scouts! They celebrate equity, diversity, and inclusion which are so important for young girls worldwide….and since some of us love Girl Scout cookies a reminder of those goodies too!
Companies are smart about marketing and send tailored messages and gifts like free coffee (thanks Starbucks). Happy birthday 🎂🎉 to us then! Note historical and popular figures: U.S. President George (Washington), Actress Drew (Barrymore), Outback wild animal handler Steve (Irwin), Founder of Toastmasters clubs Ralph Smedley.
One thing likely in common is public speaking, empathy, leadership, positive thinking and community building! Let’s continue these qualities and keep special traditions going.
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 MagazineFeb. 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!
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 Gabrielle–Suzanne 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…
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 , dosomething about it, and yes social media is helpful to brainstorm ideas and raise funds.
Natural disasters are one thing, man made crisesare 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….