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….
A new year, a new you. Should the emphasis be on “new” or “renew”?
New Years Resolutions are very much a western idea, measurable goals if you will. The concept of “reflection” however, transcends many religious and spiritual traditions. What would you reflect on for the past year? Basic questions can include:
Did I learn from my successes and mistakes?
Have I changed at least one thing about my consumption habits that will lead to a better health outcome? (Diet, exercise, use of substances, financial spending)
Do I ask for help when I need it? (Social support, counseling, etc.)
Am I learning more about myself and others? Accepting those things I cannot change….
Do I better understand love, friendship, family, and society?
How often have I given thanks for what I have?
Have I visualized at least one goal that I managed to succeed at?
The above help one gain “insight” and it could be a habit each year to reflect using a journalabout what we accomplished during the previous year, and what we hope to accomplish or strive for in the next.
Some common goals like “exercise more” seem unattainable in the strict sense (e.g. join a gym, run a marathon) either for physical or monetary reasons or life circumstances. If you focus on what you’ve done and congratulate yourself for persistence and alternative course of action it’s more effective than being unreasonably hard on yourself. Work toward “renewing” your outlook. Even Forbes Magazine had a set of New Year’s Resolutions to focus more on the ‘we’ and less on the ‘me’… what our overly narcissistic culture needs to be reminded of!
Examining patterns of behaviors will help you recognize them faster. We often think that we will remember everything but our memory deludes us, think “false memories.” It is most useful to write things down as your pattern may become more obvious — that “aha!” moment. Think about these issues:
Financial health — do you continuously spend more than you earn? We’re not saying starve here, or not “treat” yourself to something nice like a good bottle of wine, a fancy dinner, a new shirt or dress. BUT, do you really need to buy caviar and champagne, or the most expensive shoes for that night out? The basic rules most financially responsible families pass on to their children are:
track what you spend your money on
pay for necessities (for your health, food, insurance)
don’t rely on credit (pay off debts)
invest (start with your time, create ideas, start small think bigger) and reinvest (training and education).
Physical health – Can you modify some things? Take public transport and walk longer distances as this will help you get more in shape and notice things you would otherwise miss if you were driving! I often observe architecture and stores, take photos!
One night I walked 2 miles in the cold from the metro/subway in the middle of the Moonlit night….crisp January nights can offer one the most amazing ‘star’ features, you just need to be aware of your surroundings (and any stray dogs).
Relationship health — Do your relationships fulfill most of your needs? This includes friendships as well as romantic relationships (are these ‘needs’ realistic…. not narcissistic?). The key here is, do these people enhance you overall? are these people well-intended or do they drain you? (if they are toxic to your health think about setting some limits) Are you able to forgive and put your ego aside and apologize when it is needed?
People come into your life to offer something, teach you something, share something. The Eurythmics song “Sweet Dreams” says it best — some of them want to use you, some of them want to get used by you, some of them want to abuse you, some of them want to be abused… keep your head up!
There are many articles about healthy relationships which includes
supporting each other, open or improving communication, reducing our expectations (too many romance novels or unrealistic movie experiences of ‘romance’ or ‘love’ may add to unrealistic expectations — do you really think you will fall in love with someone you meet at a bar? rarely happens…),
keeping our bodies safe (no abuse/violence – check out the Duluth Model “Power and Equality Wheels”, preventing STDs/STIs/HIV by using condoms every time you have sex, getting annual check-ups like pap smears).
Many people afraid to even take one basic step into the sea of a more fulfilling ‘relationship’ often let their lives pass them by… they are so afraid of being ‘hurt’ again, they simply shut down and close off any chances of love.
A very useful book about this was written by a Rabbi, “Why Can’t I Fall in Love? A Twelve-Step Program” to get you to think about your patterns — do you often pick the ‘wrong’ people, do you sabotage your relationships, do you think everyone is not perfect or you’re too picky? have you closed yourself off to love?
A great movie (the book is better) on the reality of our self, potential limitations, and sometimes luck in finding love is “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. The emphasis for me on mindfulness, and especially allowing yourself indulgences like food without guilt, dressing for yourself and not others, are very important in a society obsessed with perfection… and no, you don’t need to travel to Indonesia, India, or hike the Himalayan mountains to find peace. Then again the experience of seeing truth ‘in front of us’ sounds a bit like Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist.
Spiritual health — Do you feel you have a place in the world? Do you feel you have a healthy relationship with God? (even agnostics or atheists in times of trouble may question if there is something ‘more’, and we know from research that those with a spiritual foundation fare better long-term in terms of their health outcomes). The turning point for me was meeting renowned cosmologists and physicists who in essence are scientists, they also understand there is something greater, we are all interconnected, we simply need to ‘notice’ more and work together. For counselors and for self-improvement I recommend Scott Peck and Thomas Moore books. My favorites are: “The Road Less Traveled” by Psychiatrist Scott Peck, M.D. and “Care of the Soul” by a former monk turned psychologist, Thomas Moore. For healing trauma, see Edward Tick, Ph.D. books based on ancient rituals of healing such as “The Practice of Dream Healing: Bringing Ancient Greek Mysteries Into Modern Medicine.”