Ways to Become More Resilient

By Mary Pat Baldauf

In my world, resilience is a new buzz word. Usually used in connection with climate change, resilience is defined as the ability of a system or community to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt, and flourish in the face of change. In simpler terms, it’s the ability to bounce back from adversity, whether it be climate change, disasters or other unfortunate incidents.

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It’s not only important for communities, but also for us as individuals to be resilient. Resilient people may encounter dark moods, bad days and adversity, but they have strategies to help them bounce back and move on.

From Psychology Today, here are ten tips to help build your personal resiliency:

  1. Get adequate restorative sleep. Poor sleep patterns and stress go hand-in-hand.
  2. Engage in adequate physical exercise daily. Exercise is a major buffer against stress, including stress from depression.
  3. Maintain a healthy diet and keep your weight within a desired range. You’ll have fewer health-related problems.
  4. Nourish your quality social support networks through reciprocally supporting others who support you. Quality social support correlates with higher levels of resiliency.
  5. Meet challenges as they occur. Avoid procrastination and the stresses that come from it and crises that arise from delays.
  6. Build tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. You are less likely to experience anxieties related to a need for certainty.
  7. Express higher-order values, such as responsibility and integrity. This gives you a compass for taking a sound direction.
  8. Work to build high frustration tolerance. High frustration tolerance, cognitive flexibility, and problem-solving actions are normally interconnected.
  9. Stretch to achieve realistic optimism. This is a belief that you can both self-improve and act to make things more workable for you. You exercise realistic optimism by acting to do and get better.
  10. Boost resilience with preventive actions where you reduce your risk for negative thinking and increase your chances for realistic thinking.

resilient

 

 

Curried Eggs and (No) Ham

By Rachel Sircy

I love eggs. I have them pretty much every morning for breakfast despite the fact that I have cholesterol problems. I really wouldn’t recommend this for anyone else who has cholesterol issues, but we all have to take baby steps toward better health, right? Well, that’s what I’m telling myself for now, anyway. I’m taking a few baby steps right now toward eating more whole and organic foods. I am trying little by little to purge my diet of chemicals and high glycemic index foods like white flour and sugar. It’s really slow going. But then, so was the change that I made when I switched to eating totally gluten free. Believe me, I would love to tell you that I was a gluten free crusader from the first minute I got that awful news from the doctor that I was a celiac, but that would be a lie. It took me almost a year just to decide to really eat gluten free all the time. I kept wondering whether the doctor might not be wrong. I actually went back to the gastroenterologist about 9 months or so after I was initially diagnosed just to have him check all the lab and endoscopy reports again and make 100% sure that what he was telling me was right.

So, my latest discovery of food that can be used as medicine is turmeric. Turmeric is a powder made from a dried and ground root that is vibrantly yellow and is related to ginger. I had always kind of heard from one person or another that turmeric is supposed to be good for you, but I never knew how or why. I had some sitting in my spice cabinet that had been there for quite a while just waiting to be used. I love to eat curried things: Singapore style rice noodles, chana masala, etc. Somehow, though, whenever I try to replicate these recipes at home, they never taste right. So, my poor container of spice just sat there, ignored for quite a while. It wasn’t until I was reading the transcript of a lecture series given by Dr. Mimi Guarneri, the founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, that I decided to get my little container of turmeric out and put it to good use.

As it turns out, all of those things that I had heard people mention now and again in passing about the health benefits of turmeric are true. There have been a number of scientific studies done on the compound, curcumin – the compound that gives turmeric it’s signature yellow color – has some significant health benefits. Curcumin has been used as an alternative treatment for cardiac patients, reducing the number of heart attacks patients have after a bypass surgery. It has also been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for osteoarthritis patients and has been found to work as well as ibuprofen. It also has been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. All of these health benefits were of interest to me. As a celiac, of course I deal with a lot of inflammation in my digestive tract. I also wake up with back pain every morning and, last but not least, I am at a higher risk for chronic cholesterol problems. So, each morning for about three weeks I’ve been sprinkling a little turmeric on my scrambled eggs. Of course, it would be best if I could get myself to just eat the scrambled egg whites. One day I’ll get to the place where just plain egg whites don’t seem so hopelessly tasteless, but I’m not there yet. I can’t really tell you if turmeric is healing some of the inflammation in my digestive tract or if it’s improving my cardiovascular health. What I can tell you is that it seems to be significantly decreasing the amount of pain that I have in my back. I’m actually kind of shocked at how much it seems to be helping.

Now, the caveat here is this: I put a LOT of turmeric on my eggs in the morning. I usually don’t cook it in the eggs, I sprinkle it on top. It’s definitely not the most delicious way to consume turmeric, but it seems to work a bit better for the stiffness and pain when I eat it that way. Also, in most of the scientific studies on turmeric, the patients involved were taking way more than your average culinary doses of turmeric. You can get turmeric supplements at health food stores or almost anywhere you can buy vitamins, but you need to talk to your doctor before you start taking any new supplement!

Right now, I’m focusing on just using more turmeric and curry powder as I cook and seeing how much better I feel after that. I really don’t like taking pills, even supplements. So, food first, capsules later (if the food doesn’t fix what ails me).

You can read the abstracts or even the whole articles on turmeric on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s website: nccih.nih.gov.  You can also checkout this article on Healthline.com, which breaks down some of those studies for you and also has links to the medical studies from which the information was taken: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#section5. (Truth be told, I hate any article titled “Top 10” Anything. I always feel like they’re trying to fill space or sell me something, or both, but I appreciate the way the author on health line included references for everything he wrote. I’m married to a teacher, so bibliographies and reference numbers always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.)

Here is a picture of my Curried Eggs and (No) Ham. I put the turmeric in the eggs and then scrambled them and also added spinach to compensate for the fact that I actually did eat some bacon with these…

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Nature Deficit Disorder

By Shannon Boatwright

My name is Shannon and I am suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder.

I read a most fabulous article in the recent Columbia Metropolitan Magazine, titled “Forest Bathing – A walk in the woods for the soul” by Warren Hughes.  What a wonderful read and at a time in my life when I’m definitely at a deficit for getting outdoors to enjoy myself. Ironically the only reason I even had the opportunity to relax and read was because my back was hurting so bad after a long school day of moving too many heavy objects around on my stage at school and my sweet husband had prepared the bathtub for me so I would soak in an epsom salt bath and hopefully feel better. I made myself put up my phone and actually try to relax. I took the opportunity to flip through the latest magazine that had come in the mail that I had not had the time to look at in the past weeks.  As I soaked and read, I was pleasantly surprised at the inspiring information within the magazine. It was almost as if the universe was sending me a very strong message!

Rainbows over Lake Murray, SC

Rainbows over Lake Murray

According to what I read, I totally have a nature deficit disorder!  Being a drama teacher, whose classroom is a stage – a large room with NO windows, and whose office is a small concrete room, with NO windows, who spends hours upon hours after school directing productions in theatres, with NO windows, …well, it starts to wear on you after many years. Especially during the school year’s busy season of productions and after school commitments, I get home exhausted and taking a walk or bike ride just doesn’t seem like an option.

But I know well enough that it’s something I can’t put off. Like exercise, I realize that it’s a requirement in order to feel better overall. I have to make it happen. Even when I’m so busy. Yes, even when I’m so busy! I don’t want to be the person that always says, “someday or whenever I’m finally less busy, I’ll do such and such.” At this point in my life I have to recognize the importance of making it a priority and a requirement so that I can live my healthiest life, mentally and physically.

Last summer when I had the honor and great privilege of traveling to France and Switzerland with my mother, I was truly refreshed, invigorated, inspired and overwhelmed in a most wonderful way being in, breathing in and seeing a part of nature I’d never ever seen before. Being in that beauty, in person, was truly glorious. There really are no words to adequately describe it.

Nature's Glory in Switzerland

Nature’s Glory in Switzerland

Switzerland Overflows with Nature's Beauty

Switzerland Overflows with Nature’s Beauty

Quoting John Muir in the article, John Cely says, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn.”

I mean, come on! Is that not beautiful!? I know I could really use some of nature’s peace flowing into me like sunshine flows into trees! And who doesn’t want cares and worries to drop from your body like the leaves of autumn?

Sipping Coffee Amongst the Gorgeousness of France

Sipping coffee amongst the gorgeousness of France

In the article it speaks of getting into nature as an imperative, not just a luxury. It’s crucial. Crucial to our well-being on so many levels.  There are studies that prove that being indoors for too long is literally physically and mentally bad for our health. It makes complete sense to me. Our society’s dependency on screens, all our gadgets that we of all ages seem to be so addicted and attached to nowadays, is turning us all into very sick people. It’s a sad state of unwell being.

How do we deal in today’s society? How do we combat this overwhelming deficit? Awareness is a start for sure. This idea of a disorder resulting from a nature deficit is no new concept. It’s been growing for decades, most of us have just been too busy in front of our screens to notice.

In The Nature Fix, subtitled “Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative,” bestselling author Florence Williams explores state-of-the-art research from three continents to explain the inestimable benefits that spending time in nature has on the body, mind, and soul.

Columbia Metropolitan Magazine

“Forest Bathing – A walk in the woods for the soul” by Warren Hughes

I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would argue that getting outdoors isn’t good for you. It just makes sense. Mother Nature is not just powerful in negative ways, her amazing, positive ways far outweigh the negative. She has a glorious abundance of healing power and beauty to offer if we just take the time to see it, be in it and experience it.

Even in the Suburbs, Nature's Beauty is Present

Even in the suburbs, Nature’s Beauty is Present

Now that I’m aware of my deficiency, I plan to dedicate time to fixing it and filling more of my time refreshing myself basking in nature’s glory. Like so many others, I need it. I know I need it. My body, my mind, my heart, my soul needs to soak in the healing powers of nature. It lies right outside my door and doesn’t have to cost me a thing, doesn’t even have to cost me tons of time. A bit of an awakening is on the horizon – one that will benefit me on many positive levels. I’m ready for journeys and adventures that will allow peace, freshness and energy to flow into me! Here’s to combating the nature deficit disorder!

 

 

Free stuff!

By Jeanne Reynolds

Ever find out something you were secretly a bit ashamed of is actually pretty common — even popular? Like you were cool and didn’t even know it?

That’s me and curb shopping.

What’s that, you say? Curb shopping is sort of a larger-scale, nicer-sounding version of dumpster diving. Urban Dictionary defines it as going around neighborhoods, picking up things people have placed outside their homes on the curb, usually for the garbage trucks to collect them.

Or you — unless I get there first.

I recently read a story in Cola Daily’s newsletter (Do you subscribe? You should — it’s awesome. Do it right now.) about the best neighborhoods to curb shop in Columbia. As you’d expect, the more upscale the area, the better the discards. But you can find great “hand me downs” nearly anywhere, including chairs, bookcases, large plastic toys, bikes, lawnmowers, tools, terracotta pots, struggling-but-still-alive plants, decorative items and more. And spring cleaning/college move-out season is an ideal time to rescue reusable goods.

Now, just because this stuff is free doesn’t mean curb shopping should be a chaotic free-for-all. There are actually unspoken rules — and sometimes laws. Here are some to keep in mind:

  • rocking chairIf it’s on the street, it’s fair game.
  • Don’t trespass on private property. Make sure it’s really on the street.
  • If you want to be extra careful, check local laws. In some places there’s a thing called “retained interest” that means once an item is in a recycling bin, it belongs to the waste management company. Or just stay out of recycling bins and closed garbage cans.
  • Don’t leave a mess. If you drag something from the bottom of the pile, put the other stuff back.
  • Don’t block traffic while you stop to heave that perfectly good rocking chair into the back of your car.
  • Find out when the large-item trash pickup is in different neighborhoods, and plan your route for early that morning.
  • If another “shopper” is already stopped at a likely-looking pile, move along. Or stop and offer to help.
  • If it looks like a garage sale is being set up, come back late in the day to see if unsaleable items have been dragged to the curb.

The old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is another way of saying there’s no accounting for taste. It’s not meant to be taken literally. But in the case of curb shopping, you can — and should.

Dealing with Rude People

By Chaunte McClure

I grew up in a community where it was common to sit on the porch and wave as people passed or walked by. We were taught to say yes ma’am, yes sir, no ma’am no sir and thank you. You know, just basic Southern hospitality. Then there are some courtesies that have become a habit and what I thought was normal.

Take holding the door for someone, for instance. When you see someone about to enter a doorway that you’re exiting and they’re about, eh, two feet away, do you let the door close in their face or take two seconds to hold it until they’re able to grab hold and enter?

I had two experiences in the past couple months where doors were practically closed in my face. I was entering a favorite brunch spot on a recent Saturday and a young man was exiting the establishment, looked me dead in the eyes and let the door go as I was raising my arm to reach for it. Maybe he had a lot on his mind and was just distracted by his thoughts. Maybe he’s not from around here where good manners cost nothing. That experience made for a brief conversation at the table while I waited for my two little deuces with sausage.

I fell victim again as I was about to enter a department store at a local shopping center. Again, I was so close to the customer that I could have touched her. Granted, she had bags in her hand and her husband exited right after her. He immediately said ‘I’m sorry’, perhaps noticing the look on my face. It disgusted me as much as it does when cashiers place my change on the counter instead of in my hands. But because I generally use a debit card, I don’t have to experience this much at all.

What I have experienced over the past 20 years is good mornings are hard to come by some days. There were days when I’d walk in the workplace, say good morning and would hear silence. I mean, I’m not a morning person and I don’t have much to say first thing in the mornings, but you’ll at least get a good morning out of me. Common courtesy, right? Not exactly, but again, not everyone is Southern and not everyone is hospitable. But is it right? Better question: How do you respond to rude people?

When they go low, we go high.

Here are five ways to deal with rude people:

  1. Ignore them. At least 95% of the time this works for me because I can easily recognize and ignore ignorance.
  2. Give them a pass. Everyone wasn’t raised like me and sometimes people are just having a bad day. That’s not an excuse but it is a reality. And like the man and woman mentioned above, you’ll likely never see them again anyway, so why bother?
  3. Be kind to them. Being kind can potentially shift their mindset and cause them to in turn be kind and sometimes later apologize for the rudeness. Michelle Obama said it best – when they go low, we go high. Go high.
  4. Speak up. When necessary, speak up for yourself. You are not a doormat. It took me forever to learn that people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Every battle doesn’t need to be fought, but when you discern that it needs to be, do so. Your fight shouldn’t include a loud argument which could escalate. If the rude person is a colleague or family member that you have to spend considerable time around take time out to talk to him or her after you’ve calmed down, even if it’s days later.
  5. Anyone can get pushed to the edge, and even when I do, I take a moment to say a prayer, so I can remain calm.

Recycle Right: Closing the Lid on How to Recycle Right

By Mary Pat Baldauf

This week, I attended a “Women in Green” event with 40 participants, all of whom considered themselves to be “sustainable.” At the end of the event, I was surprised to see that the recycling bin, conveniently located inside a trash receptacle, was full of items that couldn’t be recycled, aka contamination. If a roomful of “green” women can’t get it right, we obviously need to do more education.Blog_Green Trash

Recycling is an eco-friendly thing to do – but it’s also a business.  Recycling facilities want clean paper and packaging, and curbside recycling program is primarily designed to collect those materials. So, other random objects, like scrap metal, electronics, dining ware, toys, food, textiles, yard waste, etc., should never be placed in a blue recycling cart or bin.

Here’s how YOU can help make recycling work:

  • Please visit scdhec.gov/recycleheresc to see what is recycled where you live. Follow that list to the letter. Most Midlands area recycling programs also have smart phone apps with lots of bells and whistles to make it easier to recycle, including reminders for your recycling day. Visit your local government website for details.
  • Learn what 12 items you should never put in your recycling bin or cart and commit to keeping the “dirty dozen” out for good.
  • Creativity is a wonderful thing, but not when it comes to recycling. If there’s any doubt, throw it out. Don’t waste space (and fuel and time) by filling up recycling collection trucks with trash. It’s difficult, inefficient and expensive for the sorting facility to deal with trash and it reduces the value of your recyclables. Blog Wrong info env
  • No bags, please. They slow down recycling sorting systems, drive up costs and hurt the quality of the materials being recycled.
  • Just because it has a recycling symbol on it, doesn’t mean it can be recycled in your area. Check the list for your area, and if it’s not on there, don’t recycle it.

For additional information on recycling, visit http://recyclemoresc.org/.

Be the Light

By Shannon Boatwright

Don’t wait on the light at the end of the tunnel. Be the light.

Annually I have many events that require tons of planning, preparation, and hours upon hours of hard work that lead up to some sort of final big event. Just recently I successfully survived one of the biggest endeavors I’ve ever accomplished. I directed the Lexington Richland School District Five musical. My first time ever directing a production of this caliber with students across an entire school district.  To say it was a huge job is an understatement. Fortunately, it was an enormous success and I am proud beyond words at the incredible final product and knowing that all of mine and my production team/cast/crew’s hard work paid off immensely. Most importantly, many young, precious minds were inspired and together we collaborated to create entertainment success. A priceless opportunity indeed.

During the process of working toward our success, many people would say to me, as they saw me in my exhausted states, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, girl! You got this! It’ll be all over soon.” In fact, anytime I have a big project or production going on, very often I hear these sorts of statements about there being a light at the end of the tunnel.

This got me thinking.  Yes, the process can be excruciating and yes, we definitely look forward to the end product finally coming to fruition and being checked off of our calendar. But aren’t we missing the point in a sense? It’s the process that creates the success, so if we only focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, then we’re neglecting the beauty of the process that takes place as we go through that tunnel. Had I not done my best work to direct and create confidence in my cast and cooperate and communicate with my production team and crew, then that supposed light at the end of the tunnel would’ve never been able to shine.

So I am making a conscious decision to attempt to Be the Light. I don’t want to just look ahead to the end, I want to make the best of the moment, seize the day and enjoy the process. That light doesn’t have to just be at the end of the tunnel. I can create it every step of the way.

So the next time you have something big on the horizon, will you only look towards the ending product, not living for the here and now? Or will you allow yourself to enjoy the process and shine along the way?

Don’t wait on the light at the end of the tunnel. Be the light!