February News Brief

Greetings Further Shore Friends,

I realize that February is almost at its conclusion but wanted to say Happy Valentine’s Day and I hope you are enjoying the month that whispers a promise of spring. Here in Flagstaff those whispers have given way to wailing winds and mountains of snow; a welcome gift given the historic drought in the west. This morning everything was frosted in white. Shoveling has commenced in earnest and pups are romping and frolicking. A good day! Now for the News:

  • February is American Heart Month:  It’s time to take care of your heart! If you failed to keep those New Year’s resolutions about exercising more consistently or eating mindfully, it is not too late! Keep your heart in tip top shape by starting with small steps. Instead of fad dieting, try adding one portion of fruits or veggies a day. If you never have time to meditate, try to take just one minute a day to sit quietly and breathe. Are you spending too much time at the desk or on the couch? Set a timer and take a 10-minute walk once or twice a day. Trouble keeping up with your exercise program? Engage with an accountability partner. Ask a supportive friend to check in with you once a week via text, email, or a quick call to share your exercise successes or “need to do better” statements. Truth is, it works! After fits and starts, I have two accountability partners and we are all crushing our goals! Another way to take care of your heart is practice loving kindness. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offer an array of information on stress management, healthy lifestyles, and other heart supportive measure you can take today!
  • World Peace – 2/22/2022 was a day dedicated to world peace through focusing on LOVE, the effort of several global groups. Millions participated in a meditation at 2:22 p.m. PST. You can view speakers and learn more about the movement at the nonprofit Unify on Face Book.
  • “N” is for Nature is coming soon in the blog series ABC’s for Living Well. Stay tuned.
  • Pandemic News:  This month we mark two years of living with COVID-19. With that mile marker, we enter a new phase called “living with the virus” or “going back to normal” pre-pandemic life. What I notice is that even with vaccines and other measures for safety, life is still quite risky for seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and their caregivers. For many people, daily activities, caregiving, and mourning have become even more complicated. The stigma of being one of the vulnerable is at least uncomfortable and at worst shame-inducing. As mask mandates and other COVID-19 safety measures are lifting, millions of medically vulnerable people are feeling more isolated and are mapping out ways to cope with what, for them, is an ongoing pandemic. This CNN article describes some of the challenges facing the vulnerable population.  This article in The Mighty outlines 10 things an immune compromised woman tells herself to get through pandemic stress. If you are one of the medically vulnerable, it is important to keep updated about COVID-19 stats that might affect your choices, find a balance, find your tribe, and practice self-care measures that make sense for your circumstances. When it comes to your life and well-being, practice self-love! If you are caregiving for someone who is medically vulnerable, offer earnest, careful listening and don’t be shy to seek counseling or group support to help you to cope with this new landscape.
  • Program update: This month I was honored to be a virtual guest speaker for NAU’s Death and Grief class, guiding a student Death Café. As always the experience was enlightening and inspiring as students showed an interest in the importance of topics such as cultural competency as related to death, understanding family challenges in preparing last wishes, and resilience for complicated grief. There have been over 13,000 Death Cafés held in 81 countries since its inception in 2014. Many are now offered virtually. The format provides a safe space for conversations about death alongside delicious tea and cakes with a view of living life more fully now. If you have interest in a virtual Death Café, let me know!
  • Movies that Move Us:  This month’s movie is perfect for February. Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell is genius. It is a comedy, a love story, a story that can change your life. What would happen if you woke up to the exact same events day after day? Seems like in the last two pandemic years that is exactly what some of us have been experiencing! Bill Murray’s character shows us how to make the most out of our day. . . over and over again! A great combination of laughter and thought-provoking concepts about living fully and delivered in Murray’s sarcastic, endearing style. Check it out!
  • Quote of the month:  “All you need is love.” ~ John Lennon

May all beings be safe, well, happy, and content.

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