2020 – A Year Like No Other . . . I don’t think anybody would argue with that. We dealt with a global pandemic, racial strife, political turmoil, and all this on top of “normal” stresses of being alive. Sometimes it felt like the world was falling apart in front of us. I started thinking about why was the stress level higher than ever before? The obvious answer would be the aforementioned factors. Yes, this is true. But these things, especially the pandemic, also had some silver linings. We started working at home which provides some advantages. We did a lot more cooking at home and having family meals. We spent more time with our children in the same household. We had time to relax in front of the television being entertained, and more.
So, I have a theory – full disclosure, this is MY theory, and not anything I have researched or done studies to prove. My theory is that it is human nature to create our lives as a series of “habits”. Most people can tell you where they are and/or what they are doing at a specific time and day each week. They can tell you what they eat over the course of a day/week. They can tell you where they do their grocery shopping, and how many times each week they do it. For most people, pre-COVID, life was a set routine.
What COVID did was disrupt our routines in every aspect of everyday life. Day-to-day life was no longer a series of “habits” performed. We were stripped of the comfort of knowing when we would go to the grocery store, or what we would be able to buy when we were there. We would no longer be able to have that weekly date with our significant other or group of friends going out to dinner. We didn’t even have the same routines waking up in the morning and performing all the tasks we had been performing to get ourselves and our spouse and/or kids out the door. Most people felt like their morning routine was hectic pre-COVID, but it was familiar. Because most of us were now avoiding any commute to work, why did this morning routine seem to be more stressful than it was pre-COVID? In my theory, the answer is because we had not created a routine that we were comfortable with in the “new normal”, in any part of our lives.
What was the result – STRESS, STRESS and more STRESS. If my theory is correct, then how do we deal with the stress of these “new normal” lives we are finding ourselves living. The answer is LIFESTYLE. In my opinion, Lifestyle = Diet + Sleep + Exercise + Gratitude + Routine Stress Management.
Our blogs have discussed different aspects of Diet.
Most of us have explored the value of the optimum amount of Sleep.
Exercise (more activity, less passivity)!
Gratitude is something we need to explore and exercise (yes, gratitude is a verb!) because for most of us the scales will tip toward the side of things to be grateful for over the tragedies and challenges we have had to endure.
Routine Stress Management means realizing where our “normal” routines have been disrupted, and replacing those “habits” with new, and sometimes better habits that will serve us. Think about when a first child was born, or we commit to an exercise routine, or even trying to learn a new recipe. The first times we face these exciting things it feels disruptive. But when it becomes part of our new routine, it feels good and acts as a stress reducer rather than raising the level of our stress.
A Brief Anecdote
Five years ago, I was cleaning up my diet and eliminating gluten, sugar and dairy. Suddenly, I had nothing to eat for breakfast that was appealing. I was faced with the challenge of identifying a way to start my day with a healthy, clean breakfast. This is why I created the Read The Ingredients recipes. Our RTI Loaves and Big Bites were the perfect answer. They taste great, are super convenient, and immediately became a part of my morning routine. Pre-COVID the convenience factor was very important, as I was grabbing an RTI Loaf and my coffee for my on-the-go breakfast to get out the door. Post-COVID my RTI Loaf has remained my breakfast of choice every day. It is a part of a routine that was not disrupted, and comforts me each morning.
The point of this blog is not to sell you on RTI Loaves, and Big Bites, but rather to share with you some thoughts about dealing with the extraordinary stresses of 2020. May all of you reading this stay safe, stay healthy, and look forward to a better 2021!!
- Bobbi Giudicelli, Co-Founder of Read The Ingredients