Managing Anxiety & Stress
Managing Anxiety & Stress
Danielle Bertoli, Project Director of Harriet Eisman Community School & Freelance Writer, kicks off our Wellness Week explaining the benefits of daily journaling. She also shares some writing she has done as well as a worksheet to get our creativity flowing.
From Alex Tucciarone, Co-Founder of The Makeshift Movement
Fresh and warm cornbread is one of my favorite comfort foods. I have baked several batches of this since this lockdown began and it never gets stale.
I found this recipe under the name “Spanish Cornbread” in the incredible cookbook Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking.
1 ¼ cups of yellow cornmeal
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cream-style corn
1 cup buttermilk
1 (4-ounce) can of diced green chiles
½ cup minced onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, combine the corn, buttermilk, chiles, onion and egg. Mix well. Stir in the cheese.
Step 4: Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir together just until combined. Heat the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven until foamy. Swirl the butter to coat the pan, then stir the hot butter into the batter. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
In a time of social distancing and uncertainty, we’ve all had to find ways to connect with our loved ones, take care of our mental health, and adjust to this new “normal.” Each day this week, we will share stories from members of the community who will share what they are doing to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, members of The Makeshift Movement give a peak into how we've been coping in recent weeks.
Alexander Tucciarone, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder
Just under a month before New York declared a state of emergency because of covid-19, my wife and I welcomed our first child -- a son we named Leo. Most of my family lives nearby and the day he was born, my wife’s parents flew in from their home out West to welcome the boy and help us navigate this new chapter in our lives. They ended up having to cut their visit short to protect themselves and their new grandson. But we were fortunate in that those first few weeks, our son was almost constantly surrounded by the love and physical presence of his extended family.
Like everyone else, we have spent quarantine missing the family and friends we love best. FaceTime and Zoom are helpful but not the same. At times I grow concerned about what my son is missing by not being around his relatives and the friends he will call his aunts and uncles. Because of how important it is for us to protect his physical well-being and respect social distancing, for now he is limited to spending time with his Mom and Dad.
Even amid all the stress this time with our son has been a blessing. He is thankfully thus far a healthy, happy and extroverted child. We have coped in part by acting on our appreciation that these first few months of his life are crucial for his development and looking forward with a smoldering hope to the day when Leo can be with the other people who love him again.
Jessie DiRocco, Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder
Since New York has been put on “PAUSE,” my husband and I have been confined to our 650-square foot apartment in Brooklyn. What was once a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, has now become our whole world.
While we are lucky enough to be able to do our jobs from home, being inside for days at a time can be draining. To help cope, I make sure I move my body every day. Before social distancing, I would work out at the gym or take classes at my local pilates studio 5 - 6 days a week. Now, “moving my body” means taking a lot of free classes online, as well as paying for live classes with my pilates instructors (whom I miss so much!).
I’ve also been exploring yoga and meditation more, since all I need is my mat. I’ve never been one to just sit and breathe - I’m always running to the next thing - but it’s been wonderful to have the time to set intentions for my mind and my body.
Alison Eriksen - Project Coordinator of Oceanside SAFE Coalition and Co-Founder of The Makeshift Movement
I am also a licensed social worker, wife and mother. Navigating my way through the last several weeks has come with its fair share of challenges, as it has for us all. When times get especially difficult, my husband and I have found that it is very important to allow ourselves to be upset and anxious. We don’t pretend the situation isn’t stressful and upsetting, because it really can be and that’s okay. Once we allow these feelings to take place, we are able to identify when additional help is needed - and we do our best to help each other in those circumstances.
For me, sometimes that means “turning off” by taking a long shower, a long walk with my daughter or even a really good nap (which is few and far between with a toddler!). For my husband, it means playing / recording music or tackling new projects in our home. By giving ourselves this much needed attention, we are able to revel in the laughter of our young daughter and really be in the moment when we are playing with her. We are able to set tasks and clear our minds by clearing clutter in our home, and we are able to take deep breaths and redirect our energy on things that are currently within our control. FaceTime-ing with family daily, and keeping close connection with our friends has also been very helpful in keeping us in a positive mindset.
In any life circumstance where times have been overwhelming and my anxiety has gotten the best of me - I always try to find my “anchor”. The one thing that brings me back to earth, fills me with purpose and inspires me to be the best version of myself. My anchor is my daughter. I know that the healthier/happier I am - the better mother, and person I can be for her. At the end and beginning of everyday, she is my driving force and inspiration in practicing “wellness” within myself. I pray you are all staying safe, and able to find your “anchor” in these days, and all the days ahead!
Lauren Peteroy, Chief Communications Officer and Founder
It’s been seven weeks since I’ve made the daily commute to NYC, sat at my desk and gotten to work. While it was a somewhat easy transition to working from home, it’s certainly been a tough mental adjustment to stray so far from my daily routine.
There were a few things that really helped me to keep calm and feel normal - even when the world was flipped completely upside down. We kept the windows and balcony door open for extra sunlight, fresh air and to allow the sounds of the ocean waves to flow into the apartment. For me, this was the biggest thing to keep me from feeling too confined. I made sure to take breaks to stand up and walk around - even if it was just to the bedroom and back to the couch. I moved my workspace around. A one-bedroom apartment doesn’t give too many options, but I had three spots that I alternated for a change of scenery. And last, but certainly not least, I kept some snacks that made me happy! Any sort of puffed cheese snack will do it for me, so I made sure to keep those on hand if I needed a little snack to get through the day.
All of these things truly helped me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s all been easy. There have been many tough personal moments for me and it’s challenged my mental state. I’m currently experiencing a handful of major life changes - many good - but dealing with them in this new reality has caused challenges I never thought I would face. My best strategy is to take everything day by day, be thankful for the great things in my life, and accept those things I cannot change.
Samantha Postle, Senior Advisor
I am naturally a very introverted person, and have always had a passionate relationship with sweatpants, books, television, and my couch. This time should be great for me! Social distancing was my goal for most of my life, but now that it is a reality, it isn’t what I expected.
I have a very tight knit family. Not having access to my family, especially the newest members of my family is really sad. Not having an end date to all of this is frustrating. Not knowing if my family will be impacted by this virus is scary. Changing the way I implement my work is tiring. Not being able to go outside without fear is exhausting. The nagging in my head that insists I should be doing more with this time antagonizes me with guilt. Day to day, the potential for experiencing a range of emotions is becoming my new normal.
I have found that for me, the one way to challenge the negative emotions is gratitude and hope. I know, it is cliche, but it’s true. I am thankful that I have a family so close and so full of love, that it is even possible to miss them this much. I am thankful for technology, which is keeping us connected on a daily basis. I am thankful that I still have a job when so many are losing theirs. I am thankful that I have a supportive, loving partner who is endlessly patient and kind. I am thankful that my family is healthy and safe. And I am hopeful that when this is over, the world will be changed for the better in a myriad of different ways.
John Kuehn, Creative Director
Just as many others have probably experienced, social distancing has provided me an opportunity to slow down and observe the often overlooked moments of daily life. A big part of that has been reassessing how I think about food. I’ve definitely been guilty of taking our convenient and effortless access to a steady supply of groceries for granted. It’s easy to forget how much time and energy goes into all of the steps it takes to transform a tiny seed into the fresh, ready-to-use vegetable sitting in our kitchen, as well as all the people who’ve had a hand in that process along the way.
One of my favorite new activities is re-rooting and planting seeds from the scraps we would previously have just thrown away, such as onions, peppers, and avocados. Just the simple act of daily attention has given me a greater appreciation of all the hard work and effort that goes into keeping us fed. Finding new sprouts in the morning where there was only dirt the night before has been a simple, but welcome joy, and I plan to continue tending a permanent home garden and experimenting with new foods to replant.
Cat Munzing is an Oceanside local, a seamstress and a hard working mother of three, who ordinarily specializes in baby clothing and accessories, as well as repurposing family heirlooms, including fashioning wedding dresses into the most gorgeous christening gowns. However, when the pandemic began to change the needs in society, Cat quickly shifted her focus from adorable baby clothes, to medical masks for first responders.
When Cat heard that a college friend of hers, a neurologist, was running out of PPE and asked for sewing advice to make her own masks, immediately Cat knew that this was something that she could help with. She didn’t do this alone, and she has been overwhelmed by the generosity and outreach of support from people in the community: from neighbors donating money, to cutting fabric, and sewing masks. Cat has made and donated PPE masks for frontline workers and local hospitals including Winthrop, South Nassau, Mt. Sinai, Huntington Hospital, St. Francis, NY Presbyterian, Elmhurst, Wyckoff, North Shore University, DuPont Children's, and St. Johns. She has also donated to police officers, local precincts, EMTs, and other essential workers from Long Island to California. With the help and outreach from the community, she has made over 1,400 masks for frontline workers.
Cat is now making fabric masks for the larger community, and is donating 25% of the proceeds to help with meals for first responders to ensure that our local heroes are being well fed. Just like the fun children’s clothes she normally makes, she delivers a little extra cheer with the bright and colorful prints she choses for her masks. Check out her Etsy page and order your fabric mask to support this local hero helping heroes.
Each day of the week, we'll be highlighting different resources related to wellness and mental health. For even more helpful resources, you can also visit the Makeshift's full Resources Page or visit the Oceanside SAFE Coalition's website to find more.