Tuesday Tip: Love and Lettuce

1 May

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Apart from somehow being a word I still have to spellcheck even at this stage in my life, I love lettuce. In another lifetime or perhaps when my life slows down a bit, I’d really love to homestead an apartment garden featuring hanging baskets full of luscious, yummy leaves. While I have had to postpone that dream for the moment, it doesn’t mean I still can’t try to get as much lettuce in my life as possible. And maybe you should, too.

This brings me to today’s tip. If you are like me then you have certainly engaged in what I like to call robotic eating at the workplace. This usually arises when one brings a ostensibly healthy snack (e.g. pop chips) back to one’s desk. Instead of consuming one serving, one eats the entire bag. What better way to get through the monotony of your afternoon assignment than to coat it with a little salty crunch, right? Wrong.

To avoid the sudden pang of “ewww” that usually strikes in the minutes after your mind catches up with your stomach in realizing it’s full, I suggest keeping a tub of undressed lettuce leaves near your desk. If mindless eating is on your horizon, I totally recommend this tip.

Baby lettuce is super sweet and if it’s fresh, it will not be sticky and can easily be grabbed up en masse and shoveled down the hatch. I know, I know, I probably sound super strange, but I actually love the taste. Eating undressed greens has also caused me to have a greater appreciation for what Wikipedia informs me is the “annual plant of the aster or sunflower family.” I mean, when you think about it, it’s pretty amazing to eat raw leaves rather than processed goop made into cracker or chip form for a change. If you’re on the east coast, I definitely recommend Olivia’s Organics for great lettuce selections (pictured above). Not only do their leaves taste terrific, but they also support a local communities.

Here’s another Tuesday Tip for chilling out on the job. If you’re feeling stressed, unable to focus or just suffering an off day, take a moment for yourself to chill. In yoga, we often talk about mudras and the power that flows through the body when we connect with ourselves. The word “mudra” essentially means to close. The most commonly seen mudras in yoga are those where the fingertips touch (usually pointer to thumb) or the soles of your feet in a butterfly type stretch. Making these connections with oneself are powerful and calming.

Frequently, my teachers often talk about the power of combining mudra and mantra. This is usually done by touching each of your fingers to your thumb, and, while so doing, thinking of a four word mantra (please! I already see where your mind is going, but notice I said four word and not four letter mantra) to repeat either internally or aloud. For example, one that I like to use in moments of extreme stress is:  I-am-peace-ful. Each word represents a connection I make with each of my fingers to my thumbs.

I’ve often grappled with the extolling the general utility of the mudra/mantra as some people to whom I have tried to teach it have just found this routine funny. But, before you laugh, I think the key is to visualize the words you are speaking to yourself, whatever they may be. If you try this activity, really try to focus. I think the act of forcing yourself to be creative and to find your own voice is a grounding function in itself. Just try it, you may even thank me later.

If you’re still interested, you can check out this article on mudras, although the beginning of the article rambles, the latter part does a great job of explaining their purpose and function.

Until then, I wish you nothing but love, and lettuce.

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