Weekend Reading
March 29, 2020

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I had an odd moment this past week. I realized that, in spite of ten days without any physical socializing at all, I was feeling something familiar: the fatigue I tend to get when my introvert self has been more extroverted than usual.

It seemed impossible, until I thought back to the number of text exchanges, FaceTimes, phone calls, and social media chats I’d had. A lot more than usual. To say nothing of the heightened exposure to news and information.

I couldn’t feel more fortunate to have had loving, thoughtful check-ins with people in my life this week. But in spite of what’s going on, I am who I am, and it’s not always easy for me to share how I’m doing verbally. At any given moment of significance, I often don’t know how I am until I sit down and write something. So it’s not always easy for me to respond frequently to the question “how are you,” even if I’m happy to be asked.

I spent Thursday catching up on quiet. I read, I wrote, I cooked, I listened to a little music. I worked in silence. I checked social media and my phone periodically throughout the day, but less frequently than I’d been doing all week. I took a little time in responding to texts. It was exactly the pause I needed, and I’ve felt more grounded since then.

I’m hardly the first person to say this, but I think it’s important to echo that there’s no “right” way to be responding to this strange, unprecedented moment in time. I’ve seen a lot of reminders that quarantine isn’t a call toward productivity, which I agree with.

But I think it’s also important to note that, however indispensable virtual connection may be right now, it’s also OK to unplug for an hour, a day, a couple of days. It’s OK to go inward, even as we try to stay conscious of what’s happening around us. We’re staying home in order to remain safe, or as safe as possible; it’s also important to remain well, and that means tuning into our needs and self-care.

Wishing you both safety and wellness. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

How crispy (and cutely packaged) are Eva’s cocktail samosas?

…and a possible accompaniment? This would be a good time to make some homemade chutneys.

I tend to associate sweet potato casserole with the holiday season, but why? Kristen’s pretty version is calling my name.

Mmmm, mustard grilled tofu.

I could definitely do with some vegan caramel sauce right now. Preferably over some ginger cinnamon bakes apples and vanilla ice cream 🙂

Reads

1. Maria sent this article on collective grief to me, and it really resonated. It’s also one of the few things I read this week that felt truly comforting, and I’ve revisited it a few times.

2. Along similar lines, this short but moving article that invites us to “spare a moment” to acknowledge loss.

3. For the past two nights at 7pm, New Yorkers have leaned out of their windows to do a collective clap and cheer for first responders and essential workers. It brought tears to my eyes the first time. This article, detailing the work of ICU nurses in New Jersey right now, does that, too.

4. This news—Mt. Sinai Hospital will begin plasmapheresis, or the process of transferring antibiodies from recovered patients to critically ill patients—seemed both hopeful and really interesting to me.

5. I found this little piece of news so touching: an organization that operates 13 nursing homes around London is accepting applications for virtual companions to keep company with their senior residents, who can’t have visitors as usual right now.

I’m making space for everything in my heart right now: grief and uncertainty as well as the joy I feel when I read about small kindnesses. They make me smile, and some of them (balcony dance alongs and singalongs) make me laugh. That matters, too.

Happy Sunday, friends. Some more simple meals and foods are on the way.

xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    5 Comments
  1. Hi Gena,
    I just wanted to say how much I always appreciate your balanced mindset in your writing. It’s a pleasure to read – and I’ve been reading here for about 2 years now and I feel it’s time I give credit where it’s due! 🙂
    I also love your recipes being a mainly plant-based eater myself, and the science/health articles you share. Thank you!

  2. This is such a great post. I love that you mentioned so many of the amazing things people are doing to get through this time. Thanks for sharing my post and stay well!

  3. Dearest Gena –a lovely post in challenging times. Thanks for pointing out that us intrverts can get overwhelmed even when we’re not interacting in person! It’s real, and we all have to go gently, one hour, one step at a time. Glad the article about collective grief resonated. Thanks for these other great recipes and reads, which I look forward to perusing. Love you

  4. Gena, thank you for this observation. I share many of your sensitivities, but not your educated insights, so your post clarified why – even in this isolated existence – I was suddenly compelled to mute my phone alerts! Of course, my own very normal and introverted wiring is why! After reading this, it makes perfect sense and also brings peace and comfort.
    My “spidey senses” are on high alert for any evidence of a slide toward depression as the fears and anxieties of our changed world – both right now and in the future – press in. Thank you for shining a light on the path guiding me through these days and times.

You might also like

One of the interesting things that can happen when you recover from an eating disorder is that some of your compulsions get rerouted from food and exercise to other places. No one told me this about recovery. So I was surprised when, years after my food behaviors normalized, I found myself getting disproportionately worked up things like scheduling. Rigidity about food diffused. But a sneaky tendency to be rigid and anxious about planning emerged. It wasn’t so extreme that it interfered with my…

Happy Saturday, friends. This is a sweet morning for me; after a long week of finals, followed by some frantic catch-up on the work items I pushed aside while I was studying for finals, I’m finally done with my first semester of grad school. I’m currently enjoying a quiet morning of sipping coffee and reading by my Christmas tree. I do my best not to careen through the holidays, as I cherish this time of year. But like most people, I find myself rushing…

So happy that the “12 finds” idea appeals to you guys — I’ll certainly be making it a regular feature from now on. Thanks for your comments! And here we are, just in time for some weekend reading. To start with, Laura–who writes the marvelous blog The First Mess–has created a vegan fennel and mushroom pate for Food52. What?! Sign me up immediately. Meanwhile, Emma, who writes the adorably titled My Darling Lemon Thyme, has a roasted cauliflower, chickpea, and quinoa salad with…

At some point this year I realized that I was reading too much self-help. As constructive as all of the books, articles, and podcasts I was consuming were, at least in theory, the accumulation of advice was starting to stress me out. I made that decision in December, just in time to avoid the “new year, new you” rhetoric. But I’ve dipped my toes back into the self-help genre this week. This time, the wisdom I’m looking for has nothing to do with…